IF there’s one thing you can rely on from a Christmas movie, it’s a happy ending, and if ever a year cried out for a happy ending, it’s 2020.
So let’s make this Christmas nicer. Once we’ve got the shopping done, the turkey sorted and the fairylights arranged so they’re just short of full-on Blackpool illuminations, what we need is some well-deserved sofa time and a viewing list of reliably feelgood, laugh out loud, blub into your hankie films.
With super reliable Sky Broadband Superfast, why not break out the mince pies and stream your pick of our fabulously festive favourites? Happy viewing, and happy Christmas!
Of course It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is a must-see, but top of the list for reliable trad Christmas vibes has to be the OG, Mr Charles Dickens. Any adaptation of Dickens’ 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol, can summon a Yuletide mood. Of course, it’s really a ghost story, and for our money the 1951 black-and-white version with Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge tells it best. Still, there are a couple of mighty fine modern updates worth checking out: Bill Murray as a bah-humbug TV executive in Scrooged (1988), and Michael Caine singing with puppets in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992). Some people claim the Muppet version is the best yet, and anything with singing pigs gets our vote.
Modern Christmas comedies
Your time is precious, so you want reliable movie choices that’ll hit the spot – raise a giggle and perhaps offer the cinematic equivalent of a great big hug. Look no further than Home Alone (1990). When Kevin is left stranded by his stressed-out parents, who forget to take him with them on the family Christmas trip, the little boy (Macaulay Culkin) has to use all his resourcefulness to deal with a couple of burglars. Happily, outfoxing the incompetent thieves (played to panto perfection by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) turns out to be child’s play. So sit back and enjoy the mayhem Macaulay unleashes on the half-witted home invaders.
And if it’s laughs, romance and tears you’re after, you know it’s got to be Love Actually (2003), courtesy of Richard RomCom Curtis. Also unexpectedly effective in the mushy feelings stakes is the fantastically inventive stop-motion fable The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), with brilliant songs from Danny Elfman performed by a cast of sock-monsters and singing skeletons.
We’re feeling warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.
Santa is real
As if you ever doubted it! Let’s face it, we’re all relying on the guy in red to raise our spirits, so it’s only fair to let him steal a little of the Christmas movie limelight. In The Santa Clause (1994), Tim Allen discovers that he is contractually obliged to take over from the late Mr Claus, and spends a year feeling helpless as a white beard sprouts from his face and his body fattens itself up ready for Christmas. And who hasn’t been there?
Meanwhile, in the utterly charming Elf (2003), Will Ferrell tries to come to terms with life as a human after being accidentally abducted and adopted by Santa as a baby. If you like to end a Christmas film with a song in your heart and a tear in your eye, try Aardman’s Arthur Christmas (2011) – deliciously packed with just as much goodwill to all men as Miracle on 34th Street (1947), but with more laughs in between.
And when the kids are in bed…
Are there times over the holiday when you rely on grabbing a bit of grown-up downtime? If you have a four-year-old who’s likely to wake you at 5am with their freshly unwrapped toy drum on Christmas Day, we suspect that’s a “yes” from you.
In that small window between the kids going to sleep and you dozing off in your armchair, check out these romps – all reliably naughty and nice. Putting the X into Xmas is Bad Santa (2003), with Billy Bob Thornton as a hard-drinking, womanizing criminal who, once a year, gets a job as a department store St Nick and, with the help of his “elf” sidekick (Tony Cox), spends Christmas Eve raiding the mall. Shocking behaviour! Then there’s Gremlins (1984), with its gory kitchen battle, revenge on a Scrooge-like old lady, a town overrun by furry felons and a lesson to us all that a mogwai probably isn’t the best Christmas present. And finally Die Hard (1988) – an action movie to blast the tinsel off your tree. An NYPD cop (Bruce Willis) gets caught up in an explosive face off with arch baddie Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, in his big-screen début) after Willis’s attempts to patch up his marriage get tangled in the wildest office-party-gone-wrong imaginable. Yippee ki-yay, Santa-mucker.
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