A Christmas Story, Elf, Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Home Alone. Yes, these beloved holiday films are at the top of just about everybody’s “best Christmas movies” lists. And you can count on them looping on TV from Christmas Eve all the way into your holiday hangover on the 26th. But what about the people who are more Grinch than they are Cindy Lou Who? What not-so-holiday movies can they watch?
If you hate Christmas, don’t celebrate it, or simply want to watch something other than the same holiday films you always watch, my nontraditional Christmas movie watchlist is for you.
Okay, okay. So Die Hard might not be the most original choice for a Christmas movie. In fact, it frequently makes the best holiday movie lists (by people who know what they’re talking about, that is). But if you haven’t seen Die Hard, or you just need a little firepower in your movie choice, look no further. John McClane is all you need to beat the same old movie snoozefest. Yippee ki–yay, motherf**ker.
Rudolph may have saved Christmas, but that red-nosed little dork has nothing on the oppressed chickens of Chicken Run. They fight to escape an imminent pie-baked death with the help of a cocky rooster (Heh, chicken jokes). In case that isn’t hilarious enough for your Christmas viewing pleasure, there’s also a flighty chicken (The jokes write themselves) who thinks her coopmates are “going on holiday” when they’re actually headed to slaughter.
Hello, Joyce? Just Friends is the only comedy you need to watch this holiday. Unlike some of the other films on this list, this movie does take place during Christmas. But no worries, Xmas-haters. If you’ve ever wanted to destroy an entire home’s outdoor Christmas display, there’s an epic scene in this movie to satisfy your holiday bloodlust.
Ever wanted to spend the holiday in Belgium? No need! Watch neo-noir dramedy In Bruges instead. At first, it seems like an odd-couple film about two men who go on vacation to Bruges and bicker the whole time while they take in its sights. But then it takes a hard left into a hitman movie with what I consider to be one of the best Ralph Fiennes performances (behind The Grand Budapest Hotel, of course).
Hook is a Spielberg classic beloved by anyone who isn’t dead inside, so it’s perfect for a holiday movie alternative. Ditch that smug Kevin McCallister and his irresponsible parents this Christmas. Let’s rediscover our happy thoughts with a grown-up Peter Pan played by Robin Williams. If that’s not enough to convince you, just know this is the best live-action Peter Pan movie ever made (Fight me).
Every time you watch It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas instead of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, a Wookiee offs itself. Star Wars is the most magical film you can watch during the holiday. No exceptions. Unless that exception is to then marathon Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi immediately after. And then follow that up with The Force Awakens. BECAUSE STAR WARS, THAT’S WHY.
Horror might not be your go-to genre for Christmas movies, but The Shining is more Krampus than Krampus himself. And nothing says “Winter Wonderland” like being snowed in at a creepy hotel with your horse-faced mother, murderous father, an elevator full of blood, naked old lady ghosts, and socially-awkward twins.
You may be tempted to watch The Sound of Music during Christmas, but give Newsies a try instead. It’s perfect for when you’re feeling overwhelmed by holiday materialism. After all, it’s about a bunch of orphans sticking it to a greedy newspaper tycoon. And hey, if you’ve ever fancied Christian Bale, you can see him in his jailbait prime.
Love Actually can go toss itself. Bridget Jones’s Diary is WAY better and has less holiday cheese. It does start with its titular character attending a holiday party, but the rest of the film follows Bridget as she tries to fulfill her resolution to stop drinking, stop smoking, lose weight, and not date alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional f**kwits, or perverts.
If you’re spending your Christmas trapped in a house with your family, you’ll totally sympathize with the crew of the Nostromo as they fight off a giant alien in Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic Alien. Hell, you’ll probably look at the dude whose stomach bursts and be like “Same” after eating Christmas cookies for three days straight.
Fargo is about a desperate Minnesota man who hires two North Dakota criminals to kidnap his wife and hold her ransom. That’s about as anti-holiday as you can get. Unless, of course, that’s your plan for Christmas, in which case, maybe you can get some pointers on how not to screw up your spouse’s kidnapping. Also, if you plan to watch the Fargo TV series, this is necessary viewing.
What are your favorite non-holiday Christmas movie traditions? Tell me in the comments!