Best & worst holiday films

Full-feature flicks to ring in the season

Illustration by Wyatt Tremblay

Illustration by Wyatt Tremblay

For many SAIT students, there’s not much to do over the holidays other than curl up on a couch and switch on the idiot box. The least you could do is treat yourself to a holiday movie of high quality. Here’s a list of my top five. Please note, however, this list only includes feature-length movies. That means TV specials, like How the Grinch Stole Christmas are off the table.

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas:
This gothic stop-motion film features a singing skeleton kidnapping Santa Claus and hijacking Christmas. How could anyone not find that interesting? And just to remind everyone, Tim Burton DID NOT direct this.
Best Quote: “Just because I cannot see it, doesn’t mean I can’t believe it!”

4. Bad Santa: 
Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa is the pure embodiment of the bitterness many feel during the holidays. His character is so apathetic, vile and unwashed that he goes right back around to being likable. Bad Santa is both a dark comedy and an instant classic.
Best Quote: “Your soul is dog s**t.”

3. A Christmas Story: 
This movie has a fair bit of dark comedy in it too, like that poor kid who got his tongue frozen to the pole. Filled with countless iconic moments, A Christmas Story still stands as one of the definitive holiday movies.
Best Quote: “Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”

2. Die Hard: 
This 1988 film is one of the greatest staples of the action genre. Strictly speaking, Die Hard is only a holiday movie because it takes place during Christmas and has Ode to Joy in it. But as the Lonely Island once said, “Still counts!”
Best Quote: “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.”

1. It’s a Wonderful Life: 
The fact that this 70-year-old movie still gets constantly replayed on TV is a testament to its timelessness. It breaks you down and builds you back up. There’s a beauty in that. And please, for your own sake, don’t watch the hideous colour version. Black and white all the way.
Best Quote: “I wanna live again! Please, God, let me live again!”

Now here’s a list of holiday movies that will make you want to forsake Santa and burn down your Christmas tree. These films, the worst of the worst, should either be avoided like the plague or outright mocked. Again, this list only has feature-length movies. Sorry, Star Wars Holiday Special.

5. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York:
All the Home Alone sequels are bad, but this was when the creative bankruptcy of the series really started to show. This sequel is nothing but a carbon copy of the original, except it happens to take place in New York. But hey, who doesn’t love a Donald Trump cameo, right?
Worst Quote: “We did it again! Aaah!”

4. Fred Claus: 
Made back when Vince Vaughn was still going for the easy paycheque, Fred Claus is flatter than unleavened bread and not even half as delicious. And Paul Giamatti as Santa Claus? Were they even trying?
Worst Quote: “I’m from the south side of the North Pole, man.”

3. Black Christmas (2006): 
This remake of the minor horror classic is gratuitous and drab. Its idea of horror is depicting incest and adhering to every slasher cliché from promiscuous sorority girls to killing the token black guy first.
Worst Quote: “I’m really not okay with any of this. I mean, buying a Christmas present for a serial killer?”

2. Silent Night, Deadly Night 2:
Surprise, surprise: a sequel to a slasher film was bad. But this movie about a killer dressed as Santa isn’t just bad, it’s horrible. With horrendous acting, over-the-top murder scenes and way too much footage from the first film, this is the “so bad, it’s good” movie for the holidays.
Worst Quote: “Garbage day!”

1. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas:
What we have here is incomprehensible and ineffective evangelist propaganda, something you’d expect Ted Cruz to finance. Kirk Cameron couldn’t form a coherent argument or hold a camera steady if his life depended on it. As one YouTube user said, “You know a movie’s failed when it was fully posted and never got removed.”
Worst Quote: “Nicholas was ‘bad,’ in a good way.”

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