So its that time of year, where people inexplicably brave the cold and the dark that is the winter for a single night (or nights) of eating their weight in meat and chocolate (which I certainly never do..) It’s a great time of year for family and friends.
With that in mind, I wanted to talk about my favourite films to watch around the Christmas break and give readers an idea about what films to try if you haven’t already.
- A Christmas Carol
Everyone has a favourite version of this story – for good reason, as it’s a good story to tell. I have several that I can point to and say that I hold them in particular fondness. Muppet Christmas Carol was my first exposure to the story, a fun but peculiarly dark tale starring the cast of the Muppets and Michael Caine (who’s singing effort is admirable but I’ve never wondered why I haven’t heard it in recent years) which has an interesting twist on a story that has a surprising amount of depth for a film where a serious actor is expected to interact with puppet characters on stilts.
My other highlights for the Christmas Carol tale are the Patrick Stewart version for it’s fine acting and the attention that it draws to Scrooge and his family. There’s also a Batman story called Batman: Noel that has a unique spin on the story with DC Comic book characters filling the traditional roles, and the 2010 Doctor Who story with time travel added to the mix.
There are plenty of good versions of a Christmas Carol, with everyone having their own favourites. Hopefully this should be a good set of recommendations for you to try.
- Miracle on 34th Street
There are two versions of Miracle on 34th Street both of which are excellent to watch, with a joviality that balances out very well with a somewhat serious tale. Personally, I am more partial towards the 1994 version, as that was the one which I watched first and seeing Richard Attenborough playing Kris Kringle is a joy to watch. The 1947 story has it’s merits of course and is no less deserving of watching. For a comedy style Christmas film with an uplifting ending Miracle on 34th Street would be a very safe bet.
- It’s a Wonderful Life
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that It’s a Wonderful Life is among these recommendations, but it’s for good reason. While the film itself is mostly depressing, and makes for hard watching the finale still makes it worth watching. The life of the main characters is very difficult to watch, with unexpected tragedies and misery not being far behind. Somehow, however, they endure, and find time to help others with their own troubles. It is hard, but ultimately rewarding for them, and for those who watch it.
- The Hogfather
This one is a strange one, an adaption of a novel by Terry Pratchett (May he rest in peace) I first watched the Hogfather in 2006, where it was divided into two parts. It’s weirdness can prove difficult for people to get into, but I really enjoy watching this one. The main reason for this is because of Death, one of the protagonists of the story. His interactions with humans, his attempts to cover for the Hogfather, and his general confusion with human behaviour is very fun to watch with many highlights. Discworld is also an interesting world to explore, with many interesting characters and concepts. There’s also a point to be made within it about the importance of creating fantasies.
I wish that more people could like the Hogfather, and I believe that it’s worth watching.
- Love Actually
Love Actually, is a film that myself and my family watch every year, to the point where I can probably tell the story like the back of my hand. Love Actually at its core is a love film, with many stories about different characters having their own experiences of love. This ranges from the comedic with one character going to the United States for bizarre reasons, to a boy experiencing love for the first time to two lovers attempting to cross the language barrier. Not all of these stories end well and even end up dissolving before the end but that’s the nature of love; it doesn’t always stick, but when it does, it feels good.
For those who are wondering about my favourite subplot in Love Actually, it’s the one with the language barrier, as that requires dedication.
I know that Die Hard is not a Christmas film, it’s a film that is set around Christmas, but doesn’t really do much to appeal to this intangible concept known as the Christmas spirit. But I do like Die Hard, and what better way to counteract all these happy clappy Christmas films than a film where you see Bruce Willis gradually become more and more battered as time goes on. Also it has Alan Rickman, and this is also good. Whether in or outside of Christmas this film is worth watching. I just thought it’d be fun to place it on this list.
I hope that you find something worth watching on this list. You probably already have your own favourite Christmas story and feel free to share it. In case you haven’t watched some of these films though, I do recommend checking them out.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and hope you have a good one.