Well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And, as such, the same crop of Christmas movies will again start to roll out on our small screens.
I mean, the likes of Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, Elf, and Die Hard (yes, it is a Christmas movie) are great but what about all those great Yuletide flicks that have fallen by the wayside or flown under Santa’s radar?
Well, we here at NL love a good Christmas movie so, in that spirit, here are a few that don’t get as much love as the above, and that we reckon will have you saying “deck the halls” in no time.
1. Scrooged (1988)
This hilarious retelling of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is still among Bill Murray’s finest work – aside from Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, of course.
Here, Murray plays cynical and jaded TV exec Frank Cross who, after proving himself to be Grinchier than, well The Grinch, is visited by three ghosts – Christmas Past, Present, and Future – in an effort to remind Frank the true reason for the season.
Yes, you all know the story, but the genius here is in Murray’s madcappery makes for the perfect updating of Ebeneezer Scrooge. Also, a supporting cast featuring Robert Mitchum, Carol Kane, Bobcat Goldthwait and Jamie Farr (you know,, Klinger from M.A.S.H) elevates this way above the schmaltzy fodder we’re usually served in December.
2, Joyeux Noel (2005)
If you’re looking for a bit of emotional gravitas in your Christmas flicks, then look no further than this brilliant WWI Christmas drama.
The story is set on the Western Front in 1914 where, on Christmas Eve, sections of the front called for an unauthorised truce where battle-weary soldiers from both sides met each other peacefully in No Man’s Land to share a moment of peace amid the madness.
This truly moving film won a Best Foreign Film Oscar and it’s not hard to see why. Just remember to bring the tissues.
3, Mixed Nuts (1994)
Steve Martin is one of those rare actors whose body of work is almost completely devoid of stinkers (well, except for those two Cheaper By The Dozen flicks…pee-ew!)
And this 1994 Yuletide comedy, written and directed by the Queen of the rom-com Norah Ephron, is one of the most underrated in the Martin canon.
Mixed Nuts focuses on Philip (Martin) who runs a crisis hotline with Mrs Munchnik (Madeline Kahn) and Catherine (Rita Wilson). On Christmas Eve, Phillip learns that the hotline’s nasty landlord (the late, great Garry Shandling) is evicting them. If that wasn’t bad enough, many of the hotline’s callers start dropping in, adding to the confusion and making this a Christmas farce to remember.
Aside from Martin, this flick has a stellar supporting cast including Liev Schreiber, Juliette Lewis, Rob Reiner, Adam Sandler, Jon Stewart, and Anthony LaPaglia.
While it never reaches the same dizzying comedic heights as The Jerk or The Man With Two Brains, Mixed Nuts is a great Christmas time distraction.
4, Nativity (2009)
If you’re looking for a feelgood Christmas flick for the whole family that will leave you with the warm and fuzzies, this relatively obscure British feature should do the trick
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) stars as a Christmas hating, and secretly heartbroken teacher who is roped into staging the school’s annual Nativity play.
It’s already bad enough that he is competing with the posh rival school for the bragging rights of being the best reviewed show in town but when he lies that his ex, a Hollywood producer, is coming to watch the play with a view to turning it into a film, the stakes are well and truly raised.