5 Movies To Watch Over The Holidays
With most of 2017 in the books, we have now entered the holiday season. During the holiday season we get a chance to see family and friends as well as spend copious amounts of time indulging in seasonal entertainment. To get yourself in the holiday spirit, I’ve thrown together this list of 5 movies to watch over the holidays. Like most lists I throw together, I will be pulling from movies I typically watch over the holidays.
Synopsis: Set in Los Angeles during Christmas Eve, Die Hard tells the story of New York policeman John McClane who is visiting his estranged wife and children for the holidays. McClane joins his wife at her holiday party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for. Quickly the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise, and everyone in it. Very soon McClane realizes that there’s no one to save the hostages — but him.
Why?: When you’re a kid, you spend most of the holidays watching run of the mill holiday movies. As you get older, what you watch during the holidays changes. As I’ve grown older Die Hard has slowly inched its way into the holiday rotation. Now I know there is huge debate over Die Hard being a holiday movie or not, but to myself and FilmApe, Die Hard has become a holiday staple. Every year we get a Die Hard viewing in to spread a little holiday cheer.
If you are looking for a movie set at Christmas, but not about Christmas, Die Hard is an good watch. Plus the film has a ton of action and solid acting to keep audience members above the age of 18 actually interested.
Synopsis: When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O’Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.
Why?: Let’s be honest, Home Alone is essentially the children’s version of Die Hard. Both films take place during Christmas; both deal with attempted heists; and only the main character is in a position to stop the heist. While being similar to Die Hard, Home Alone does a good job of standing on its own legs. The film gets especially fun during the house siege portion, as Kevin essentially creates a number of death traps from everyday household items. If you’re really feeling wild, do a double bill of Home Alone/Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
Synopsis: Two talented song-and-dance men (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye) team up after the war to become one of the hottest acts in show business. One winter, they join forces with a sister act (Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen) and trek to Vermont for a white Christmas.
Why?: I don’t normally like watching musicals, but for some reason I like White Christmas. White Christmas features a number of pretty amazing musical sequences which are actually fun to watch. Couple the musical numbers with the strange nostalgia I have from watching this as a kid and you pretty much have an instant holiday classic. If you want good, wholesome holiday entertainment, you can’t go wrong with White Christmas.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Synopsis: As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie (Randy Quaid), and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark’s employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.
Why?: Of all the films on this list, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the one I never choose to watch but still somehow see every year. The reason for this is that I typically go to the Fairme family residence for the holidays and end up watching a ton of TV. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is always on TV during the holiday season. Inevitably I end up watching Christmas Vacation a number of times over my Christmas Vacation. Luckily the film is a fun watch and does a good job of capturing the not so enjoyable aspects of the holiday season in a humorous way.
It’s a Wonderful Life
Synopsis: After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.
Why?: It’s A Wonderful Life is a popular holiday film and rightfully so. Of all the films I’ve recommended here, I can easily say that It’s A Wonderful Life is the closest to capturing the true meaning of the holiday season. Regardless of what’s going on in your life, the film serves as a good reminder of what really matters. After watching this film this film you will reevaluate every relationship you’ve ever had in your entire life. Or if you’re like me, you will fall asleep in the theatre watching this.
Obviously there are a ton of movies you can watch over the holidays and those listed above are just scratching the surface. Below are a number of honorable mentions for you to check out if you still need more Christmas entertainment.