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Holiday viewing to distract and entertain
December 21, 2011 12:42 PM   Subscribe

What are some awesome movies that just happen to be set around Christmas?

I love some themed film viewing and the rest of this month is devoted to Christmas movies that aren't, that is movies that clearly showcase Christmas, but aren't about Christmas. So far we've watched Holy Smoke and Gremlins. Any others?
posted by stormygrey to Media & Arts (67 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Die Hard, obvs.
posted by CheeseLouise at 12:43 PM on December 21, 2011 [19 favorites]


Go. Mary Xmas
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:44 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love Actually
posted by librarianamy at 12:46 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Batman Returns, The Ice Harvest, uh I think In Bruges?, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2011


Love Actually isn't really about Christmas, I don't think, though there is a lot of Christmas-y stuff going on. Also happens to my very favorite-est romantic comedy - Bill Nighy is amazingly hilarious.
posted by ashirys at 12:47 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


[self-link] At the bottom of my review of Eyes Wide Shut (the least Christmas-y Christmas movie I can think of), I appended a long list of movies that take place entirely or largely at Christmastime but aren't especially Christmas-y. They are:

The Lion in Winter
Die Hard
Brazil
Holiday
The Shop around the Corner
Toy Story
Doubt
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Better Off Dead
The Apartment
The Proposition
Eyes Wide Shut
Meet John Doe
Twelve Monkeys
Three Days of the Condor
The Conversation
Bell Book and Candle
Gremlins
Diner
The Thin Man
Trading Places
Edward Scissorhands
The Ref
The Ice Harvest
Less Than Zero
The Matador

posted by Elsa at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Trading Places & Ghostbusters II.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:48 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's little-known, and not "about" Christmas at all, but Cal reaches its unavoidable and obivous conclusion after the title character is able to spend Christmas Eve with the woman he loves before being dragged off to prison first thing in the morning.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:50 PM on December 21, 2011


The Shop Around the Corner.

Also happens to be my favorite romantic comedy of all time.

And I love to spring this on people Xmas eve:

Three Godfathers.
posted by the bricabrac man at 12:52 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Auntie Mame!
posted by La Cieca at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's a Christmas scene in American Psycho, but the exact chronology of the film escapes me.
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on December 21, 2011


Previously.
posted by John Cohen at 12:55 PM on December 21, 2011


Gremlins is absolutely about Christmas!

(at least what it's turned into in late-20th-century America)
posted by mkultra at 12:55 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I came to suggest Shop Around the Corner, since I just saw it, but as it's already suggested, I can add You've Got Mail (which you could watch back to back with the original), While You Were Sleeping, and Sleepless in Seattle (must be a Nora Ephron thing). You could also consult the wiki list of Christmas movies. (they're not all "about" Christmas: check out We're No Angels, for example. Humphrey Bogart! in a comedy!)
posted by artifarce at 12:56 PM on December 21, 2011




Doesnt Hot Tub Time Machine occur around Christmas? That's a fun film, well for folks of a certain age anyway.
posted by elendil71 at 12:57 PM on December 21, 2011


Previously-er.

Someone in that thread argues that there is no such thing as a movie set around Christmas that's not "about Christmas."
posted by John Cohen at 12:57 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lethal Weapon is set around Christmas, thus making it perfectly acceptable to watch around Christmas.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:01 PM on December 21, 2011


The 1994 Little Women. Well, part of it. There's also a lot of snow, what with being in New England and all.
posted by giraffe at 1:03 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Home Alone
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:06 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love Actually
posted by wwax at 1:07 PM on December 21, 2011


The Snowman.
posted by giraffe at 1:07 PM on December 21, 2011


I love The Ref. But then again, I have a huge infatuation with Kevin Spacey.
posted by purpletangerine at 1:09 PM on December 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Metropolitan, Whit Stillman's first movie.
posted by Clustercuss at 1:12 PM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Meet Me in St. Louis
posted by LN at 1:14 PM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


My dad used to make us watch Gremlins on Christmas morning before we could open presents.
posted by ian1977 at 1:16 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ronin takes place around Christmas. No specific mention is made of the holiday, but several scenes have prominent Christmas things going on in them.
posted by jquinby at 1:19 PM on December 21, 2011


How About You is set at Christmas, but is not exactly a Christmas movie in the traditional sense.
posted by gudrun at 1:23 PM on December 21, 2011


...and by 'in them', I mean in the background.
posted by jquinby at 1:24 PM on December 21, 2011


Auntie Mame! Rosalind Russel! Accept no substitutesI
I was just looking up Bell, Book and Candle and apparently they tried to make a remake. Horrors. Sadly, neither are streaming on Netflix.
posted by provoliminal at 1:26 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Toys.
posted by Runes at 1:27 PM on December 21, 2011


I just went to see an "alt-xmas" showing of City of Lost Children last night. So good!

nthing Trading Places, that is the traditional non-Christmas Christmas (and New Year's) movie in my family.
posted by ghostbikes at 1:28 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovely, Still is charming, sweet, quiet movie set around the week before Christmas. Available on Netflix Streaming.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 1:30 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Family Stone
posted by Mimzy at 1:30 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's A Wonderful Life is a really dark movie that is not about Christmas, really, at all.
posted by The World Famous at 1:30 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back that up, it is streaming on Netflix. It's a holiday miracle!
posted by provoliminal at 1:31 PM on December 21, 2011


About a Boy, Serendipity.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:40 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]




The Long Kiss Goodnight
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:50 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


LN has it with Meet Me in Saint Louis. Judy Garland singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - that's gold!
posted by 26.2 at 1:51 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Town Like Alice (? seem to remember a Christmas scene -- or maybe it's because this is one of my "Christmas tradition" movies, to play while wrapping gifts).
posted by crepeMyrtle at 1:56 PM on December 21, 2011


The Long Gray Line is too expansive to be classified as a Christmas movie, but it has an important Christmas scene.
posted by Jahaza at 1:57 PM on December 21, 2011


On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
posted by mazola at 2:01 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Royal Tenenbaums is a movie I consider to have Christmas scenes.
posted by glaucon at 2:01 PM on December 21, 2011


Battle of the Bulge and Battleground
Obviously not about Christmas. There are some toss-off references to it in both movies, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:05 PM on December 21, 2011


Desk Set
posted by OmieWise at 2:06 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Long Kiss Goodnight

Samuel L Jackson's favorite movie to work on.

I've always been blown away by Reckless (the one with Mia Farrow), and it annoys me to no end how it's still not on DVD. Not a happy movie by any means though.

But nothing beats "The Ref".
posted by nomisxid at 2:09 PM on December 21, 2011


The Ref starring Dennis Leary, Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey. Despite the title, it has nothing to do with sports.
posted by workerant at 2:13 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I swear to all that is holy I searched TWICE for "ref" before I posted.
posted by workerant at 2:14 PM on December 21, 2011


OMG, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation is a must!
posted by Elsie at 2:15 PM on December 21, 2011


Someone in that thread argues that there is no such thing as a movie set around Christmas that's not "about Christmas."

Nice argument! I'm sold.

Here are some more good movies that are apparently also secretly "about" Christmas (and now that I think about some of these some more, I have no doubt about that theory):
Tokyo Godfathers
Live Flesh
Ordinary People
Nobody's Fool
Eastern Promises
Stalag 17
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
posted by heatvision at 2:24 PM on December 21, 2011


Despite my hating Nicolas Cage, I thought Trapped in Paradise was hilarious.
posted by soelo at 2:31 PM on December 21, 2011


Bridget Jones's Diary
posted by emyd at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the Bleak Midwinter, one of my favorites
posted by canoehead at 3:26 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Elsa already mentioned The Lion in Winter, but I want to underscore the awesomeness of it—since you asked not just for movies set around Christmas, but for awesome movies set around Christmas. The version of The Lion in Winter with Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole is a really good, classic movie and you should watch it. (I haven't seen the more recent remake and can't comment on it one way or the other.)
posted by Orinda at 5:02 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Bourne Identity. Which I just learned is my mother's favorite Christmas movie.
posted by emmling at 5:04 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meet Me In St. Louis

And The Ice Storm (93), but that's Thanksgiving.
posted by rainbaby at 5:45 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


IIRC, a sizable portion of Bridget Jones Diary takes place around Christmas. Also, Four Christmases, which despite being named as such, is really not about the holiday per se.
posted by webhund at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2011


The Man Who Came To Dinner
posted by gudrun at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


It should be noted that in addition to Die Hard (The Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time), Die Hard 2 is also set on Christmas Eve.
posted by hafehd at 7:12 PM on December 21, 2011


Reindeer Games. Not John Frankenheimer's greatest movie, but its most endearing aspect is that Ben Affleck gets the crap beaten out of him every ten minutes or so.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:31 PM on December 21, 2011


Metropolitan.
posted by sideofwry at 9:36 PM on December 21, 2011


I'd forgotten that The Lion in Winter was set at Christmas. It's a great, great movie.

And The Ref. Although I think The Ref comes much, much closer to being ''about" Christmas, just in a very anti-Christmasey way. Very good black comedy.
posted by marsha56 at 9:52 PM on December 21, 2011


Dan in Real Life
posted by photogirlguru at 5:40 AM on December 22, 2011


The trailer is horrible, but: The Sure Thing.
posted by Lexica at 7:32 PM on December 22, 2011


Also, Rent.
posted by Clustercuss at 12:53 PM on December 23, 2011


I'm late and it's not a film, strictly speaking, but I can't not throw in Krzysztof Kieślowski's Decalogue III.

Also, Peter Jackson's King Kong.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:29 PM on January 1, 2012


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