As a child I used to get really excited when the Christmas edition of TV Times came out. I used to peruse and mark off all the films I was desperate to watch over the season. I can remember the obligatory glee at seeing “The Wizard of Oz”, or “It’s a Wonderful Life” listed.
Now, with the sheer volume of films released on goodness knows how many formats or devices and from so many sources, it has lost a little magic. How many movie channels are there? How many streaming sites? So you can watch almost any film at any time. It has become a very disposable, instantly available medium, more so than it ever was with DVD. So if you want to watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in July, you can.
Anyway, I digress. I have been thinking about a list of films I would recommend for the Christmas season. Old, new, rare, classic, I’m not a big fan of a “definitive top 10” as views on films can always change over time. As a younger man in my twenties, the Christmas list would have consisted of “Die Hard” nine times and “It’s a Wonderful Life” once. But I am now a fully-fledged grown-up (certified), and even have some small people of my own. I believe they are called “children”.
So, in no particular order:
1 Die Hard (I am still that excitable child)
John McClane kills terrorists, saves the hostages, saves Christmas, cuts his feet, blows things up and makes funny quips. Ace!
2 Die Hard Gremlins
The cutest pet in the world transforms into messy, uncouth, evil, violent, monsters. Apparently not an allegory for cute babies turning into 2 year olds.
3 Die Hard Rare Exports
Not your conventional Santa story. A Finnish film about old, scary, naked elves (that look like skinny versions of our conventional Santa) but are really minions for Santa. A massive demon buried in a mountain.
4 Die Hard Rise of the Guardians
Not just Santa. Easter bunny (Hugh Jackman), Sandman, Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost (Chris Pine – so COOL!) save the day and all the magical, mythical heroes from the evil Pitch Black (Jude Law).
5 Die Hard Love, Actually
Bill Nighy and some questionable morals from Mark’s (Andrew Lincoln) treatment of his friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejifor – SEXY), whilst trying to win the heart of Juliet (Keira Knightley).
6 Die Hard A Miracle on 64th Street (1994)
My BFF loves this film starring the late Richard Attenborough.
7 Die Hard Scrooge (1951/1970), Scrooged (1988), Christmas Carol(2009), Muppets Christmas Carol (1992), Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009).
Yes, the story is the same, but I love every version listed. Yes, even the McConaughey one. But it is socially acceptable to like him now.
8 Die Hard Lethal Weapon
It was this or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Shane Black does like to set his stories around Christmas.
9 Die Hard Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton (Angelina Jolie’s ex) Not to be viewed in front of children or political correct people.
10 It’s a Wonderful Life
Not to be viewed in front of people without souls.
Special mentions for The Wizard of Oz, Bridget Jones’ Diary (it’s a full year but covers Christmas), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Home Alone and Black Christmas.
And a VERY special mention for Peppa Pigs Christmas Special for my daughter. Even though this has been on solid rotation in our house since August.
See you next year!