Christmas movies are easy to write, they all have basically the same ending, and the moral is either about being thankful, or Jesus. With a formula that simple, it's no wonder there are over 200 Christmas films and counting! But the simplicity is also a challenge for movie makers: how do you create an original Christmas movie? There are some films that succeed greatly in this! Others... not so much. But after 18 years of studying (or just watching Christmas films in general, whatever you want to call it) I've selected the ultimate good, bad, and ugly different movie for your holiday viewing pleasure.
Good: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Some people claim this masterpiece is a Halloween film. Others argue that it's obviously a Christmas movie, since Christmas is in the title. I say that this is a fantastic movie for all seasons and should be watched every holiday! Especially Columbus Day. Think about it. It fits.
This movie is loaded with originality, and you can thank Tim Burton for that! It takes a dark twist on a light subject—yet it has all the ingredients of a classic Christmas movie: being thankful for what you have, Santa saving the day, even an animal's glowing nose guiding a sleigh through a foggy night. And the song "What's This" perfectly captures the magical warmth that's felt by everyone during the holidays. This movie should definitely be on top of your Christmas "To Watch" list.
Bad: Deck the Halls
It pains me to list this movie. It really does. I love Matthew Broderick and Kristin Chenoweth with all my heart, not to mention Hurley from LOST, who also shows up in this film. But the fantastic cast can't make up for the boring, unoriginal, and predictable plot. You know what's going to happen next, you know how it's going to end, and you know there's going to be some form of slapstick with every physical activity they do. You'd think Hollywood would've learned from Jingle All the Way that dads competing against each other for Christmas crap really doesn't make for an exciting movie—but they didn't.
All of that being said, Deck the Halls isn't a terrible movie; if there is absolutely nothing else to watch, like NOTHING else, then you can at least count on it to satisfy your desperate Christmas movie craving.
Different: Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny
This movie certainly is ...different. It's without a doubt the most original thing I've ever seen, but not necessarily in a good way. The journey through this film is a long and agonizing one. These guys try to make it enjoyable, but they can't completely dull the pain. Few have made it to the final scene, and even if you reach the end, you wonder if it was all worth it. You can never. Unsee. This. Movie.
It's not really even a Christmas movie! There's no moral, no mention of Christmas (besides a brief elf scene, the presence of Santa as a character, and the words "Merry Christmas" at the end), and a random insert of Thumbelina in the middle! The film will leave you with questions like:
- What's happening?
- Why is Santa even there?
- What is the point of this?
- Why isn't this called "Santa and Thumbelina?"
- What is an Ice Cream Bunny?
- What is life?
What Christmas movies do you think belong in the good, bad, and different categories? Cast your vote in the comments down below! The winning movie in each category will be in the last Movie/Music Christmas Countdown post!