The week after Christmas is the best time to watch holiday movies since we are all done with our shopping and travelling, kids are still off of school, and many of us have some time off before New Year’s. If you are looking for some great holiday movies to enjoy beyond the standard Rudolph, Frosty, and It’s a Wonderful Life, here are a few fun films to remember, including many films for adults, mostly featuring dysfunctional families and often teaching life lessons involving the Christmas spirit.
Elf (PG) – Fun for the whole family, Jon Favreau’s Elf is one of the best Christmas movies ever made. Buddy (Will Ferrell) was adopted by an elf (Bob Newhart), but he longs to meet his real father (James Caan) in New York. It is innocent fun. [playing twice on Dec. 27 on Oxygen]
The Family Man (PG-13) – Nicolas Cage stars as selfish Jack, a man that is given the opportunity to see what his life might have been like had he settled down with his ex (Tea Leoni). He learns to appreciate the little things in life.
The Family Stone (PG-13) – An all-star cast provides a very dysfunctional yet endearing family. Everett (Dermot Mulroney) brings his uptight girlfriend Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) home to meet his free-spirited family. Chaos ensues when his mother (Diane Keaton) doesn’t think Meredith is right for Everett and the rest of the family makes it harder.
Finding Neverland (PG) – Okay, it is not a holiday film, but Finding Neverland is a great movie to watch during the holidays. It celebrates the magic of imagination and sharing our lives with the ones we love. James Barrie (Johnny Depp) is inspired to write “Peter Pan” by his interactions with the children of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet).
Home for the Holidays (PG-13) – Jodie Foster directed this Thanksgiving family film starring Holly Hunter as a recently fired woman heading home to visit her unique family. Her parents are played by Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning, her brother is Robert Downey Jr., and her aunt is Geraldine Chaplin. What isn’t to love?
Jack Frost – The animated movie from 1979 is just as good as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but no one ever remembers it. Jack Frost becomes human to be close to his love but realizes that he can only help the ones he loves by being his true form.
Love Actually (R) – An enormous all-star cast features many stories about love in London during the last few weeks before Christmas. Stars include Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant and many more.
The Ref (R) – You must enjoy Denis Leary to like this film. Leary is a burglar that takes a couple (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) hostage during a heist on Christmas Eve. Their bickering begins to drive him crazy.
Scrooged (PG-13) – A retelling of A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray’s Frank is haunted by three ghosts to teach him the spirit of Christmas.
An Honorable Mention:
Die Hard (R) – It might not be the best representation of the holiday spirit, but it is one of the best action movies and it’s set during Christmas. Win win. [available on Netflix’s instant watch]
All movies mentioned above are available on DVD through Netflix.