Author Topic: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies  (Read 2283 times)

Offline perc2100

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ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« on: December 06, 2023, 12:47:07 PM »
After a bit of a hiatus during/post-2023 SDCC (some health issues, massive changes at work, life stuff :undecided: ), I'm back; and what better to do this time of year than to talk about some of my favorite atypical Christmas/holiday movies.  Most of us love the classics in the Holiday movie canon: stuff like ELF, A CHRISTMAS STORY, NATIONAL LAMPOONS CHRISTMAS VACATION, etc.  Of course, there are the 'easy' answers: stuff like DIE HARD or GREMLINS.  But there are a myriad of atypical holiday movies that maybe many of you aren't thinking of.  Of course, there will be some 'obvious' films in this list, but hopefully throughout the month you'll see something you haven't thought of in awhile, or maybe aren't familiar with.  I'll hopefully come here everyday and update with a different atypical Holiday film.  I'm doing this on some other social media, watching the films as I notate them, and decided I'd come in here to share with you all.

I'll use this first message to keep the running list, and update each day's movie with a different page once I get going.
So far here's what I've got:

Dec. 1 - PROMETHEUS: that's right, the 5th film in the ALIEN franchise takes place around Christmas!
Dec. 2 - CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: the Spielberg new-classic has several scenes that focus on the shared loneliness of both Hanks & DiCaprio's FBI/fraudulent characters
Dec. 3 - INVASION USA: the Regan-era action movies involves Russian & Cuban terrorist invading around Xmas time, with only CIA agent Chuck Norris able to stop em!
Dec. 4 - INSIDE: like DIE HARD, this movie takes place mostly around Christmas Eve; unlike DIE HARD this is a French new-wave extreme horror film (now on Tubi!)
Dec. 5 - BATMAN RETURNS: this is a more mainstream one, a palate cleanser after INSIDE, if you will 
Dec. 6 - LA CONFIDENTIAL: Oscar-nominated masterpiece about 1950's LAPD
Dec. 7 - KRAMPUS: a modern horror film with fun dark comedy that delivers a bit of mayhem to an insufferable family dinner
Dec. 8 - TRADING PLACES: the Dan Ackroyd/Eddie Murphy/Jamie Lee Curtis comedy classic
Dec. 9 - Tales from the Crypt s1e2 “And All Through The House:” a psycho dressed as Santa faces off w/a woman who just killed her husband
Dec. 10 - FUNNY FARM: a mildly entertaining Chevy Chase 'fish out of water' story about a NYC couple moving to the country
Dec. 11 - ROCKY IV: where the Italian Stallion comes out of boxing retirement to end communism in Russia!
Dec. 12 - HUDSUCKER PROXY: Coen Bros + Tim Robbins & Paul Newman & Jennifer Jason Lee (and Bruce Campbell!) = great: “you know: for kids!”
Dec. 13 - THE THIN MAN: 1930's murder mystery comedy with two great husband/wife leads who like to banter while drinking: and also a cute dog
Dec. 14 - YOU’VE GOT MAIL: for you RomCom fans, this Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan story of rival business owners who fall for each other anonymously on the internet (AOL!)
Dec. 15 - BRAZIL: Terry Gilliam’s other 1980’s masterpiece is a Nineteen Eighty-Four esque that reminds us 'we're all in it together'
Dec. 16 - GO: one of the better non-linear PULP FICTION influenced films of the late 90’s, this one takes place over the course of mostly one night around Christmas, and was made by director Doug Limen between SWINGERS and BOURNE IDENTITY.
Dec. 17 - THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT - Shane Black (LETHAL WEAPON) written, but directed by Renny Harlin just six years after directing atypical Christmas movie, DIE HARD 2
Dec. 18 - EDWARD SCISSORHANDS: the Tim Burton classic starring Johnny Depp as a pseudo-Frankenstein, built by Vincent Price, and Winona Ryder, who loves him
Dec. 19 - BABE: this intelligent kids’ classic was co-written by & co-produced by MAD MAX writer/director George Miller!
Dec. 20 - HOLLIDAY INN: his Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire classic originally spawned the song “White Christmas:” the best-selling musical single of all time (with awful blackface)
Dec. 21 - STEEL MAGNOLIAS: like HOLIDAY INN this one covers several holidays, and like BABE this one _might_ bring you to tears, with an outstanding female-driven cast
Dec. 22 - COBRA: this dark, violent Stallone 80’s action movie featureS Sly as an LAPD cop trying to take out an uber violent menacing cult
Dec. 23 - BETTER OFF DEAD: the mid-80's John Cusack comedy that revolves around both attempted suicide AND skiing
Dec. 24 - EYES WIDE SHUT: the last film from master director Stanley Kubrick stars Tom Cruise & Nicole Kidman as a married couple working through some issues
Dec. 25 - RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE - this Finnish action horror comedy is about Santa-hunters that even delivers an atypical Santa Clause, and explains just who those mall Santas may actually be. 

Merry Christmas!  This has been fun, and I have watched almost all of these films over the last several weeks (even INSIDE, as I watched it again on my iPad to get screen grab of a shot repping Christmastime).  I likely could’ve started around Thanksgiving and go until New Years and I’d still leave quite a few movies off the list.  I was fairly surprised how many stealth/atypical Christmas movies have been. 
And I’m more bummed that I couldn’t find ONE atypical Hanukkah film (really very very few Hanukkah movies at all); I really wanted to do one for the first day of Hanukkah awhile back, but couldn’t find anything  >:(

May your holidays be happy, and may you find joy in your lives! 
« Last Edit: December 24, 2023, 10:37:39 PM by perc2100 »

Offline perc2100

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2023, 01:14:30 PM »
December 6: LA CONFIDENTIAL

This masterful film, nominated for several Oscars, is an adaptation of James Ellroy's brilliant novel about the 1950's LAPD.  The timespan of the film spans several months (if not years), but the story kicks off on Christmas with a fictional version of the real-life "Bloody Christmas," where LAPD officers brutally beat five Mexicans on Christmas, 1951.  All of our main LAPD characters are intro'ed in the opening scenes: Vice cop/consultant on a popular TV show Badge of Honor Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacy); young beat gun with his eyes on making Detective Ed Exley (Guy Pearce); brutal Detective who's not afraid to get his hands dirty Bud White (Russell Crowe); Captain Dudley Smith (James Cromwell).  The film dabbles with real LA history, and features real life gangster Mickey Cohen.  But the film expertly weaves history into its story of the LAPD trying to rehab its image after Bloody Christmas, while just under the surface involves massive corruption.

LA CONFIDENTIAL came out during a great year for films (not unlike 2023!), and while it was critically acclaimed & won Best Actress for Kim Bassinger's role as a high-end call girl mixed up with the wrong people + Best Adapted Screenplay, it didn't quite have the juice to beat out the TITANIC juggernaut.

I can't recommend this film, and this is definitely one of the better films I'm revisiting this month!

FWIW, other 1996 Best Picture Nominees were:
* TITANIC
* AS GOOD AS IT GETS
* THE FULL MONTY
* GOOD WILL HUNTING

A rare year where year where the film I liked the least won, but I was happy for ALL five films nominated, and really wished The Academy could've nominated up to 10 like they can now

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #2 on: Today at 09:01:14 PM »

Offline Old Man Grey

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2023, 02:02:39 PM »
"Invasion USA" is the quintessential 80's action movie. I almost forgot it was a Christmas movie. A bloody Christmas movie.

Offline Old Man Grey

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2023, 02:07:53 PM »
"One Magic Christmas". Harry Dean Stanton as the creepiest angel you'll ever meet. The story is pretty bizarre too.

Offline perc2100

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2023, 02:11:56 PM »
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"Invasion USA" is the quintessential 80's action movie. I almost forgot it was a Christmas movie. A bloody Christmas movie.
Same, and I hadn't seen that movie in decades.  A friend of mine wanted to make the argument that INVASION USA beat DIE HARD as THE 80's action Christmas movie.  I was never that into Chuck Norris stuff, but this was a fairly fun one

Offline Transmute Jun

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2023, 08:29:10 PM »
Not really my thing, but Eyes Wide Shut is technically a Christmas film.

Offline marcia29

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2023, 04:22:34 AM »
Glad to see you back!

I will look forward to them. Happy Holiday Movie Watching !

« Last Edit: December 07, 2023, 04:25:31 AM by marcia29 »
It is 2024, and I am still asking...where's my flyin' car??!! @fannishmarcia

Offline perc2100

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2023, 01:16:00 PM »
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Not really my thing, but Eyes Wide Shut is technically a Christmas film.
Absolutely, and will 100% show up on this list!


Offline perc2100

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2023, 01:38:03 PM »
December 7’s atypical Christmas movie is KRAMPUS, Michael Dougherty's follow-up to his wildly entertaining TRICK R TREAT that delves into the European beliefs of the antithesis of Santa that comes for the _naughty_ boys & girls.  This film is about as fun as TRICK R TREAT is, with a healthy dose of (dark) comedy to go with it. 

The film stars Emjay Anthony as the kid, Max, the kid trying to keep up the spirit of Christmas in a highly dysfunctional family, the always awesome Toni Collette as Max's mom, Adam Scott as Max's dad, and David Koechner as Max's uncle.  Creature effects were done by Peter Jackson's company Weta, and besides Krampus himself (a horned beast), there are multiple gingerbread men, a Cherub, and a demonic jack-in-the-box featured in the film.  The film (or at least the 'fun' part of the film) kicks off when Max lashes out at his family at a dinner, saying he hates them & Christmas after he's teased for still believing in Santa.  After he throws his own letter to Santa outside and its pieces scatters in the wind, things start to go south for the family.  Leave it to Max's grandma to deliver the story of Krampus, and we are off to the races (though, FWIW, this exposition happens AFTER the gingerbread man attack).

Like TRICK R TREAT, this film balances tone expertly: it's both legit funny (how can it not be with that cast?!) as well as a bit tense at times.  This was a film that had an SDCC panel in Hall H BITD, and while writer/director Doughtery was a writer for X2 and has been involved with other X-men films, I think TRICK R TREAT & KRAMPUS are two of the best holiday films.  As I've gotten older, I find myself revisiting TRICK R TREAT annually, and I _might_ actually prefer it to the Carpenter classic HALLOWEEN for my October 31 horror needs.  KRAMPUS similarly is a great way to mix up the Holiday spirit, and is far less...difficult...than the previous horror film on this list (I promise I likely won't include a movie on this list that is difficult for the average 'normal' person to sit through :Blush2: ).  If you find yourself next week, as we hit the halfway point to Christmas, already over the standard stuff, treat yourself to KRAMPUS and enjoy the darker side of the Holidays!

Online semigeekgirl

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2023, 01:39:53 PM »
We're only on day 7 and this list already includes 2 movies I saw in theaters and immediately vowed to never watch again! :P

Offline NCDS

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2023, 02:56:07 PM »
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We're only on day 7 and this list already includes 2 movies I saw in theaters and immediately vowed to never watch again! :P

You know we are all curious about which ones  :PH:
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Offline perc2100

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2023, 09:34:25 AM »
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You know we are all curious about which ones  :PH:
Ha; same!
Honestly, looking at this list, I can TOTALLY understand many people not wanting to see a lot of these movies again (and I suspect a few more I add over the next couple weeks will also be on that 'naughty' list of no repeat watching).

Also, INSIDE is a movie that's hard enough to sit through once, and is the one movie so far I didn't revisit for this venture.  Once was definitely enough for me, likely.  A good friend of mine that I went to HS with & who has worked in the film industry for decades described INSIDE as
Quote
I kinda think you need to describe it as either a warning to the weak or an enticement to the weird
which on one hand may be harsh calling folks "weak," but on the other hand overall seems incredibly apt

Offline MandoSaves

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2023, 10:52:06 AM »
Nightmare before Christmas would be considered an atypical Christmas movie. It can be easily mistaken for a Halloween movie, but it's main premise revolves around Christmas.

Offline NCDS

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2023, 11:15:09 AM »
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Nightmare before Christmas would be considered an atypical Christmas movie. It can be easily mistaken for a Halloween movie, but it's main premise revolves around Christmas.

I would argue it's both
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Offline perc2100

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Re: ATypical Christmas/Holiday movies
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2023, 11:25:10 AM »
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I would argue it's both
Yeah every year in my house a faux-debate occurs regarding NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS being a Christmas or Halloween movie.  It's clearly both, the the film is entirely the lead-up to Christmas Eve rather than any sort of Halloween focus (though clearly they're Halloween Town w/the heavy Halloween slant).  To muddy the waters the film opened wide in the US right before Halloween, to capitalize on a long 'holiday' run from Halloween-New Years (which worked pretty well: it was a relatively low-budget and its far less than >$100m box office made it likely deemed a 'sleeper hit' at the time - obviously its legacy now is HUGE).

It's amusing to me in our household the debate is not if DIE HARD is a Christmas movie (I say it is, though looking at this list of other films I deem 'Christmas movies' I'll understand if your mileage may vary), but if NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is a Christmas or Halloween movie.  My 9 year old quickly defaults to the fact Disneyland flips their Haunted Mansion to Nightmare Before Christmas theme well before Halloween, while they don't put up Christmas decorations until November, so he's satisfied it's a Halloween movie and we do indeed watch it every October (and again in December)