When I was growing up, one of our holiday rituals was the traditional screening of White Christmas while decorating our tree. I can recite large chunks of dialogue from the film to this day and if really pressed, I might even be able to do the entire choreography to “Sisters.” So now as a Certified Grown Up with a family of my own, I was excited to carry the tradition through to a new generation.
Except that my daughter’s reaction to White Christmas was a decided “meh.” We gave the movie a couple of tries, but frankly, she just plain doesn’t like it. So we set out to find a new tree-decorating film. And being the kind of family we are, we settled on the classic 90s film, Long Kiss Goodnight. It has pretty much everything one could want in a holiday movie ““ a bleached blonde Gina Davis in her action girl phase, guns, explosions, cursing, a nominal holiday setting, and Samuel Jackson before he started playing “Samuel Jackson” in every movie he was cast in.
The fabulous Luci Furious wrote a guide to some great holiday movies available on Netflix if your taste runs towards the classic holiday fare. But here are a few suggestions for the non-traditional movie watchers among us:
Die Hard ““ This is a no brainer, right? Die Hard was a strong contender for our tree-trimming movie. Tough cop with a heart of gold risks life and limb to rescue his estranged wife from the criminals who have taken her company’s holiday party hostage. Shit blow up! There’s a Christmas tree in there somewhere. Alan Rickman! Alan Rickman! Alan Rickman!
Long Kiss Goodnight ““ Gina Davis and Samuel Jackson are just two BAMFs saving Christmas, the American people, and US-Canadian relations from Bad Guys, while looking cool and saying cool and sardonic things. No one learns about love, for a change.
Gremlins ““ Phoebe Cate’ story about the Santa in her chimney scared the bejesus out of me as a kid. Just saying. The most important thing you should take away from this movie is to never, ever, feed the adorable monster your father bought home from Chinatown after midnight.
Edward Scissorhands ““ The success of The Nightmare Before Christmas has eclipsed Tim Burton’s earlier Christmas themed movie, but frankly, I much prefer Edward Scissorhands. It’s not even just because it has a young Johnny Depp in it, or the unaging Winona Rider ““ there’s something deeply charming about this fairy tale, where Frankenstein’s monster wanders around suburbia, trimming hedges while learning about the true meaning of love.
Bell, Book, and Candle ““ Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart’s second onscreen romance centers around a young New York witch who casts a love spell on a book publisher, but starts to fall for him herself. Eventually she needs to make a choice between her magic-casting ways and being with the man she loves, as witches who fall in love lose their magical powers. There’s beatniks! Greenwich Village! And it’s set at Christmas!