CHRISTMAS MOVIES

'TIS THE SEASON WITH SWITCH'S FESTIVE FLICK PICKS

FEATURE ARTICLE
By Chris dos Santos
20th December 2020

A great prophet once said, "Hey sis, it's Christmas!" That prophet was RuPaul. Stuck on what to watch this holiday season? We at SWITCH have broken down the best Christmas films to bring that much-need holiday joy. This list is to remind you the of best festive flicks - and maybe for you to find something new; I do not apologise for not including things like 'Elf' or 'Die Hard' - they are great films, but these are my personal Christmas picks.

FAMILY
Home Alone  
★★★★
We're starting out with one of the biggest Christmas staples of all time. Kevin is left alone when his family leaves for France, and has to defend his house from robbers, The Wet Bandits. It's filled with iconic moments and tonnes of Christmas spirit, and I hope you've already watched it this holiday season.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas  
★★★
While the original animated short is the definitive version of The Grinch story, the 2000 film is the nostalgic version for me. Jim Carrey embodies this role, plus again ample Christmas spirit. Another timeless classic.

Jingle All the Way  
★★★★★
One of the greatest Christmas movies of all time. I was lucky enough to receive this on DVD as a Christmas present one year, and every Christmas since I have watched Arnie trying to get that Turboman doll for his son Jamie... at least twice every holiday season. It's filled to the brim with iconic lines like the infamous "Put that cookie down!" If you've never experienced this masterpiece before, open Disney+ and get to it (and do not watch the Larry the Cable Guy sequel unless you hate yourself).

The Santa Clause Trilogy  
★★★½
Growing up, once every Christmas season my parents would go out with their friends for their Christmas party, so my siblings and I left Home Alone would marathon all three 'Santa Claus' movies every single year - and still do to this day. Yes, the series declines more with every subsequent film, but I can't have one without the other two.

Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever  
★★★
A wild card, yes, and it's not for everyone, but 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever' works. Aubrey Plaza is in the role she was born to play. The team behind this one was extremely self-aware and knew how to make a funny, heartfelt film based on the internet meme.

Comedy:

The Night Before  
★★★★
Everyone needs to stop sleeping on this film. Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie are absolutely hilarious in this Christmas comedy. It's the perfect adult Christmas movie - it's the stoner humour we've come to love from Rogen and Even Goldberg wrapped up in a beautiful Christmas bow. Plus add Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell, Mindy Kaling and freaking Miley Cyrus, and you've got a Christmas classic that has me going "Ho, Ho, Ho" every season.

Christmas with the Kranks  
★★★
One of the most important Christmas traditions is seeing Queen Jamie Lee Curtis get the Hickory Honey Ham for her daughter, and it's not Christmas until she does. It's 5% on Rotten Tomatoes - a act crime that's up there with 'Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit's' hurtfully low score. Free Frosty!

ROMANCE
Happiest Season  
★★★★★
Christmas is gay now! I've seen the film twice already this season, and when I was watching it the second time it became apparent how much of a holiday tradition this film will become. It has all the right beats; it feels like Christmas. I love Jane - she is one of the most relatable characters committed to screen, and I just cant help but cry when I think about that "painting" scene. Yes it has problems (justice for Abby and Riley), but I can't help but getting wrapped up in this new Christmas classic.

Let it Snow  
★★★½
Teen Christmas movies are somewhat of a rarity; I guess more effort goes into teen TV shows and their Christmas episodes. But 'Let it Snow' is a perfect wholesome Christmas romance for the teens. Based on a novel penned by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and John Green, the film revolves around three different romance plots - a teenage 'Love, Actually', if you will. Speaking of...

Love, Actually  
★★★½
The greatest debate of all time... according to the BuzzFeeds of the world, the Christmas battle is between 'Love, Actually' and 'The Holiday'... woof. The movies are substantially different and don't have any really shared plot points, but regardless 'Love, Actually' is just the more Christmassy movie. This is another nostalgic one - I watched it yearly with my mum and sister on TV, and we have kept that tradition alive for years. Harry, you absolute bitch.

The Princess Switch  
★★★★★
Most would put the 'A Christmas Prince' trilogy in the Netflix Christmas romance slot, but nothing beats Vanessa Hudgens swapping places with Vanessa Hudgens. I love this movie - I've played drinking games with it, watched it countless times; it's just a blast. Its sequel 'The Princess Switch: Switched Again' (a fantastic title) is up there too, now with three Vanessa Hudgenses - but one of them is evil... dun, dun, dun! Netflix keeps placing hints that all these Christmas movies are connected, and I can't wait for not only that Christmas crossover but all the sequels to 'The Princess Switch'. I want to live in a world ruled by a million Vanessa Hudgens.

ANIMATED
Arthur Christmas  
★★★★
It's adorable, it's British, it has a Justin Bieber song, it's just a great time all round. Similar to how heartfelt and lovable films such as 'Paddington' are, 'Arthur Christmas' belongs right up alongside them. It has such a charm to it, and it's one of those perfect Christmas movies for the whole family.

Barbie in the Nutcracker  
★★★
2020 saw 'Barbie' movies - all 37 of them - come back into the light and re-evaluated. 'Barbie in the Nutcracker' started them all, and for me was an introduction to the Nutcracker story. It's animated on a budget of $2, but the nostalgia is too high for this not to be included.

Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas  
★★
Okay, look, I know its one of the most hated direct-to-DVD Disney sequels, but it's a Christmas staple in my household. 'As Long as There's Christmas' is a fantastic Christmas song, and I like seeing Disney characters in a Christmas setting. It's bad when connected to the original film so I get not liking it for that reason, but I enjoy the look and music in this one.

A Flintstones Christmas Carol  
★★★
We have seen the 'Christmas Carol' story play out in so many ways: 'The Smurfs', 'Mickey Mouse', 'Cruella De Vil', 'Kelly Clarkson' and even 'All Dogs Go to Heaven' have done their version of the classic story, but the Flintstones version is so unique to me. The Bedrock theatre community is putting on a production of 'A Christmas Carol', with Fred cast in the Scrooge role. Fred has let this go to his head, treating everyone poorly. The film has a few different storylines integrated to the main tale. You have the story itself, then the behind-the-scenes of the show and the cast getting sick, then William and Fred's own drama; there's a lot happening. I'm not going to say it's game-changing, but if you're tried of the usual go-to versions of 'A Christmas Carol', 'A Flintstones Christmas Carol' is one to check out. And if you haven't seen it, my top pick for adaptions which is...

MUSICAL
The Muppets Christmas Carol  
★★★★
Undoubtedly the greatest version of 'A Christmas Carol' told, every time I think of the characters of the story it's always this version - Michael Caine is Ebenezer Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit, the Ghost of Christmas past, present and yet to come; all that imagery comes from here. 'Mickey's Christmas Carol' comes close, but this one simply takes the cake.

Christmas on the Square  
★★★
If 'Happiest Season' wasn't gay enough for you, I bring you Dolly Parton's 'Christmas on the Square'. Christine Baranski plays Regina, who has returned to her home town to evict its residents in order to sell the town to mall developers. Parton not only penned the songs which all absolutely slap (and there is no soundtrack out, which is a hate crime), and also plays a literally angel flying around trying to change Regina's mind. It's a Dolly Parton Netflix Christmas musical - and if you're not sold on that, I can't help you.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey  
★★★½
Similar to 'Happiest Season', this already feels like a Christmas classic. It's the story of a toy inventor whose grand invention gets stolen by his rival to years later meet his granddaughter and become re-inspired. The movie is very much inspired by 'The Greatest Showman' but actually has this important element called character development, the soundtrack absolutely goes off - 'This Day' and 'Make this Work' are chilling - and the choreography is amazing. If that doesn't sell you, African-American director David E. Talbert made the film so he could show his son Christmas movies with people who look like them... shoot, I'm crying again.

Even if it's not on this list, there is a Christmas movie out there for everyone. I hope you found a new Christmas classic, or remember a classic you forgot. 'Tis the season, so pour some eggnog and relax with some Christmas magic.

TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGTHE PRINCESS DIARIES20 years since Genovia found its princess
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGTHE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVEGetting in the Groove for the past 20 years
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
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