Each year there are a a whole bunch of Christmas movies. Most of them, however, go unnoticed because they don't feature Santa or dewy-eyed children who get what they always wanted for Christmas (which often involves their estranged parents reuniting), or strikes at the North Pole or cuddly animals who “save Christmas”.
Of course, the great thing about “Christmas” Christmas movies is that they never go out of fashion. It's a Wonderful Life will be wonderful every Christmas, there's no time frame. With that in mind, should you be fizzing like a celebratory champagne bottle at the thought of watching “Christmas” Christmas movies, here's what the big-hearted folk at Brookfield Video Ezy recommended last year. They'll be just as good this time: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Four Holidays, and The Santa Claus.
Iron Man 3
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce
Meanwhile, in the spirit of Grinches everywhere, I'm going to get my kicks from slightly more “subliminally” Christmasy fare. Like Iron Man 3. Originally slated for a Christmas release it retained its seasonal touches even after rescheduling. Laugh at Robert Downey Jr's wisecracks! Thrill at the action! Have the cockles of your heart warmed by a plethora of Christmas trees!
Below are another half dozen “alternative” Christmas movies. Or, if you want to catch some of the Christmas flicks I've recommended in past years, try these: Brazil, Batman Returns, American Psycho, Bad Santa, Eastern Promises, Full Metal Jacket, LA Confidential, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Eyes Wide Shut, Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Lethal Weapon, The French Connection, Gremlins, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Das Boot, Donnie Brasko, The Boat That Rocked, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Prometheus and, er, Love Actually.
Everyone's become used to Tim Burton and Johnny Depp creating deeply weird characters so it's worth going back to where it all started when Depp was just another pretty face from a teen-targeted TV show. Edward Sissorhands changed all that and touched even the hardest heart. It starts and ends at Christmas and the finest moment involves sculpting ice – what's not to love?
In the long lost days when everybody loved a wino, before they nearly ruined it all by asking Russell Brand to do a remake, there was adorable little Dudley Moore and the alcoholic frenzy that was Arthur . There's no talk of rehab here, just a merry celebration of being rich and drunk, having John Gielgud as your butler, and falling in love with Liza Minnelli. At Christmas.
Or perhaps you fancy a little action? The Long Kiss Goodnight should have been a huge hit. It has an ass-kicking Gina Davis. And Samuel L Jackson doing Samuel L Jackson. She's a highly trained amnesiac assassin, he's sort of comic relief, together they blow up everything in sight. A very cool film complete with banks and banks of Christmas snow.
Or perhaps something a little more intellectual? Stun your friends and family by watching Ingmar Bergman's Fanny & Alexander . Yes, it is in Swedish. Yes, it goes on for several hours. But this domestic epic, showing us the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family in 1910 through the eyes of the eponymous children, is richly rewarding. And, yes, bits of it happen at Christmas.
Before he made Gravity, Spanish director Alfonso Cuarón co-wrote and directed dystopian sci-fi thriller Children of Men. It opens at Christmas and some see it as a loose futuristic take on the nativity story. With Clive Owen and Michael Caine. And a lot more guns.
And back when the pairing of Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd was actually considered a good thing, Trading Places story of a poor street hustler placed in the lap of luxury while an aristocratic yuppie is reduced to poverty made for comedy gold. Having Jamie Lee Curtis as a hooker with a heart of gold didn't hurt. Ackroyd dresses as Santa, eats Christmas dinner on a bus and tries to kill himself. It's funnier than it sounds.