It is the most magical time of the year, where everything smells like peppermint bark and fir trees and non-denominational holiday candy and the air is filled with equal parts love and anxiety. And a major part of what makes holiday season the holiday season ARE THE HOLIDAY MOVIES (duh).
So, without further a do, here are, in chronological order, all the holiday movies you can catch on the big screens across the area this month with some handy Netflix and HBO Go selections at the bottom. Sadly, we couldn’t find any Just Friends showings, but there’s plenty of other stuff. Pass the eggnog flavored popcorn….
- Polar Express (December 14 & 15 @ Smithsonian IMAX Air & Space Museum) – Aside from the creepily realistic computer generated people, this is a super cute Christmas movie about a boy who takes a train to the North Pole and features Tom Hanks. The Smithsonian is showing it in 3D, which is how I saw it the only time I’ve seen it, and it’s totally worth it.
- Edward Scissorhands (December 16, Suns Cinema) I forgot that Edward Scissorhands is a Christmas Movie, but it actually has a lot of festiveness going for it.
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (Opens Dec 16th @ AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center) A Christmas Carol is a classic. And it can only be made better with Muppets.
- It’s A Wonderful Life (Opens Dec 16th @ AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, opening December 16 Miracle Theatre) I shouldn’t have to tell you what this film is about, because you MUST have seen it, but George Bailey is having a crisis of faith and a streat of misfortune and contemplates ending it all on Christmas Eve. But when Clarence, an angel who’s trying to get his wings, is sent to help him see the light George Bailey learns the true meaning of wealth and happiness and it will make you cry your eyes out and you’ll love it.
- A Christmas Carol (Opens December 19 @ AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center). Old Christmas movies are the best Christmas movies and A Christmas Carol is a classic oldy. It’s got ghosts, sickly children and greed, but it all works out in the end because of Christmas magic.
- Die Hard (December 20 + 22 @ AFI) I will never understand why people call this a Christmas movie. Call me a Christmas purist, but just because a movie takes place during the holiday season DOESN’T mean it’s a Christmas movie. Nonetheless, I don’t have to tell you that this movie is a classic and I suppose could be enjoyed at all times of year. NYPD officer John McClane teams up with himself to save his wife and her coworkers from a German terrorist and kicks some serious ass. This is not a Christmas movie.
- Home Alone (December 21 & 23 @ Suns Cinema) – Watch a tiny Macaulay Culkin outsmart the Wet Bandits and eating mac and cheese on the big screen.
- Jingle All The Way (December 22 @Suns Cinema) – A Christmas movie about the true meaning of Christmas (hint: it’s not toys) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Miracle on 34th Street (December 23 @ The Miracle Theatre) – Watch Kris Kringle create a Christmas miracle for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in this festive classic. I’ve never seen it, but a lot of people love it, so it must have something going for it.
- Elf (December 23 @ The Miracle Theatre) – Elf is a new classic. It’s not that new, its 13 years old (!!!) but still compared to some of the above it’s a baby. Watching Will Ferrell run around New York in tights and singing may not sound like a great time, but it is. If you haven’t seen it by now, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
- Double Feature Krampus and Gremlins (December 19, 6:45 AFI Silver Theatre) – Creepy, weird creatures make Christmas better. Who doesn’t love assorted festive monsters?
Netflix Instant Viewing:
Netflix has a lot of B (and lower) level Christmas movies that I’ve never heard of Like Pete’s Christmas and Twelve Dates of Christmas, which I guess exist if you literally want to keep your tv running with Christmas movies 24 hours a day. Aside from those, they also have a solid selection of Christmas specials and movies that you’ll actually want to watch.
A Very Murray Christmas – Directed by Sofia Coppola, A Very Murray Christmas is like a giant spoof of the whole celebrity cameo driven Christmas movie. The trick to understanding the plot is understanding that there basically is no plot. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy Bill Murray being forced to sing Christmas carols with Amy Poehler and Julie White.
Love Actually – Every British actor you could name off the top of your head (hello Colin Firth and Hugh Grant) and every romantic comedy plot you could think of come together in the ultimate rom-com mash up. It’s exploding with cuteness and the only thing better than this being an actual film is that it’s also a Christmas movie. YES.
A Very Sunny Christmas – This one’s a bit of a wild card but hear me out, it’s amazing. It’s not sappy, it’s got some nostalgia and involves the It’s Always Sunny gang trying to be their best Christmas selves which are not great. Also, Charlie’s interaction with Mall Santa is one of my favorite scenes in any Christmas special ever. It’s so good. Watch it, you won’t regret it (It’s season 6 episode 13).
White Christmas – Bing Crosby. Danny Kaye. Rosemary Clooney. This is the sort of cast that you can’t afford not seeing come together for a Christmas extravaganza (literally). These three greats are basically their singing and dancing selves as they team up to put on a truly great Christmas production for Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s former commanding general’s fledgling inn because there hasn’t been any snow this season. I think you can see where this is going (the title is White Christmas after all) but the songs and the performances are not to be missed. You’ll also probably cry in this one too, because seeing an old, proud, military man cry may be one of the most heart-breaking things ever.
Christmas with the Kranks – In this movie Tim Allen changes out of his Santa costume and back into his suburban-middle-class-dad costume for good. He’s married to Jamie Lee Curtis and together they make a sort of charmingly dysfunctional couple. Watching game: what kind of hijinx will Tim Allen get into now?
Christmas Horror Story– If the fact that Christmas isn’t scary has always bothered you, here’s your remedy. A movie that tracks four different holiday-themed horror stories to get you in that festive, murdery spirit. It’s got Will Shatner which is a fun bonus surprise. It also has Krampus who has made it very big of late.
The Santa Clause – I watched this movie at least 50 times in my childhood, I loved it so much that I would play it on repeat until my dad reclaimed the television. Sure, Santa dies at the beginning, but Tim Allen becomes a newer, better Santa after learning how to lead a new life at the North Pole. It’s so cute.
Fireplace for Your Home – No script, no actors, just one hour’s worth of a fireplace crackling to a festive soundtrack. It’s not going to overwhelm with you excitement but hey, it can’t disappoint you – Fireplace for Your Home doesn’t hide what it truly is.
Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas– This is the live action, Jim Carrey one. I’m not a fan, but someone probably is. If that’s you, then here ya go. It’s on HBO Go.
Bad Santa- Billy Bob Thorton plays an alcoholic who dresses up as Santa and robs stores for fun until he befriends a troubled kid with a heart of gold, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that Billy Bob Thorton plays an alcoholic and it is hilarious. Pour some (or a lot of) mint schnapps into some hot chocolate and enjoy.
Home Alone – Hopefully you don’t need a description to know that this movie needs to be watched at least once a year. It’s a classic.
Miracle on 34th Street– Another classic. There’s just something about black and white Christmas movies.
Let us know in the comments if we missed anything. SPREAD THAT FILM CHEER FOR ALL TO ENJOY.