Your official ALTERNATE Christmas movie watchlist

It’s the most wonderful time of the year ladies and gentlemen, which means it’s time for Christmas trees, Christmas decorations, Christmas fudge, Christmas music and—oh yes—Christmas movies! I love everything about this time of the year. Despite growing up in the Jerry Seinfeld school of “I hate everyone,” I will for one month a year shed my introverted skin and become a loud caroling fool who watches any movie or show that has a snowflake in it..

Did I say “one month;” I meant “starting Halloween night.”

Our family’s minivan—which we use to haul our three precious children to and fro—is preloaded on its internal hard drive with over three-hundred of my favorite Christmas songs. The music starts playing as we drive them trick-or-treating and by the time Thanksgiving comes we’ll have listened to everything there is to hear at least twice over! It’s delightful.

They all hate me but it’s delightful.

I’m a sucker for the classic Christmas movie genre. There are so many great films that convey the magic of the Christmas season, it’s almost impossible to get them all in before the Big Day. Hard as it is, though, I try my best to watch them all. I also go out of my way to watch those movies that maybe aren’t on everyone’s lists this time of year.

So if you’re like me and you’re well-into the Christmas spirit…probably this article is going to retread old ground for you. That’s fine, that’s fine, read it anyway. If you’re not like me and you hate Christmas (the whole Christmas season), then…this probably isn’t the article for you either. But that’s fine, that’s fine, read it anyway.

THIS is YOUR official Christmas 2018 ALTERNATE MOVIE LIST!

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BATMAN RETURNS

While not a movie you can expect to see on ABC Family’s (now “the Freeform Channel” whatever that means) 25 Days of Christmas, the second Tim Burton/Michael Keaton Batman flick is an annual tradition for me and my sons around this time of year. Critically it was a weaker film than its predecessor, and it pales in comparison to the kind of comic book movies that are being made today, but if you’re like me and you grew up watching Michael Keaton awkwardly turn around and punch people in a leather batsuit, then you can’t help but love the movie.

It’s weird, it’s macabre, it’s wholly unlike anything a Batman film should be, but it’s still a Batman movie set during a time of the year few Batman stories are. Is there a Christmas lesson to learn from a movie about a trio of freaks who only ever could have found acceptance with each other but instead turned and fought each other? Nah, but the visuals are great…

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GREMLINS

My wife refuses to partake in this annual holiday film. She swears it has no place during the holidays and that it’d be better viewed during Halloween. Nonsense. She’s thinking of The Nightmare Before Christmas (which turns 25 this year and which will be getting its own article later).

Gremlins absolutely belongs on a Christmas watchlist. It has everything you want in an Xmas film: There’s snow everywhere, Christmas lights, Christmas music, Christmas gift-giving, romance, thrills, comedy. It only lacks a tap dancing number. And above all, it has the greatest Christmas-themed “horror of growing up” story ever put to film:

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Majestic.

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

Tim Burton’s personal fairytale is not the first film most think of when they reflect on the career of the enigmatic director. To me, however, this is Burton’s masterpiece. This is his E.T. This is his The Shape of Water. It’s not a story set entirely at Christmas but neither is Holiday Inn, mom, so quit complaining!

Christmas plays an important role in the story (the climax takes place during the holidays) and there are story elements that are right at home in a holiday movie (especially the theme of loneliness, rejection and love conquering all). Edward’s holiday memory is so haunting, touching, and tragic all at once, it could only have been done by Tim Burton…

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DIE HARD

Can there be a Christmas that goes by without watching this movie? Granted, it’s not a conventional holiday film, but ask yourself, what is it you really need from a “Christmas movie?” All you really need is that it is set in late December, has a good selection of Christmas songs, and an inoffensive plot.

Most Christmas movies your mother watches on the Hallmark Channel feature some blue-collar guy just trying to get back to his wife, while some snob in a suit serves as the villain. Along the way there’s drama and comedy and nothing to make you think too hard. Shoot man, that’s Die Hard. Only instead of rom-com cliches, you get tank tops, bloody feet, and guns duct-taped to backs. It’s delightful.

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Those are my alternate-Xmas movies. Have you got a seasonal favorite that’s not so “favorite” that you love this time of year? Let us know in the comments below!

Whatever you watch and whatever you do, all of us here at Cultofwhatever wish you the very best season and a happy new year!

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