Anyone who knows me knows that I have to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘ every year. Without fail. They probably also know I’ve got my geeky Die Hard Christmas sweatshirt. I’ll be watching both again this year, and avoiding all arguments whether Die Hard is a Christmas Movie or not.
But I don’t need another list of all those really, really obvious Christmas films. It also gets my dander up (because I’m British, don’t you know..) when you get those lists which include the words ‘you’ve never seen’ or ‘you’ve never heard of’ – yeah, I have – most people have.
So, these aren’t ultra-obscure, and some could be argued against being ‘Christmas’ films, but they’ve all at least got key Christmas scenes in them…So here we go, in the countdown to Christmas, here’s a few you could stick on while you’re building up to the classics…
Long Kiss Goodnight
True, you could put pretty much any Shane Black related movie in this list – Lethal Weapon, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3…but I’ve gone for Long Kiss Goodnight. Under-rated and as quippy and cliche bending as any of Black’s work. Amnesiac assassin and now family mom Geena Davies gets her memory back around about Christmas time, and with the help of sleezy PI Samuel Jackson takes on the bad guys to save her daughter and a whole lot more…
Ah, back in the day when we all believed…you know what, I’ve just deleted that Kevin Spacy/ Father Christmas joke…but if you can still bring yourself to watch a Spacey flick, this is a good one. (Personally, I still think Dennis Leary is still the biggest criminal for all those comedy thefts, but hey, it’s the season of good will.)
A warring couple at Christmas are brought together under trying circumstances by a burglar trying to avoid capture. A good film, with possibly the most overly descriptive trailer I’ve ever seen
Back in 2007 Michael Dougherty made the pretty great Trick r Treat – talked about elsewhere on this site. Cut to 2015 and he’s going for another holiday season – this time Crimbo with the Krampus legend: a boy accidentally summoning up a festive demon to terrorise him and his family.
Krampus has become pretty big news in recent years, popping up in the likes of The League and Inside Number 9. , and while Dougherty’s movie didn’t set box offices alight, it’s a fun, silly horror movie.
Comfort and Joy
Bill Forsyth is responsible for two of my favourite movies of all time – Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero. In Comfort and Joy an Alan Partridge style DJ (year’s before Alan Partridge was a thing) gets involved in a turf war around Christmas between rival families in the brutal Glasgow Ice Cream wars.
I couldn’t find a trailer for the film, but here’s some clips in a music video for it…
A Midnight Clear
And after a bunch of fun films, a more sombre offering. In only his second film Keith Gordon (formerly Arnie Cunningham in John Carpenter’s version of ‘Christine‘ directed this WW2 psychological drama set at Christmas where a small troop of GIs attempt to hold out in a deserted cabin against a lost band of German soldiers. Thought provoking and touching it’s not a barrel of laughs, but it’s a fine piece of film-making.
Low quality trailer here: