A&E TV & Movies

Christmas Movies for the Non-Traditionalist

It’s that time of year again, when your TV is flooded with the nauseating sentimentality of Christmas movies. Ok, so maybe there are some great classics like “Miracle on 34th Street” and “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but after a dozen viewings even those start to lose their magic. So, if you love Christmas movies but want something new, here are some great titles you may have missed.

Rare Exports (2010)

There has always been something unsettling about the idea of an immortal, fat old man who “sees you when you’re sleeping.” But what if that immortal, fat old man was actually an ancient demon that not only watched you in your sleep, but kidnapped and murdered you, too?

Trading Places (1983)

Christmas has never been more hilarious, as superstar comedians Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd are subjected to a cruel nature vs. nurture experiment that will have you rolling on the floor in fits of ho-ho-ho’s.

Black Christmas (1974)

Halloween may get most of the slasher flicks, but Christmas got the best one. Considered by many to be the best in its genre, “Black Christmas” is the thoroughly creepy and satisfyingly scary story of a sorority house terrorized by a mysterious murderer.

A Christmas Tale (2008)

This French film about a family coming together just in time for Christmas is filled with awkward romances, drunken outbursts, and all other manners of dysfunction—in other words, it’s the most genuine Christmas movie you’ll ever see.

Where God Left His Shoes (2007)

“Where God Left His Shoes” is the tale of a down-and-out boxer trying to provide for his family on Christmas Eve. It is probably too heartbreaking for most people’s tastes, but the film is an honest reminder to not take anything for granted.

Joyeaux Noël (2005)

Based on the true story of French, German and British World War I soldiers who called a ceasefire for Christmas Eve, “Joyeaux Noël” (French for “Merry Christmas”) will please war movie fans and those seeking the warm fuzzy feelings of the holidays.

Silent Night (2002)

The joy of Christmas is in knowing that hope and light can come from the darkness. That is the message of “Silent Night,” a film set in the time of World War II with a profound message about loving your enemy and creating peace on Earth.

The Ice Harvest (2005)

John Cusack plays Charlie, a Midwest mob lawyer who has an awfully busy Christmas Eve. Some of the things on his to-do list: cheat, steal, lie and kill. That’s the Christmas spirit! “The Ice Harvest” is goofy, gruesome and just good fun.

Brazil (1985)

This strange science-fiction/fantasy is without a doubt the best un-Christmas movie ever made. Its Orwellian jabs at holiday commercialism are perfect thematic tools for the message of freedom, individualism and imagination.

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)

With all the heartwarming moments and none of the schmaltz of standard yuletide fare, this story of a homeless New Yorker and his holiday antics will delight anyone looking for an alternative Christmas classic.

Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

Christmas musicals have always been overshadowed by “The Sound of Music,” but “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” is an underappreciated classic musical worthy of consideration. The story plays out like one continuous love song, and the big, snowy finale is one of the most moving conclusions in cinema.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

This movie isn’t exactly Christmas-centric, but it’s a great excuse to watch a sharp, witty murder mystery that happens to take place during the holiday season. “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” is a peculiar mash-up of Neo-Noir cynicism and the glitziness of commercial Christmas.


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