The 100 best movies to enjoy as a family this Christmas. Part 1


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

The 100 best movies to enjoy as a family this Christmas. Part 1

100. All I Want for Christmas

It’s like House Arrest, but with all of the charm replaced by tinsel. Not based on the Mariah Carey song (but maybe it would have been better if it had been?). Worth one viewing for Leslie Nielsen as “Santa.”

99. Christmas with the Kranks

Awful people celebrate Christmas too, you know! Based on a novel by John Grisham, the quality of this Tim Allen/Jamie Lee Curtis comedy depends mostly on one’s tolerance for oafish comedy and the manufactured elements of the holiday.

98. Santa with Muscles

Starring Hulk Hogan as a millioniare-bodybuilder-turned-amnesiac-mall-Santa-crime-fighter, Santa with Muscles is a bonkers Christmas adventure that might have been better as a Yahoo Serious vehicle. Maybe.

97. Fred Claus

Meet the Parents director David Dobkins throws millions at the screen to bring Santa’s workshop to life, even recruiting the perfect modern actor, Paul Giamatti, to the play the big guy. And then Vince Vaughn shows up to be a cynical asshole and ruin it.

96. Four Christmases

Oh hey, another Vince Vaughn Christmas movie feels more like a chore for the holiday completist than a dose of cheer. Four Christmases is Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama act transplanted to December and loaded with stars (Dwight Yoakam!) and yet, it’s a total bust. Vince Vaughn may not be cut out for the “nice” list.

95. Santa Claus: The Movie

This movie sounds like gold on paper: A Santa Claus mythos story decorated like the Superman franchise. The film has the sheen of the superheroic franchise, but little of the heart.

94. The Family Man

Brett Ratner teams up with Nicolas Cage for his own twist on the It’s a Wonderful Life model. Saccharine beyond comprehension and a gingerbread cookie cutter script makes this acceptable, but never required holiday viewing.

93. The Perfect Holiday

Dredged from the bottom of the generic romantic comedy gutter, Morris Chestnut plays an aspiring musician working as a mall Santa who falls for Gabrielle Union. That’s it. There are angels, to ensure the Christmas stamp of approval.

92. Santa’s Slay

After 1,000 years of delivering presents, a disgruntled Santa goes postal. The 2005 movie opens with the subversive notion of Kris Kringle murdering Jews and spirals down from there. Just not as weird as it could have been, oddly enough.

91. I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Better appreciated as a relic of the Jonathan Taylor Thomas era than as a holiday treat, Disney’s Christmas road movie offers the right kind of silliness for early December viewing (before the hardcore marathoning begins). Who doesn’t love the Santa 5K?

90. Jack Frost

A magical harmonica brings rock star Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) back from the dead to inhabit the body of a snowman. Which is creepy as all hell — and a little sweet.

89. The Nativity Story

From the director of Twilight comes the greatest, and most repeated, story ever told. Catherine Hardwicke’s version of the Nativity is a little on the ho-hum side, straightforward and glossy, but her Thirteen instincts have her playing up the “teen pregnancy” angle, making the film palatable in the modern age.

88. Santa Claus (1959)

A terrible movie that swings back into good graces for going the extra mile. Like a dream induced by old fruitcake, Santa Claus follows the titular character as he battles Lucifer to win back the love of Mexican children. That it became one of the highlights of Mystery Science Theater 3000 should tell you something.

87. The Nutcracker (1993)

George Balanchine’s Nutcracker ballet is a treasured work of holiday culture. The movie version starring Macaulay Culkin is not.

86. A Christmas Carol (2009)

Thanks to the magic of motion capture animation, Jim Carrey was able to play Ebenezer Scrooge at every age and all three of the visiting Ghosts. That didn’t really add anything, but it’s fun to say that. The highlight here is the film’s frightening tone. Director Robert Zemeckis wanted to turn the spirit-filled tale into a certified ghost story.

87. Prancer

The sad part about Prancer is that if a little ginger girl really started whining about how she had a flying reindeer in the barn, everyone would brush her off. Super annoying. Prancer aims for the E.T. magic and woefully misses the mark, enough to earn it some nostalgia points.

86. Surviving Christmas

The not-as-awful-as-they-say-but-still-kinda-stupid Christmas movie from 2004 piles on way too many lame gags, but a genuine relationship breaks through. Ben Affleck and James Gandolfini are good fun as a wayward Christmas hater and his stand-in father figure. It’s sadistic and ugly, but at least it’s going for something.

85. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Pure yuletide shlock that’s completely unaware of its ineptitude. Santa is kidnapped by Martians, meets a flailing robot (clearly made of cardboard boxes), and teaches the Martians how to hold their own Christmas. Great for those eggnog-fueled evenings that blow past 2 a.m.

84. Angels Sing

Harry Connick Jr. emits a strange aura capable of transmuting the horrors found in ABC Family movies into watchable melodramatic, corny fluff. Angels Sing pairs Connick Jr. with the likes of Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson for a film that’s basically a warm and fuzzy group sing in movie form (while also including a sing-a-long scene).

83. Friday After Next

Craig (Ice Cube) and Day-Day (Mike Epps) returned for a third Friday movie that was almost exactly like the other two Friday movies except it took place during Christmas. Some criminal activity, some major partying, some wacky antics around the neighborhood. Standard issue and watchable.

80. Jingle All the Way

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s holiday entry seemed like a ridiculous farce in 1996. “Shopping would never get that crazy!” Wrong. Like a fine wine, time transformed Jingle All the Way into a frightening reflection of modern consumerism complete with the walking, talking Anakin Skywalker action figure.

79. Bush Christmas

This Australian film is cut from the Disney cloth — think Swiss Family Robinson or Homeward Bound. It has very little do with Christmas and lots to do with rescuing horses from mean ol’ thieves. Which, turns out, is pretty fun in the Australian outback.

78. The Holiday

A Christmas movie was inevitable for “white people problems” connoisseur Nancy Meyers. The fact that she tapped the holidays to draw out one of Jack Black’s best (and undervalued) performances is the real surprise.

77. Lethal Weapon

Great buddy comedy, pretty good Christmas movie. There isn’t a ton of Christmas cheer in Richard Donner’s whacked out (read: costarring Gary Busey) action flick, but kicking things off with “Jingle Bell Rock” sets the mood just right.

76. Babes in Toyland (1961)

A Technicolor update to the 1934 film, fit snuggly into the Disney musical mold. The late Annette Funicello stars in the Babes remake, that feels more like a testing ground for Mary Poppins or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang then it’s own spectacle.

75. Ernest Saves Christmas

You’re either in or your out when it comes to Jim Varney’s bumbling, yokel funnyman Ernest P. Worrell. He’s dumb, but loving — the perfect Christmas movie character. Here, he saves the day for Santa.

74. Beyond Tomorrow

One Christmas Eve, three businessmen decide to see what happens when they throw their wallets out the window. A nice gal returns it, earning their admiration. They later die, return as ghosts, and help her fall in love and – oh my god this movie is weird.

73. It Happened On 5th Avenue

The story of a millionaire family who discovers a homeless person living in their Fifth Avenue pad. Unbelievable by today’s standards, where the vagrant would be arrested and hauled away to prison for all eternity. Times change, but that gives makes this movie pleasantly goofy.

72. Reindeer Games

John Frankenheimer’s final film is a twisty, turny journey down holiday road, with a manic Ben Affleck in the driver’s seat. Full of weird angles, snappy language, and sadistic humor, the movie has gone unappreciated since it debuted to horrid reviews in 2000.

71. The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs Clause

Progressive thinking has never been one of Christmas movies’ strongest suits, so it’s no surprise the sequel to Tim Allen’s Santa Clause involved the ticking-clock search for a Mrs. But the film is a sweet romance between Allen and Elizabeth Mitchell, so the archaic thinking is easy to overlook.

70. Trapped in Paradise

Christmas cheer has a gravitation force. In Trapped in Paradise, bank robbing brothers, Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz, and Dana Carvey, can’t escape it’s power. It’s almost like Groundhog Day minus the supernatural element and even more holidayisms.

69. Unaccompanied Minors

Based on a This American Life segment, pre-Bridesmaids Paul Feig wrote and directed this holiday movie about a group of kids trapped in an airport. Hijinks and bonding ensue.

68. The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t

Collide Goodbye, Mr. Chips with the shows of Sid & Marty Kroft and out comes The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t, an Italian-produced musical romp. What separates this movie from the imitators is its baddie, played by Italian director Rossano Brazzi (oddly, the nice guy star, Paul Tripp, wrote the movie). He could be just another Christmas-hating businessman, but he opts for a more Snidely Whiplash approach.

67. The Polar Express

Despite soulless characters who look like walking, talking mall mannequins, Robert Zemecki’s foray into motion capture animation is a whirlwind of imagination. Defying physics is the name of the game, while the artwork of illustrator/writer Chris Van Allsburg gives the movie a glowing appearance.

66. Just Friends

Best known for putting Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit, this easily thrown away romantic comedy hides hometown charm underneath its slapsticky gift wrap (although that’s fun too). Evidence that Reynolds and Anna Faris should costar in every movie together.

65. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon, returns with another Christmas-ish movie, this time a meta-noir starring the quick-witted Robert Downey Jr.. Instead of fueling the plot, Christmas drives the action — RDJ even does a bit of “shopping” early on.

64. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Before the days of motion capture, Ron Howard padded Jim Carrey with actual makeup to play Dr. Seuss’ furry, green bastard. It’s an ideal role for Carrey, whose bravado can prevail through the Seussian facade. Howard doesn’t have anything new to add, but seeing it realized is a wonder all its own.

63. One Magic Christmas

The movie that made everyone wish Harry Dean Stanton was their guardian angel. Mary Steenburgen stars as a working class woman who loses her faith (OK, “Christmas spirit”) and revives it Christmas Carol-style. Or with the help of Santa, because it is a Disney movie, after all.

62. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Fact: Mickey’s Christmas Carol was nominated for the animated short film Oscar in 1983. And it’s simply okay! I guess the folks at Disney felt they needed to embrace the Ebeneezer Scrooge/Scrooge McDuck crossover at some point.

61. About a Boy

A wry coming-of-age tale that remains one of Hugh Grant’s few non-rom-com roles. About a Boy is quite touching amidst its Christmas backdrop, but works even more successfully as a launching pad for Badly Drawn Boy’s holiday soundtrack.

60. Batman Returns

As if Bruce Wayne’s life wasn’t tortured enough, masochist Tim Burton posited how the superheroic millionaire would feel during Christmas. Or perhaps the snowy holiday was a quick way to enliven the gothic production design. Either way, audiences won.

59. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

It’s a Christmas miracle that a third Harold & Kumar is remotely watchable, let alone wildly entertaining. Why has Waffle-bot still not received a spin-off?

58. Susan Slept Here

The ’50s: When a romantic comedy about an Academy Award-winning screenwriter falling in love with a 17-year-old vagrant put under house arrest in his swinging pad was perfectly socially acceptable. A sweet, Christmas love story for those who can look past the creepy twist.

57. The Family Stone

If The Family Stone is basically a Lars von Trier movie without the NC-17 moments of intimacy or genitalia mutilation. A family’s worth — Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Claire Danes, Rachel McAdams — of life problems explode during the holidays. Even the deaf gay brother is all too believable.

56. The Best Man Holiday

A shockingly enjoyable sequel to the 1999 dramedy The Best Man wrangles the entire cast back for a hard R-rated holiday weekend. There’s weed smoking, sex talk, terminal illness, and football. The movie does not skimp on the melodrama and it shouldn’t — it’s Christmas, after all.

55. Scrooge (1970)

Albert Finney sings and dances through the timeless Christmas story. His Ebenezer sings a song called “I Hate People” which everyone should learn the lyrics to in time for this year’s Christmas dinner.

54. The Ref

You know who should have played the live-action Grinch? Dennis Leary. Fans of the raucous comedian can cherish The Ref, that dilutes Leary enough to teach his robber character a Christmas lesson.

53. 3 Godfathers

John Wayne plays one of the Three Wise Men in one of the few, respectable Christmas Westerns. John Ford brings the same grandiose touch to carols as he does shoot-outs and this is the rare movie features both.

52. Comfort and Joy

Bill Forsyth’s cheeky Scottish comedy follows a radio DJ caught in the middle of an ice cream truck turf war. Zany sounding? Star Bill Patterson keeps his cool while Forsyth implodes the world around him. It’s a Very Murphy’s Law Christmas.

51. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Setting a Home Alone sequel anywhere but home sounds like an awful idea. Yet New York, a bustling Christmas metropolis, plays directly into everything that worked in the first movie. Toy shops and frightening old people and apartments that are so run down, they’re basically booby trapped already.

50. The Little Drummer Boy

One of the few Bible-inspired Rankin & Bass films, The Little Drummer Boy tells the story of the Nativity from the perspective of the titular character. The film revealed the question everyone was dying to know: What was the Little Drummer Boy doing before he met Jesus?

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