Hi! I’m Ben – the movie nerd to Bry Jaimea’s TV junkie. I’m just guy who loves the silver screen and will watch any cinematic wonder that is put in front of me, literally.
Bry Jaimea has asked me to step in to be her resident expert on all things Christmas film and offer my knowledge to all of you lovely people. There are one or two left field choices in here, and one ever-controversial flick that is DEFINITELY A CHRISTMAS FILM WHY WOULD YOU EVEN JOKE THAT IT’S NOT.
But we’ll get to that!
So, let’s relax into a Christmas movie countdown that will have you even more excited for Christmas than I know you are already.
(All gifs chosen by Bry Jaimea, because as well as being a bit of a tv junkie, she’s also a gif junkie as you’d have seen from her Twitter feed.)
Top 5 Christmas Movies
5. Home Alone 2
Yes it has Donald Trump in it, but Home Alone 2 is a classic, that for me just pips its’ predecessor onto the list purely for the setting. Parts of it make no sense whatsoever, and it does have the aforementioned Grinch just to ruin the fun for a few seconds, but it is probably the most funny, charming and most of all heartwarming movie about absentee parenting and credit card theft you’ll see. We have already had it on the TV this year and I dare say that won’t be the last time it will grace the Sky box before Christmas!
4. Jingle All The Way
It’s a bit of an alternative Christmas movie, and it’s really aimed at the young ‘uns, but JATW is a fun send up of what parents have to go through to grab hold of that MUST HAVE toy at Christmas. Arnie has surprising comic timing – something you’ll find if you decide to watch any of his collaborations with Ivan Reitman(Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Junior), and he’s in good form here, telling the sadly no longer with us Phil Hartman, in great form as Arnie’s sleazy neighbour, to “PUT DA COOKIE DOWN!” or punching a reindeer in the face (it’s funnier than it sounds, honestly).
The supporting cast is great too – Hartman – who voiced some of the all time great Simpsons characters – absolutely kills it, as does Rita Wilson as Arnie’s long suffering wife, who thinks he bought the toy months ago. And don’t forget Sinbad, who plays a postman who just doesn’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to toy hunting and eventually tries to take it out on our hero. Especially great for Arnie enthusiasts like myself or families with young children, Jingle All The Way is strongly recommended for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day fun!
3. It’s A Wonderful Life
This is something of a cliché, but there’s a very good reason why these things become clichés in the first place – because they’re so darn quintessential at Christmas. Shamefully I only saw this for the first time at age 24 – I blame my parents entirely for that – but it’s been a firm part of Christmas ever since. James Stewart, the perennial everyman, plays George Bailey, a down on his luck grafter who wonders aloud what we’ve all thought in our darkest moments – wouldn’t it have been better if I’d never been born?
Well not for George; his brother would have died and so would dozens of World War II soldiers, his town would be run by a dastardly banker and a whole litany of other issues would have overtaken both the town and the people that he loves. Thanks to his guardian angel, George is able to fully embrace life again and there’s no way that will fail to bring a big smile to your face. Watch this after Christmas dinner, with a belly full of turkey, and let the enjoyment wash over you. I know it will.
2. Love Actually
Don’t let anyone tell you different – Richard Curtis’ directorial debut is an absolute delight. We’ve already watched it more than once in our little flat to really hype up the big day! There’s something for everyone here – Martin Freeman’s nervous “adult film” extra nervously flirting with his co-star, Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon implausibly bonding in no. 10 Downing Street, or even more bittersweet moments such as Alan Rickman (more on him in a minute…) and Emma Thompson’s marriage breakdown due to his affair, or Andrew Lincoln being generally creepy.
All of the stories intertwine and eventually meet to the backdrop of a school play. One of the biggest reasons I love this movie is that it doesn’t shy away from brutal realisations; Harry’s (Rickman; I told you he’d be back) affair shatters his and Karen’s (Thompson) lives just when they should be at their closest, and Sarah is cruelly jilted by her crush Karl for tending to her disabled brother’s needs. All that aside though, there’s so much happiness and fun in here for everyone. Love Actually is a genuinely lovely movie that everyone should make time for around the festive season!
1. Die Hard
Don’t let YouGov’s ridiculous poll put you off this absolute gem of a film. It’s Christmas through and through. A man triumphs through adversity to save an office full of 80’s sorts and be with his wife and children on the big day. Throw in a stylish Grinch (Alan Rickman again in his movie debut! He doesn’t play well in Christmas films), some festive comic relief in McClane’s man on the outside Al (Reginald Vel Johnson in his only notable film role – he was also in, err, Turner and Hooch) and you’ve got the makings of a Christmas classic… that just happened to be released in July.
It’s part of my (now our) festive Christmas Eve ritual – have one or two Christmas drinks with friends, stagger home, order a curry and watch some terrorists get shot up to bring in the big day. It’s a genuine must-do on Christmas, and I demand everyone get involved with me next week.
Scrooged, The Grinch, Gremlins, Nightmare Before Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, Home Alone, Lethal Weapon, Elf
DO NOT WATCH UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE
Four Christmases, Christmas with the Kranks, Surviving Christmas
So there you have it. What is your favourite Christmas film? Is there anything not on this list that you think should be? Is there anything on this list that shouldn’t be? Start a conversation in the comments!