The Best Non-Christmas Movies to Watch on Christmas
Christian Casale recommends a few films to watch if you're not totally feeling the Christmas spirit.
Every year, after the first fifteen minutes of opening presents, everyone seems to once again remember that Christmas is our most overrated holiday.
After nearly a month of lead-up, you’d think that Christmas would have more to offer. And on a day when you’re off work and it’s probably too cold to do anything outside – staying in and watching a movie is your safest bet.
But you shouldn’t cave to the social pressure of feeling like you must watch a Christmas movie on Christmas. By a staggering majority, most films are not about Christmas. Yet for some reason, most people think that movies about the holidays are the best way to get in the spirit. I reject this. There are about four good Christmas movies, tops, that don’t star Will Ferrell.
On the big day, you shouldn’t limit yourself to choosing from a handful of movies that usually try to sell you on the premise that Santa is real. Instead, there are plenty of films out there that can get you in the Christmas spirit while still being a great watch.
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It’s Snowing Outside: Fargo
You what’s fun to do when it’s cold outside? Remind yourself how cold it is outside. One could make the argument that snow itself is the protagonist of this 1996 Coen Brothers classic.
It’s a film that lends itself to endless re-watching with a running time just under a hundred minutes, lovable characters who spout charming dialogue, and the lovely accents that you’ll be annoying your family with while you attempt to imitate them for the rest of the day Plus, any movie where someone is stuffed into a wood chipper must be watched at least once a year.
You Don’t Celebrate Christmas: Pulp Fiction
You know these people – the ones leading the side of evil in the War on Christmas. Whether you be a non-Christian or non-Religious, Christmas marks the finale of the songs on the radio and Santa commercials on TV that you couldn’t care less about.
But still – you’re off work, it’s cold outside, and all your friends are doing cool Christmas stuff. So, what’re you going to do? Well, it would only make sense that someone too cool for the holiday watch one of the coolest movies of all time. Pulp Fiction is a terrific way to kill two-and-half-hours – what with its many iconic lines and scenes, timeless setting, and unforgettable performances by nearly every member of the ensemble cast. You can enjoy your unconventional life choices by watching perhaps the most unconventional classic of all time.
You Know You’re Going to Fall Asleep: The Godfather (and Part Two)
After the hubbub of the first hour or two and things tend to settle down in the house – you might just want to put something on that you’ve seen a thousand times before and can enjoy before you start to catch up on the sleep your little brats interrupted you from.
Ergo: The Godfather
If you’re below the age of thirteen and above the age of thirty-eight, you’re going to fall asleep at some point while watching The Godfather. It’s just one of those inevitabilities in life.
For a lot of people, it’s a film that is so familiar that they won’t feel guilty for dozing off at some point during it’s nearly three-hour run time. Just make sure that when you do take your cat-nap, it’s during the first one – because The Godfather: Part Two is a better film.
You’re Alone: Groundhog Day
Spending Christmas alone is something that we all go through at least once. Movies aren’t like music, however, in that you typically use them to amplify whatever emotion you’re feeling in that moment. The best kind of movie to watch when you’re depressed or alone or both is one that is uplifting. And the most enjoyable movie that also happens to be inspiring is Groundhog Day.
It’s the movie that has been giving It’s A Wonderful Life a wedgie in the “stirring, poignant holiday movie” category since its release in 1993. Watching Bill Murray’s performance as a helpless weatherman having to re-live the same day over and over and over again almost gives us the feeling of looking into a mirror. He transforms, over what could be thousands of days, from an uncaring asshole to someone with an appreciation for his fellow man – whom he previously despised.
It’s a movie that can warm the heart of even the grumpiest cynic, and thus a great movie to watch while you’re alone, eating a Lean Cuisine, on the biggest holiday of the year.
You Wish You Were Alone: Moonrise Kingdom
Nothing makes one vie for the peace of solitude more than spending, like, eight minutes with their family. But you can’t let their annoying antics ruin Christmas for you, that’d be the holiday equivalent of letting the terrorists win.
A film that may help you gain a new appreciation for them is Moonrise Kingdom, the tale of two twelve-year-olds who run away together – and the families looking for them. Charming, funny, and full of heart; it also portrays how a dysfunctional family still loves and depends on one another.
You’re with Kids: Pixar
Kids ruin things – it’s kind of the only thing their good at. Savings accounts, marriages, lives, and especially holidays. So, if you’re not careful, they can ruin a movie for you too. Luckily, this is why Pixar exists. You think they make those movies for kids? No, Pixar specializes in creating films for adults that they can pretend they’re seeing for their kids.
The golden age begins with 1995’s Toy Story and ends with the release of Cars 2 in 2011 – a film that answers the question of “What if Quintin Tarantino drunkenly wrote a Pixar movie?” Any from that fifteen-year period, except for Inside Out, which is incredible and came out in 2015, will do.