A non-white Christmas?
December 13, 2013 9:54 PM   Subscribe

Are there Christmas/holiday films or TV specials that star non-white protagonists? I was watching a holiday ad for The Criterion Collection on Hulu and was nonplussed at how white the casts are for all the classic holiday films. I mean, I have a soft spot for Home Alone as a child of the Chicago suburbs, but I'd love to show nieces and nephews and cousins more than whitebread suburban holiday cheer. Are there Christmas films featuring people of color (foreign or American) you would recommend? And if foreign, hopefully subtitled? I can poke around for Korean films, but am otherwise linguistically stuck with the English language.
posted by spamandkimchi to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite Christmas movie of all time is Scrooged.

It's a retelling of A Christmas Carol, with Bill Murray in the Scrooge role. There's no shortage of white actors, but the movie's version of the Cratchit family is black, and it takes place in New York City.
posted by rue72 at 10:01 PM on December 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

"Trading Places"
posted by jeb at 10:03 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Black Nativity is in theaters.
posted by SarahBellum at 10:06 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Preacher's Wife?
posted by Sara C. at 10:22 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Maybe this will sound like a smartass joke, but I don't mean it as such: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas aren't about white people (or "people" at all, really) and they are absolutely delightful. (OK, Jack Skellington is white, but not because he's Caucasian!)

Also probably not quite what you were looking for, but the Pee Wee Herman special is rather multi-cultural, with Grace Jones, Magic Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg, Little Richard... and Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:42 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was going to say The Preacher's Wife, too. It's a remake of The Bishop's Wife (Cary Grant) but I really enjoyed it more than the original. I loved the little kid doing the narration.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 10:43 PM on December 13, 2013

Oh, and here's this long list on Amazon! (Sorry, my previous post was written on 3 hours of sleep, and I am punchy as hell.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:44 PM on December 13, 2013

The Ramen Girl isn't specifically a Christmas movie, but has a prominent Christmas scene, along with a mostly-Japanese cast. Parts of it are in Japanese, with subtitles. It's not the greatest movie in the world, though (and it conforms to the whole Magical Asian thing).
posted by topoisomerase at 10:50 PM on December 13, 2013

The Best Man Holiday takes place around Christmas.
posted by spunweb at 11:30 PM on December 13, 2013

Last Holiday starring Queen Latifah takes place around Christmas/New Years. (I can't remember if the big party at the end is Christmas or New Years. But, hey, it's on Netflix streaming! I'm going to re-watch the hell out of it starting right now.)
posted by oh yeah! at 5:53 AM on December 14, 2013

Pastorelas are Mexican folk plays that celebrate the shepherds' journey to find the newborn Christ. There's a 1991 American production of one, featuring Linda Ronstadt, Robert Beltran, and Paul Rodriguez.

My parents watch their copy every year around Christmas.
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:25 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

How old are the kids? This might be dumb, but my first thought was Community's "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas."
posted by zoomorphic at 6:41 AM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I actually prefer Community's first season Christmas episode because instead of having Christmas take over (which, even though I like the animation and all, AUC did), it acknowledges that everyone has a different religious practice/outlook.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, the Grinch is green...
posted by Huffy Puffy at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2013

Not exactly a Christmas movie, but Christmas and Kwanza are involved:
The Hebrew Hammer
"The plot concerns a Jewish crime fighter known as the Hebrew Hammer who must save Hanukkah from the evil son of Santa Claus who wants to destroy Hanukkah and make everyone celebrate Christmas. The film parodies blaxploitation films, and features Melvin Van Peebles in a cameo as "Sweetback"." There are non-white characters :)

In a similar vein: Bad Santa. The elf is black, but not a sympathetic character.

These films are funny, scathing, and not for the entire family.
posted by bessiemae at 12:10 PM on December 14, 2013

Thanks for all these suggestions! I'm happy to get recommendations that are truly kid friendly (6 or 7 years of age) to R rated (for me!)
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:25 PM on December 14, 2013

Bernard and the Genie stars Lenny Henry as the genie.
posted by Lexica at 2:47 PM on December 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just happened to watch the trailer for something that might suit: Marry Me For Christmas.
posted by Georgina at 5:44 PM on December 14, 2013

An American Christmas Carol features an awesome disco-themed Ghost of Christmas Future portrayed Dorian Harewood.
posted by BurntHombre at 6:19 PM on December 14, 2013

This is tv movie camp, but A Diva's Christmas Carol is a VH1-made remake of A Christmas Carol with Williams as "Ebony Scrooge," a sort of Ebenezer by way of Diana Ross creation. On the overall scale of things you can watch, it doesn't rank so high, but on the enjoyable tv movie cheese scale, it's a stout, sharp Wisconsin cheddar with a pleasant aftertaste.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:09 PM on December 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Watch Die Hard for Powell and Argyle.
posted by michaelh at 9:39 PM on December 14, 2013

Since I posted the other day, I saw Love Actually on tv and it was a wonderful movie about love and relationships--which centers around the Christmas holidays. Many great British actors and black, brown, and mixed race characters. Seemed to be family friendly, and feature child actors. Some discussion of potential affairs for one character with children.
posted by bessiemae at 8:50 AM on December 16, 2013

I enjoy watching Love Actually every Christmas, but if you get the DVD (not the TV edit), the porn subplot (at the very least) keeps this from being a family friendly film. Keep this one to watch yourself.

This is a little off from what you asked for, but I like watching TV shows Christmas episodes. One of my favorite on is from the first season of Bones -- "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" -- the main character is white, but the cast is varied, as is their case that week.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:04 PM on December 19, 2013

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