Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Chrismukkah, and of course, Happy Festivus!
The holiday season is upon us. That means lots of apple pie, egg nog, Mariah Carey, and Christmas movies! I like to think of myself as a bit of a Christmas Connoisseur in the film department. I’ve found these gems while weeding through Hallmark Hell and Straight-To-DVD Sludge. Because, really, how many times can you watch Ralphie get his gun without wanting to shoot your own eye out? These are some really good alternatives if your holidays are looking like holidon’ts.
And here we go. . .
5. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Kicking off this list is a Hallmark Channel goodie. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is about a single mom (Brooke Burns) whose Christmas spirit has taken a holiday. At Christmastime, her uncle (Henry Winkler) comes to visit her and the kids, but he’s not alone. He brings with him a charming young chef he meets at the airport. While mom’s busy trying to make the holidays “work”, her unexpected guest ends up cooking up some holiday magic (had to do it!)
It’s a simple charmer with a good cast. Hallmark movies tend to be hit or miss these days, but this one from 2008 ends up hitting the mark. Gather the family together and enjoy!
4. 12 Men of Christmas
Nothing says Christmas cheer like Kristin Chenoweth. In this movie, she plays an ad executive who, after being fired, chooses a job in Montana to help bring corporate retreats there. She helps compile a calendar of all of the hot men in the town as a fundraiser and ends up finding a “date” or two she really likes (did it again!). Maybe one of them is her soul-mate? She’s got a 1 in 12 shot. Not bad odds. Regardless, this city girl comes to realize that a little country town, and all the people in it, can feel like home. You just have to give people a chance.
It’s a sweet, sparkling Christmas movie that is led, and improved, by simply having Chenoweth at the reigns. Her spunkiness shines like the Christmas lights on your tree, covering everything she touches in a brilliant light. May it add a little spark to your holiday season.
3. Borrowed Hearts
Starring Will and Grace‘s Eric McCormack, this is a tender romance that is so warm, it may just make up for not having a fireplace. Okay, if you’re freezing, this DVD is not all of a sudden going to provide you with heat (unless you burn it), but it may just warm the cockles of your heart (last time, I swear!) Borrowed Hearts centers on a mother and daughter who pretend to be the family of a wealthy man so that he can make a deal with a client and they can have a home for the holidays.
Believe me, it’s not as harsh as it sounds. When love is in air, all bets are off. It’s a charming, feel-good love story that makes me giddy thinking about it. No doubt I’m watching it again this year.
2. On the Second Day of Christmas
Ever heard of this one, guys? Well, for Mark Ruffalo completionists, it’s a must-watch. Sadly, it comes in this dumb DVD case that doesn’t tell you anything about the movie nor does it feature any of the stars. It’s about a thief (Mary Stuart Masterson) and her niece who are caught stealing from a department store. The security guard (the Ruff-man) catches her in the act, but rather than give them over to social services, he decides to be their “guardian” and watch over them for the holidays.
Is it corny? Yes. Super corny. Big corn-on-the-cob corny. But, it’s sweet, fun, warm-hearted and stars the Hulk. Can’t go wrong there.
- Coopers’ Christmas
I’ve given you a lot of cheesy romances up until this point, but that trend ends now. If you like your Christmas with a side of raunch, then you’ve found the holy grail. This is a twisted little film from the minds of The Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee and Jason Jones. It’s set in the 80s, and surprisingly, it’s unpolitical. It’s also untasteful. The family is sick, demented, and so very, very, wrong. But sometimes, you got to be a little naughty for Christmas, right?
I like to call it Christmas Vacation on steroids. You even have a Cousin Eddie-type character (i.e. the guy holding the gasoline on the cover.) But believe me, you really don’t want this guy going near you with a ten-foot pole. Or any other character for that matter. And then, of course, there’s the great thespian Dave Foley in a funny bit part that is the topper on this raunchy little Christmas tree. It will make you rethink watching the family’s old home movies. FOREVER!
So get ready for a bellyful of laughs! Dirty, dirty laughs!
There you have it. What are your favorite underrated Christmas movies? Tell me in the comments.
I wish you good cheer and hope your holidays are fun and fulfilling, not frustrating.