With the holiday sugar highs and tryptophan lows now faded, family members who over-stayed their welcomes heading back – but kids still home from school – it is understandable if some of you are more than a little done with the whole “Christmas Spirit” thing. If the thought of one more Christmas movie gives you indigestion, Bleeding Cool is here to be your “Pepto Bismal” with a list of the non-Christmas themed movies (and shows) that served – and still serve – as a holiday brain palate cleanser.
I have the dreaded “December Birthday” and therefore try to avoid doing anything “Christmasy” on my birthday. Unfortunately, back before streaming was a thing, my birthday television viewing was limited to the 1980’s movies that were shown on network television when they thought no one was watching. For some reason, it always seemed like Jumpin’ Jack Flash was being shown on my birthday, so it became a family tradition to sit down and watch it. Eventually, we bought the movie and continued the tradition on our own.
I will be watching all of The Hobbit films again (but only because I’m just about done with the Lord of the Rings). All that being said. I am English. It used to be strong tradition in this land that there was a Bond film on the telly every 25th Dec without fail. I haven’t seen this in recent times on TV guides when I’m with the folks and stuff. So, I guess the answer from me is: James Bond. Any of them, really (even the fakey), but if I had to choose it’d be On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, with the possibility of slipping into a snuggly Live and Let Die whilst everyone else snores.
A new tradition for me and mine is to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens around Christmas. We are big Star Wars fans in this home, and this film in particular holds special meaning. It’s the first Star Wars film my daughter saw in the theater. When it was released in December 2015, it was the most anticipated film I can remember seeing in my lifetime. We saw it a bunch of times in the theater, and while it’s not our favorite Star Wars film, it just takes me back to that initial viewing, a week before Christmas that year and all of the discussion it led to and really brings the holiday spirit to the household. Heck, it even ends in the snow.
There are special occasions in my house where I am allowed to watch The Lord of the Rings movies, and December 25th is one of them. After years of putting my poor husband through biweekly LOTR viewing parties and little hints of Tolkien scattered around our wedding decor, we agreed that I would not torture him as often if we picked specific times that I am allowed to watch them such as when he’s out of town, Christmas, and my birthday. It gives me something to look forward to all year long!
Several years ago my parents moved from Utah to Florida while I decided to stay behind. The move was big because we’ve always been a family that would meet once a month for Sunday dinner and my Dad was a traditionalist when it came to the holidays. So it’s been hard not being able to spend the holidays with my parents. At the same time they do fly me down there a few times a year to visit. My parents have always been nerdy [my Mom is a master at Tetris and my Dad worked in the video game business before they was a video game business] and I’ve been introducing them to Marvel movies slowly but surely. At one point I decided to have them binge watch season one of Daredevil while we all drank a lot of vodka. It’s turned into a tradition now; when I visit we binge a season of a Marvel show together. While drinking vodka. I fly out to Florida Christmas Eve night for a week and we plan on watching Runaways season two which drops this Friday. Mom and Dad really liked season one so I know they’re looking forward to seeing season two. Also vodka.
We watch Moulin Rouge every year around the holidays, which may seem strange, considering the subject matter. But it’s a celebration of love, art, and bold risks, and a yearly reminder of the importance of those facets of our lives feels necessary, especially when it’s dark more hours than not.
While some might roll their eyes and think I’m going for some kind of “shock value,” my favorite “non-holiday” (though I could make an even-better-than-Die-Hard argument why it is a holiday movie) holiday movie is Boogie Nights. Set aside the amazing job Paul Thomas Anderson did at using the porn industry to represent societal changes – and resurrecting the late Burt Reynolds acting career all the way to an Oscar nomination. I find it to be the perfect “non-holiday” holiday film because it’s one of the most touching, heart-breaking, life-affirming, and brutally realistic/honest films about families that I’ve ever seen (Holly Hunter‘s Home For The Holidays from director Jodie Foster is another) – embracing the fundamentals of the holidays once all the “wrapping paper’s” been torn away. Oh, and second place for non-holiday holiday movie? Grandma’s Boy, for completely different (yet somewhat oddly similar) reasons.