Photo: Columbia Pictures
Thanksgiving is here, which means two things: You're probably in a constant state of being too stuffed to move, and, yeah, it's officially Christmastime. Basically, it's the perfect time to binge-watch classic holiday movies. Because what gets you in the spirit of the season more than a starry-eyed love story set in a small town in England? Whether your digesting turkey with family and friends or curled up in bed by yourself with a glass of wine, read on for what to stream this season.
Like so many holiday rom-coms, the premise of this movie is absurd but enjoyable nonetheless: Cameron Diaz, an American, and Kate Winslet, from Britain, do a home-swap during Christmastime and each one finds love with a local man, played by Jack Black and Jude Law. Because it's a Nancy Meyers movie, everyone wears jaunty scarves and lives in impeccably decorated, million-dollar homes. If that's not festive, I don't know what is.
Home for the Holidays
If all this family time has left you feeling a little salty, this may be the movie for you. Holly Hunter plays a single mom forced to travel alone to her childhood home to endure what IMDB describes as "an explosive holiday dinner with her dysfunctional family." Fun! Directed by Jodie Foster, it also stars Steve Guttenberg, Robert Downey, Jr., Claire Danes, and Dylan McDermott.
If you prefer your holiday fare less romantic and more raunchy, well, you're probably the target audience for Bad Santa, a 2003 comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton as a thieving, alcoholic mall Santa who comes up against a security guard played by Bernie Mac. Lauren Graham also stars as Sue, a woman with a Santa Claus fetish, which, fair warning, is kind of hard to watch if you're a die-hard Gilmore Girls fan.
A Merry Friggin' Christmas
Joel McHale and Robin Williams star as an estranged father-son duo who have to hit the road together after McHale's character realizes he left all his son's presents at home, eight hours away. Also starring Lauren Graham (who knew she was such a Christmas movie queen?), Tim Heidecker, and Candice Bergen, it was released following Williams' death in 2014.
Jingle All the Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a workaholic dad hell-bent on getting the toy of the year for his son, Jake—even though it's Christmas Eve and the thing is basically sold out. From brawling with a gang of crooked Santas to getting hit in the face with a thermos of eggnog, Schwarzenegger's character does not have an easy time of it.
Michael Keaton stars as an aging musician killed in a car accident. He returns to his son, Charlie, in the form of Jack Frost, a cool-dad who also happens to be a snowman, and helps him who helps him defeat local bullies and learn to play ice hockey. The ending is surprisingly emotional, and the movie inexplicably features three of Frank Zappa's sons.
Bill Murray stars in this modern-day take on A Christmas Carol as a successful but uncaring television exec who does things like forcing his staff to work through the holidays. He gets his comeuppance, however, as he's visited by three ghosts (who, as you probably know, represent the past, present, and future), ultimately emerging a changed man. If Bill Murray isn't enough to sway you, consider the fact that it also features his brothers, Joel and John.
From the director of Drinking Buddies, this 2014 Sundance film stars Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham, and Mark Webber, with Kendrick playing an irresponsible, hard-partying twentysomething who moves in with her brother after breaking up with her boyfriend. The whole thing goes down during Christmastime and plays as equal parts depressing, heartwarming, and darkly hilarious.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
If you've never watched Tim Burton's classic Christmas-meets-Halloween film, I suggest you remedy that immediately. It's a sweet, weird, artfully animated love story so iconic it's even been name-dropped in a Blink 182 song. Get on it.
If you're more the documentary-watching type, consider Tree Man, a Kickstarter-funded doc that follows a Canadian man who travels every year to New York to sell Christmas trees. Despite the fact that he must leave his family for a month and sleeps in a van, he's committed to providing his customers with an unwavering sense of holiday cheer.
While maybe not technically a Christmas movie, Gremlins does take place during the holiday season and is an amazing '80s throwback. In case you somehow didn't grow up watching it at every other slumber party, the premise is this: Billy receives an adorable if strange pet, called a mogwai, for Christmas with the explicit directive not to get it wet. Of course, wet it does get, spawning an army of mischevious gremlins eager to destroy pretty much everything in their paths.