10 Movies You Have To Watch This Holiday Season

Above: 10 of our favourite movies to watch during the holidays

Everyone has their favourite Christmas movie.

Some prefer the classics, others enjoy newer fare and then there are those who claim Die Hard is the best Christmas movie of all-time. Unfortunately for that segment of the population, John McClane didn’t make this list – not because we’re not fans, but when you start sifting through all the outstanding holiday options available for your viewing pleasure, it’s hard to include Bruce Willis and Hans Gruber shooting up the Nakatomi Plaza.

Here’s a look at 10 movies that you need to watch this holiday season.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Classic. Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. “Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.” If you watch anything this holiday season, Frank Capra’s vintage gem should be at the top of your list.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

This is one of those movies that is on in heavy rotation during the holidays that almost everyone either watches in full or in part at least once. There is something about the disastrous Griswold Christmas that makes all the chaos in your own life a little more tolerable. Hopefully there are no squirrels in your tree and you get more than a membership the Jelly of the Month club this year.

Trading Places (1983)

Dan Akroyd, the managing director of a commodities brokerage, and Eddie Murphy, a street hustler named Billy Ray Valentine, switch places in a riff on The Prince and The Pauper. This was Akroyd and Murphy during their prime years and Trading Places holds up as one of Murphy’s best performances 30-something years later. The fact that everything takes place in and around Christmas makes it suitable for watching at this time of year.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

This one has been remade a couple of times – once for TV and once for theatres – and remains on the short list of holiday favourites. The winner of five Academy Awards, this tale about a man named Kris Kringle and whether or not Santa Claus really exists provides that warm, fuzzy feeling most people look for in holiday films.

Bad Santa (2003)

And then there is Billy Bob Thornton’s department store Santa/conman who gives you an altogether different feeling, one that leaves you feeling like you need a shower. That being said, it’s called Bad Santa, so what did you expect? Lauren Graham shines as Sue and you have to love “The Kid,” played by Brett Kelly, but ultimately, this is a standout performance from Thornton and his partner-in-crime Tony Cox that is worth the watch if you’re in the mood from something unsavoury during the holidays.

A Christmas Story (1983)

Who doesn’t love Ralphie and his passionate pleas for a Red Ryder Carbine action, 200 shot, range model air rifle. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” This movie has such a cult following that TBS runs it on a continuous loop for 24 hours on Christmas Eve, so if you’ve never seen it – or need to get your yearly fix – you know where to turn on December 24.

Love Actually (2003)

Nine different interwoven tales told around the holiday season, there is a lot to like about Love Actually. From Bill Nighy’s washed-up rocker Billy Mack and Colin Firth as a bumbling writer who unexpectedly finds love to “Colin Frissell, God of Sex” and Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister, Richard Curtis’ film is a sweet, fun little story that has become a new addition to many Christmas rotations.

Home Alone (1990)

Did you honestly think we weren’t going to include the battle between Kevin McAllister and The Wet Bandits (Dammit Marv!) on this list? Not only was it a massive success when it came out in theatres and the launching point of Macaulay Culkin’s career, but it stands up as an enjoyable, sweet and easy-to-watch classic nearly 25 years later. And don’t pretend like you don’t do the screaming in the mirror thing at least once a year either.

Elf (2003)

“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?” Will Ferrell can be over-the-top and downright insufferable at times, but he’s absolutely amazing in this instant holiday classic that has become a staple around this time of year since it’s release 11 years ago. It’s highly quotable and features strong supporting performances from Bob Newhart, James Caan and Zooey Deschanel, plus there is a classic Peter Dinklage cameo that is even better now that he’s tearing things up as Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones.

Any Number of Shane Black Movies

Take your pick from Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or even Iron Man 3, all of which take place around Christmas and feature slick dialogue and snappy action. Of the group, it’s actually The Long Kiss Goodnight and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that we would recommend. Not that the other two aren’t good (they are), but TLKS and KKBB are sleeper hits that you should definitely check out.

Others receiving votes: Scrooged, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Gremlins

Tags: Holiday

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