Must a Christmas movie solely revolve around the holiday, or is merely being set during Christmas enough to qualify?
Furthermore, does it always have to exude merry cheer? With a more flexible view of the festive season, we’ve curated 6 Christmas movies spanning diverse genres, from classic Old Hollywood gems to modern family-friendly comedies and even the sort of mature, irreverent entertainment for post-bedtime viewing.
Unconventional Christmas Films for Every Holiday Mood
A Christmas Story (1983)
Among the chosen films, “A Christmas Story” (1983) stands out, a nostalgic comedy tinged with some holiday horrors, chronicling the Parker family’s mishaps in 1940s Midwestern America. The tale follows Ralphie, who yearns for a Red Ryder air rifle but faces constant warnings of “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Then there’s “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993), a stop-motion fantasy blending Halloween and Christmas in a dark, unique style. The story of Jack Skellington discovering the joy of Christmas Town and bringing it home makes for predictably chaotic results.
“Elf” (2003) presents Will Ferrell as Buddy, an orphan raised by North Pole elves, embarking on a journey to find his real father in New York City.
Ferrell’s comic naïveté and unwavering cheer bring a warm fish-out-of-water comedy to life, with a stellar supporting cast adding to its charm.
Bad Santa (2003)
For those leaning towards darker humor, “Bad Santa” (2003) offers Billy Bob Thornton as an alcoholic mall Santa who concocts a plan to rob department stores, only to be unexpectedly touched by a boy’s unwavering belief in Santa.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
After making a mark in Hollywood with the script for “Lethal Weapon,” writer Shane Black has situated six of his films in Los Angeles during Christmas, despite the city’s lack of overt seasonal cues due to its mild climate.
In his directorial debut, the edgy neo-noir buddy-action comedy “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” the soundtrack cleverly combines both traditional and irreverent Christmas songs.
The plot’s murder mystery kicks off at an upscale party, where an intriguing guest, an aspiring actress (Michelle Monaghan), stands out in a deconstructed Santa costume.
Robert Downey Jr. portrays a humorously cynical thief who accidentally lands an audition for a detective role, secures the part, and subsequently shadows an actual private investigator (Val Kilmer) on a case.
Another noteworthy inclusion, “Carol” (2015), unfolds against the backdrop of 1952 Manhattan during the Christmas rush at a department store.
It chronicles a forbidden affair between two women, navigating the complexities of age, class, and societal expectations.
These selections push the boundaries of the traditional Christmas movie, showcasing diverse narratives that embrace the festive season in unique and unexpected ways.
Whether it’s nostalgic family fun or a darker, unconventional take on the holidays, these films offer an array of experiences for holiday enthusiasts seeking varied cinematic celebrations.
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