The 100 best movies to enjoy as a family this Christmas. Part 2


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If your family tradition is simply, dine with your family at a traditional table or on the sofa, watching a movie marathon until the arrival of Santa, in this post you will find a ranking of the 100 best movies to celebrate on these dates. Well, his second part.

 The 100 best movies to enjoy as a family this Christmas. Part 2

49. Mixed Nuts

There’s nothing wrong with unbridled comedy if it’s in the right hands. Nora Ephron’s Mixed Nuts is pure lunacy pulled off by Steve Martin and a cast who’s ready to run the required race. Liev Schreiber deserved an Oscar for his transvestite dance moves.

48. Rare Exports

The Finnish people have an odd sense of humor. Only they would turn Santa into a demon creature who lives in the mountains and is bent on punishing little children and then turn around and make an exciting, multi-note film out of the concept.

47. While You Were Sleeping

A staple of early 2000s HBO programming, Sandra Bullock’s romantic comedy of mismatched coma victims is staged against Christmas, adding to the pressure surrounding the big reveal (the guy who was hit by a train isn’t her fiancé!).

46. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

The real gem of this rehash isn’t Sir Richard Attenborough or Mara Wilson, as good as they are. It’s Elizabeth Perkins, who adds wit and emotional damage to the mother character. Writer John Hughes is credited for many of the finest young adult scripts of the ’80s and ’90s, but the key was that he always nailed the parents.

45. The Man Who Came To Dinner

Before there was You, Me, and Dupree, before there was Sinbad’s Houseguest, there was The Man Who Came to Dinner. Monty Woolley plays a slimy radio personality who slips on some ice one Christmas and takes solace in a middle-class family’s home. Woolley is the best kind of scumbag in this one, and the hysteria of Christmas acts as an echo chamber to his maniacal ways.

44. Metropolitan

That first year you come home from college to see your high school friends and everyone’s different. That’s why Metropolitan, a cultural essay more than a Christmas-themed movie, belongs on this list.

43. The Lemon Drop Kid

Bob Hope is a riot as a con man raising cash during Christmas time by swindling Salvation Army donators. He nails it all: the quick wit, the physical comedy, the musical numbers (the movie introduced “Silver Bells”).

42. White Christmas

After 60 years, White Christmas, a musical scored by Irving Berlin, is fortified and tolerated as a Christmas classic. Will induce sleep if viewed after 6 P.M.

41. Scrooged

“What if David Cronenberg directed A Christmas Carol?” “He’s unavailable.” “We’ll get Richard Donner.” “Eh, doesn’t sound very enjoyable.” “OK, it’ll be funny because we’ll hire… Bill Murray!”

40. Holiday Affair

There are a lot of Christmas movies set in department stores. Perhaps because they were still shiny and new in the ’40s? Whatever the case, Holiday Affair is still a gem, Robert Mitchum playing a store clerk who loses his job for not outing a war widowed competitive shopper (Janet Leigh). Then they fall in love, because duh.

39. The Dead (1987)

Supposedly John Huston directed his final film while incapacitated — wheelchair, breathing tubes, the works. It doesn’t look like it. Based on a James Joyce short story and starring his daughter Angelica Huston, The Dead casts a haunting spell over the screen, turning Christmas dinner into scorching drama.

38. Black Christmas (1974)

Because everything was getting a bit too peachy come Christmastime, Bob Clark smothered the holiday in the gruesome terror of the ’70s slasher flick. You’ll want to remove that pointy star from the top of the tree after watching this one.

37. Bell, Book, and Candle

Witches have Christmas problems too, you know. Kim Novak stars as a sorceress who risks losing her powers after casting a love spell on one of her gallery patrons (Jimmy Stewart). The best thing about this movie is that Novak’s witch doesn’t get away with it. Failure is rare in the picture perfect scenery of ’50s rom-coms.

36. Arthur Christmas

Aardman Animation (Wallace & Gromit) took a stab at CG animation and did what few other studios can ever achieve: heart. Their take on modern Christmas saddles Santa with the concept of going back to the basics, with his son Arthur as the remaining North Poler who finds joy in the holiday event.

35. Trading Places

I’ll bet you $1 that there will never be a Christmas movie focused on Wall Street stock trading that’s as funny as this Eddie Murphy/Dan Ackroyd comedy.

34. Christmas in Connecticut

No, not the 1992, Arnold Schwarzenegger-directed remake. Never that. The ’45 original is a romp of criss-crossing relationships and deceit, which goes down at every Christmas gathering, whether you know it or not.

33. Bad Santa

This could have gone horribly wrong — who wants to see Santa turned into a boozin’ sex-aholic? But juxtaposing iconography only works to the benefit of this sad sack story, despicable and gleefully Grinchy.

32. A Christmas Carol (1951)

The no frills adaptation of Dickens’ story turned Alastair Sim into the definitive Ebenezer Scrooge. There’s a colorized version of the film out there in the world, completely inferior to the sharp black & white original.

31. Gremlins

What if your present turned to pure evil? All it takes is the mention that Gizmo and the Gremlins are Christmas gifts to ignite Joe Dante’s horror comedy with extra layer of flavor. There’s never been an anti-materialism parable quite like this.

30. Love Actually

Little known fact: Richard Curtis’ Crash-esque Christmas romance can actually be tapped for syrup. It’s that sappy. And it’s impossible to turn off.

29. We’re No Angels

One of Humphrey Bogart’s few comedies, We’re No Angels has a modern rhythm to it that would woo even those turned off by “old” movies (yes, they exist). It’s a banter-fest as three escaped convicts learn to be nice guys once again.

28. Meet Me in St. Louis

Judy Garland debuted the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in this romantic musical, which is just as much a love letter to the World’s Fair as it is about men and women hooking up. Lame plotting aside, Garland is dazzling in the musical numbers and that’s what really counts.

27. Eyes Wide Shut

Christmas can be intoxicating, even without endless amounts of alcohol. Stanley Kubrick captures the holiday’s mesmerizing ambiance in Eyes Wide Shut, a sexual odyssey fueled by desire and passion that all seems to stem from the December atmosphere.

26. 8 Women

Eight women, one murder, a house in the middle of nowhere. Swimming Pool director François Ozon delivers a musical Christmas version of Clue that’s every bit as zany as one would hope.

25. The Santa Clause

Santa Clause preys on Tim Allen’s history of “masculinity.” It takes his persona — too straight and narrow to ever believe in Christmas magic — and fluffs it up. There have likely been dissertations written on the choice to make the Jewish David Krumholtz Santa’s #2, Bernard the Elf.

24. The Holly and The Ivy

There’s melancholia woven into the fabric of Christmas. For every person returning home to their loved ones, there’s another who won’t. The Holly and the Ivy captures that darkness. A family reunion unearths grief and, eventually, understanding.

23. The Bishop’s Wife

The Whitney Houston remake The Preacher’s Wife is OK, but the Cary Grant/Loretta Young/David Niven original is the right kind of Christian-themed Christmas story. It’s one where Godly forces can’t provide, because in the end, angels are still human. That’s provocative – and easy to swallow with its cheery casing.

22. The Shop Around the Corner

Ernst Lubitsch’s romantic comedy is a legitimately tense experience. We see Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart bickering with one another, knowing full well that they’re in love with each other. It’s a rom-com with stakes; will they actually get together? A question we never ask in the modern age.

21. The Apartment

Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is rarely remembered for its Christmastime setting. The holiday looms in the background behind the down-on-his-luck Bud Baxter (Jack Lemmon), but it’s essential to why he’s able to change his life in the end.

20. A Christmas Tale

Family comedies arrive by the truckload during the holidays, but how rarely we find one that’s reflective of real life get-togethers — frantic, grim, and even affirming.

19. Meet John Doe

Frank Capra can get away with anything — even a holiday-themed suicide movie. After penning a fake suicide note for the paper, a reporter searches for a John Doe to stand-in as the letter’s author. He becomes a phenomenon as a man preaching in the name of the downtrodden — a 99%-er before that was even a thing.

18. Die Hard

The legacy of John McClane may be sullied by lame sequels, but his rampage through Nakatomi Plaza continues to kick ass and act as the perfect metaphor for the season. Christmas music plays, terrorists invade, and it all begins to feel a little like a family gathering.

17. Joyeux Noël

Stretch that stirring battlefield truce scene from War Horse over two hours and you have the heartbreaking Christmas tale Joyeux Noël. French, Scottish and German soldiers during World War I put down their guns for one night, just like you and your Republican cousins.

16. Remember the Night

This Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray romantic drama from 1940 is almost like 25th Hour, but with shoplifting and Christmas decorations. Stanwyck’s character is inevitably going to jail, but her case has been postponed for Christmas. So MacMurray takes her and, without too much sentimentality, falls for her.

15. Elf

Only Will Ferrell, the master of manchildren, could create a character in the post-9/11 world with the earnestness to carry a Christmas movie. As goofy as Elf is, it’s a delicate stunt to pull off and deserves the title of “modern classic.”

14. A Christmas Carol (1938)

It’s possible that this 75-year-old adaptation is more entertaining than it was back ’38. The imperfect black & white and archaic stylings play directly into the Scrooge character. He’s crotchety and the movie is kind of crotchety. The transportive quality is there — and it may not have upon its first release.

13. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

It’s time to stop calling the animated adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ Christmas story a “TV special.” Looney Tunes had a Christmas special. Garfield had a Christmas special. Grinch is a special film, and Whos down in Whoville would agree that it’s a vital part of the holiday, especially in the current age of snark.

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Let’s clear this up: This is not a Halloween movie. It’s about conformist Halloweeners breaking free of their chains to celebrate Christmas. Tim Burton and Henry Selick’s macabre stop-motion film continues to be unique (and a top Hot Topic seller) 20 years later – and for good reason.

11. Frosty the Snowman

We’re undoing Christmas cultural foundations here: The Rankin & Bass “specials” are also films, animated shorts that have burned images of carol characters into our collective consciousness. Jackie Vernon turned Frosty into one of the most gosh darn lovable anthropomorphic creepsters in movie history. He might be a grown man who hangs out with children, but we love him.

10. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Because it’s the first of the Peanuts cartoons, Charlie Brown Christmas also deserves “short film” recognition. Even if religion doesn’t factor into your Christmas, Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy and the rest of the gang’s realization of the over-commercialization of the holiday serves as a timeless lesson melodically enhance by the Vince Guardaldi Trio. As an important adult once put it, “WAH WAH WAH WAH WAMP WAH.”

9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Christmas is filled with joy and it’s filled with nightmares. The third sequel to Vacation explores the latter. It’s pitch perfect. The uproarious sewer explosion is something we all now wish on our most annoying family members. “Merry Christmas, the shitter’s full!”

8. A Christmas Story

Don’t hate this movie because TBS insists on playing the movie for 24 hours straight. The cavalcade of familial horrors — that leg lamp, man — are still as punchy as ever. Being a kid sucks. A Christmas Story makes remembering that fact all OK.

7. Holiday Inn

Before Irving Berlin repurposed “White Christmas” for the movie of the same name, it debuted in Holiday Inn, a musical romp that hits all its major beats on Christmas. The stars aligned for Holiday Inn, with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire showing off their skills in full force.

6. Home Alone

Is it wrong that I still want to live a weekend by myself, Home Alone-style? Macaulay Culkin got his Christmas wish, eating ice cream and watching gangster movies while his parents lost their minds trying to get home over the holiday. It became our fantasy. Though the climax is what sells the movie — the epic Rube Goldberg death match between Kevin and the Wet Bandits — but every moment entertains. Kevin’s preparation for the showdown set to “Carol of the Bells” is iconic.

5. Babes in Toyland (1934)

Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s adventure through the fantasy world of Toyland may be one of the most uproarious movies of all time, Christmas-themed or not. You could plop the duo in a Judd Apatow movie today and their comedy would click — they’re that universal. Surrounding them is pure imagination, with costumes and sets ranging from horrifying to goofy. Laurel and Hardy at the top of their game.

4. It’s a Wonderful Life

Many will say the Frank Capra classic is too far down on the list, even at #4. The truth is, the redemptive story of George Bailey (James Stewart) is a great movie, not a brilliant movie. It takes it’s merry ol’ time getting to the juicy stuff, but when Bailey meets Clarence the Angel, the whirlwind of feelings begins.

3. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Though Rudolph’s nose squeak is among the most heinous noises ever committed to film, the Rankin & Bass stop-motion cartoon is heartwarming, cheerful, and downright bizarre. I don’t know what recreational substances helped someone throw a dentist elf, misfit toys, and Burl Ives into one movie, but they did it and we’re grateful.

2. The Muppet Christmas Carol

The holidays are all about dropping cynicism to relish in the mushier spectrum of human emotion. The Muppets were born from those feelings. Pitting them against Michael Caine’s Scrooge, who never misses a cue when talking down to his felt costars, reinvents the time-honored classic. The music by Paul Williams and the framework of Gonzo as Dickens is pure magic. Despite being lauded by Christmas movie fanatics, Muppet Christmas Carol is still underappreciated.

1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

There’s nothing like the original. The ’47 Miracle has the court room gravitas of 12 Angry Men, the otherworldliness of It’s a Wonderful Life, and manages to turn Santa into a humanistic star. It’s Christmas on trial and the holiday spirit prevails — could there be a better message?

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