December is the month when people around the world climb into their attics and drag down that box marked “XMAS STUFF.”  In my household, that box was filled with two things: decorations, and Christmas movies.
Movies like Miracle On 34th Street, or It’s a Wonderful Life were holiday mainstays as a child, but as I grew into adulthood I began to grow tired of the classics (not that you can ever watch Elf too many times). Over the past few years I’ve made an effort to seek out some of the more “unconventional” holiday films. You know, the kind of movie that takes place during Christmas but isn’t exactly dripping with holiday cheer.
Anyhow, here’s three films that I’ll be watching this holiday season:
Gremlins (1984)
Gremlins kicks off when Billy receives an early christmas present from his father; a Mogwai. The Mogwai, a cute and furry little creature, comes with three simple rules: don’t get him wet, keep him out of the sunlight, and above all else don’t feed him after midnight. It doesn’t take long for Billy to realize that breaking these rules has unique consequences. Before he knows it, Billy’s super special christmas gift has spawned a horde of the film’s titular characters, the “Gremlins.” As the Gremlins run amok in Kingston Falls, it becomes more apparent that Gremlins isn’t just a film about little green monsters. Gremlins has a lot to say about the hyper-consumerist culture that has become synonymous with the holidays. ‘Tis the season when it’s all too easy to get caught up on the latest and greatest must-have item of the year. It’s easy to forget the negatives that overconsumption and greed can lead to. So this year, don’t be like Billy’s dad. Used books never attacked anyone.
christmas movies
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) 
Despite its overwhelming presence, Christmas has very little do with the plot or the characters in Eyes Wide Shut. In nearly every scene of the film, a Christmas tree can be seen somewhere in the background. So why does a film predominately about lust and deception have a such a strong and arbitrary connection to Christmas? What do lust, deception, and Santa Claus all have in common? Perhaps Stanley Kubrick wanted to draw parallels between his characters and the gift-giving tradition of Christmas. A tradition which is of course dependent on both the desires of the person receiving the gift and the secrecy of the person giving the gift. Eyes Wide Shut is a must see for anyone who is feeling just a little too cheery about the holidays.
christmas movies
Batman Returns (1992) 
Batman Returns opens on Christmas day with the birth of a “grotesque” child soon to be known as The Penguin. Little baby Penguin is rejected by his bourgeoisie parents and cast out into the sewers of Gotham City, where he is apparently raised by, you guessed it, penguins. Fast forward 30 years and the stage is set for a wild tale of yuletide revenge. This movie doesn’t have too much to say about christmas itself, but the holiday setting adds a wonderful contrast to the otherwise gloomy nature of Gotham. If you have a penchant for oversized christmas trees, rubber cowls, and/or umbrellas, then you’ll want to pick this one up for sure.
christmas movies
So that’s it folks! A few of my favorite not-so-Christmas Christmas movies! Does your family have a (or tons of) favorite Christmas movies (or “Christmas” movies)? Let us know in the comments below! It’s worth mentioning that all of these films and many more can be found at Bookmans. The perfect gift for the cinephile in your life is sure to be found within our wide selection of Blu-Rays and DVDs. Also books. We have lots of books.