It's that time of year again. Time to barricade the doors, load up the shotguns, and hide in your bunker as you wait for the apocalyptic nightmare visions to go away. Wait, that's not how you celebrate this time of year? How else is one supposed to deal with the holiday insanity, other than hiding in their house, with a wary eye on the door?
But, even when you do barricade yourself in the house, what are you to do? If you turn on the TV, you are bombarded with an endless barrage of saccharine-sweet holiday specials, and holiday movies that are the cinematic equivalent of syrup of ipecac. You turn on the radio, and you are guaranteed to run into at least one station that has been playing the same 15 holiday songs on a non-stop loop since about October 3rd. You look out the window, and get blinded by the horrifically garish holiday light display across the street that uses up more electricity then some third world countries use in an entire year... It seems like no matter what you do, you're doomed.
Fear not, good readers. Frank is here to attempt to save you from the complete and utter inanity that is the holiday season. There is hope, if you know where to look. So, here is my list of the best Non-conventional holiday movies, with a little assistance from our loyal Facebook friends.
First off, I should provide my definitions of a non-conventional holiday movie, as well as a conventional holiday movie, to better your understanding of where I am coming from. For me, a conventional holiday movie, is one of those sappy holiday movies that rely on Santa Claus rewarding the good children, and family, friendship, presents, good will etc. Your "It's a Wonderful Life"'s and your "Miracle on 34th Street"'s. Those sorts of perennial fluff, that you just can't seem to escape.
Conversely, a non-conventional film, is one that features the holiday, not necessarily as a focal point of the movie, but as a sort of circumstantial addition. There will be at least one film that doesn't fit that definition on the list, but there are reasons... oh yes, there are reasons. So, shall we begin?
-Edward Scissorhands: I will admit, that even with some of the utter shit that Tim Burton has put out, I have a bit of a soft spot for his films nonetheless. This film, has a great character arc, and manages to fit the holiday themes in there for the climax. A perfectly enjoyable film, that I am tempted to pick up on blu ray so I can start a tradition of watching it each year for the holidays.
-Die Hard: When you toss in my own personal vote, this is actually the most mentioned movie in my very limited poll, and honestly, what could be better? You have Bruce Willis in his most iconic role, you have a happy party, and you have Alan Fucking Rickman! Besides all that, what movie more accurately depicts the feeling of being out in the trenches on Black Friday? This is a movie that I make sure to watch every year, and will likely continue to do so until I can quote it to you verbatim. Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker!
-The Nightmare before Christmas: This movie is notable for being the largest DVD package in my collection. It is also a movie that I have seen in the theater 6 times. And, it is probably my biggest exception to the non-conventional definition on this list, since the holiday is a very definitive part of the title. This one makes it, because it is one of those movies that manages to encompass two holidays, one of which I absolutely love, and one that I despise, and manages to do so in a manner that is entertaining, without fully shoving the holiday message down your throat. And it has the voice of Prince Humperdink from "The Princess Bride". Honestly, if I didn't need to get some sleep soon, I'd probably be watching this right now.
-Batman Returns: Tim Burton returns, this time bringing with him Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, and the last decent Batman film we would see for over 10 years. This is honestly my favorite of the two Keaton Batman movies, due in large part to Danny DeVito's portrayal of the Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer making a damned fine Catwoman. Also, it has prompted me to frequently say "Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it" ... sadly, this has yet to land me a date with a woman in a black catsuit.
-Black Christmas: What more needs to be said? Psycho killers and sorority girls... isn't this what the holidays are all about?
-Santa Claus vs The Martians: I forgot, there is one other thing that best encompasses the holidays, and that is having the iconic figure head squaring off against aliens in one of the best worst movies ever made.
-Lethal Weapon: Yeah, action movies, you gotta love em. When you toss in a suicidal cop, and a crotchety old cop, you have a movie that meshes perfectly with the holiday season, which is usually filled with suicides, and angry old people. This one hasn't weaseled its way onto my annual watch list yet, but it was suggested in my Facebook poll, and thus it was included.
-Gremlins: Oh this is a wonderful movie, it has several completely inane rules, that if you break them (and it is impossible not to) things are going to go to hell. But hey, at least with this movie there are only 3 of those rules. This movie manages to fit everything that the holidays represent into its brief run time, cute little critters, carnivorous green demons, holiday lights, caroling, and launching people with a short-circuiting chair lift! Sadly, they waited until the second movie to include "Santa with Muscles" star, Hulk Hogan.
-The Long Kiss Goodnight: This is another film included on the list because it was mentioned in the poll. My memory of this particular film is fuzzy at best, so....I'm going to give this one over to someone else with a fuzzy recollection of the film... So, Here's what Amber from Redhand studios had to say, "Samuel L. Jackson is all you have to say. But Geena Davis makes a hot Mrs. Claus and there is a good chase on ice skates..." I think in the end, that is really all that needs to be said, don't you?
So there you have it nine movies to help spice up your holiday viewing. Thanks to all that responded to my poll on Facebook for helping me flesh out this list. Without their help, this list would have probably been much shorter, and apologies to Josh Martin, for not including Bad Santa on the list. Honestly, I've never seen the film, and did not feel right putting it on the list. DJ had also mentioned Elf, not included for a few reasons, but I honestly want to get this post over with...
So with that, have a glorious Solstice, everyone. Or Festivus if you prefer.