Undefended: Christmas

die hard

This Christmas season, FilmFisher’s writers picked their favorite Christmas films. The prompt was, of course, interpreted in a wide variety of ways, but as Joshua Gibbs writes in The 25th, “there is a Christmas version of nearly everything: Christmas music, Christmas food, Christmas drink, Christmas dress, Christmas books, Christmas movies, Christmas colors, and Christmas spices… While children are the greatest beneficiaries of Christmas, there are Christmas movies for old people and young people, black people and white people, conservative people and progressive people, smart people and cynical people… If it is a part of life, it is represented somewhere within Christmas culture.”

eastern promises

Remy Wilkins

Due to the nature of my first two picks, some defense is required…

  1. Eastern Promises (2007): Not for everyone – an uber violent undercover story that occurs during Christmas. There is a Caesar (Russian Mobster) who is trying to kill a baby (Christine) who is protected by a (St.) Nick and (St.) Anne. For he who has ears to hear…
  2. Locke (2013): Again, this is going to seem like a stretch, but I promise you, Locke is an Advent movie.
  3. Home Alone (1990): A classic the day it came out.
  4. The Family Man (2000): The most powerful and positive case for the nuclear family ever.
  5. Children of Men (2006)

23-death-looking-upward

Timothy Lawrence

Like Remy, my picks require some explanation. 1-4 are Advent picks, which is to say they are more concerned with preparing for Christmas than celebrating it: fast movies, not feast movies. 5 is my go-to movie for The Feast of Holy Innocents on the 28th. If you were to hold me to a stricter definition of “Christmas movies,” I would probably just say It’s A Wonderful Life five times and be done with it.

  1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969, dir. Peter R. Hunt)
  2. Batman Returns (1992, dir. Tim Burton)
  3. Blade Runner 2049 (2017, dir. Denis Villeneuve)
  4. The Green Knight (2021, dir. David Lowery)
  5. The Night of the Hunter (1955, dir. Charles Laughton)

They are not really Christmas movies, but The Long Gray Line (1955, dir. John Ford) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, dir. Tomas Alfredson) contain two of my favorite Christmas scenes.

it-s-a-wonderful-life_143021

Travis Kyker

Well, as long as Tim isn’t taking it five times, I’ll certainly take it once.

  1. It’s a Wonderful Life (Capra, 1946)
  2. Children of Men (Cuarón, 2006)
  3. Black Christmas (Clark, 1974)
  4. Metropolitan (Stillman, 1990)
  5. The Fellowship of the Ring (Jackson, 2001)

children of men

A.C. Gleason

Y’all are weird. At least Die Hard hasn’t come up yet.

  1. A Muppet Christmas Carol
  2. Charlie Brown Christmas – It’s not a movie, but whatever, the gospel has literally been preached to potentially billions of people through this weird little show.
  3. A Muppet Family Christmas
  4. A Christmas Story 
  5. Love Actually
  6. Cobra – This is for all the loonies who think every Shane Black film and Die Hard are Christmas movies. Cobra is amazing, and it takes place during Christmas.

A

Robert Brown

I’m going to play it safe and go with obvious Christmas titles:

  1. In place of It’s a Wonderful Life, another Jimmy Stewart classic with a third act set at Christmastime: The Shop Around the Corner (1940, dir. Ernst Lubitsch)
  2. White Christmas (1954, dir. Michael Curtiz)
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966, dir. Chuck Jones and Ben Washam) (Boris Karloff > Jim Carrey)  
  4. In place of A Charlie Brown Christmas, another animated holiday special about competing visions for the ideal Christmas pageant: VeggieTales’ The Star of Christmas (2002, dir. Tim Hodge)
  5. The Polar Express (2004, dir. Robert Zemeckis)

harry-hermione-deathly-hallows

Tom Upjohn

Here I come, swooping in for leftovers! Mine are arranged in no particular order.

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010, David Yates)
  2. The Giver (2014, Phillip Noyce)
  3. The Terminator (1984, James Cameron)
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, Henry Selick)
  5. Christmas in Connecticut (1945, Peter Godfrey)

Joshua Gibbs

Is no one going to say Morvern Callar?

a christmas story

William Connor Devlin

I generally find most Christmas films to be incredibly saccharine or terribly overwrought. Besides, Christmas in America has become a nightmarish consumerist parody – so far removed from being an actual religious holiday anymore, despite being the only religious holiday recognized by the federal government ironically.  So here are some wildly weird picks, the kind of things I love to watch every year in lieu of the straightforward stocking stuffers. In no particular order, and yes I’ll be double-dipping because I refuse to leave some of these out:
  1. Black Christmas (1973, dir. Bob Clark)
  2. Christmas Story (1983, dir. Bob Clark)
  3. Gremlins (1984, dir. Joe Dante)
  4. Eyes Wide Shut (1999, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  5. Carol (2015, dir. Todd Haynes)

Basically, Bob Clark has a stranglehold on Yuletide filmmaking. Go figure.

Oh yeah – Die Hard is a Christmas movie. And Morvern Callar is also pretty great.

Timothy Lawrence

A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at BIOLA University, Timothy Lawrence teaches great books through Emmaus Classical Academy in Southern California. He writes essays and fiction and counts the Coen Brothers and George Lucas among his personal heroes.

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