Christmas Traditions: P’s Christmas Movies

Hello all! And welcome back for another slice of festive nerdy pie! Today we cover the movies that make our Christmases so special. Some are set during the holidays, some simply use festive backdrops or convey the spirit in such a succinct and memorable way. Others are just shown around christmas…inexplicably in some cases. Just what is festive about a gang of POWs escaping a german prison? Or an awesome American teenager trying to make sure his parents meet in high school? Or a man contemplating suicide only to be taught the true meaning of Christmas? totally Irrelevant. You will notice some timeless christmas movies missing from this list, most noticeably Home Alone, which although a marvelous piece of festive entertainment, doesn’t quite stand up to this nerds scrutiny, fun though it is to see Joe Pesci slowly turn into Muttly. But this is my list, and my mind and my perfect moment with you. And with the release of future classic, rare exports, it seems like a very apt list to prepare. So here are the top ten movies I like to see at Christmas.

10. Jason and the Argonauts

This may only be a British thing, but this keeps getting shown around this time! The story is fairly simple. A bunch of Greek Soldiers decide to go and find the Golden Fleece, for some reason. Along the way, the gods manipulate them at every turn, flinging fortune and peril, but the brave Greeks with very thick american accents fight through and always come out on top! Horah! The real stars of this piece are the animations by Ray Harryhausen, a wonderful claymation director whose monsters always bring a great sense of wonder and excitement to proceedings, far more so than most modern CGI (he typed, turning sixty). It’s a classic epic fantasy and for some reason always gets shown at Christmas, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

09. The Sword of Xanten (Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King, Ring of the Neibelungs, or

The second, and almost last fantasy movie on the list. This was a German production of the German epic poem about Norse mythology also adapted by Wagner in the Ring cycles. It’s a classic story of Boy meets girl, boy slays dragon, boy brings riches to kingdom, king is sent to win the heart of girl for king, girl 2 bewitches boy to fall for her and forget girl, girl marries king in anger, boy disguises as king to seduce girl, king kills boy, girl kills king. Classic! It’s a twisty little plot that’s as devastating as Tristan and Isolde and as fantastic as the lord of the rings. It’s definately worth looking into it….the acting is terrible though. But everyone is sexy which makes up for it. Especially Max Von Sydow!

08. The Star Wars Trilogy (Original, obviously!)

Fuck the star wars holiday special, this is where the fun’s really at. Three timeless movies about a boy discovering his potential, good versus inexplicably evil (Seriously? What was so bad about the empire? High taxes? Were they a bit racist?), and good old-fashioned family values! How could it not be associated with Christmas? Star Wars toys is an empire in and of itself. We’ve all lusted over that Death Star that unfolds into the scene of Tatooine, or the millennium falcon or the holiest holy of them all, the AT-AT walker. And all of this just wets the appetite for more of these epic films. And Vice versa. Lately Lucas has fallen to the dark side of CGI (That metaphor is SO apt, I may write an article on it later) but this original non-Hayden Christensen trilogy is perfect in so many ways!

07. Gremlins

Finally something a little more Christmas-related! Gremlins is the story of a Dad, a zany inventor dad (best kind), who wanders into Chinatown one night and picks up a strange furry little critter (haven’t we all?). The Mogwai, named Gizmo, comes with a set of rules. Keep out of light, avoid contact with water, and most importantly do NOT feed after midnight. Of course eventually all three happen which results in a  hilarious, horrifying rampage across town as little green goblin men take over houses, cinemas and most memorably a bar. One thing that really makes this movie sympathetic is just how cute the Mogwai’s are before they turn into Gremlins! It’s like baby tigers, or rapists, you don’t care what they’ll be like when they’re older, they’re cute right now!

06. The Nightmare before Christmas

The first, and not the last, Burton film on the list. This creepy little story came about as Tim Burton saw a store taking down its halloween decorations and putting up it’s Christmas decorations simultaneously. The story involves Jack, the party planner of Halloween town, becoming bored with his scary ways, and setting out in search of something new. What he finds is Christmas town. He then attempts to bring Christmas to his scary world with quirky and sincerely sweet results. The songs by Danny Elfman are brilliant and very memorable, with Poor Jack being a personal favourite for some reason. “Well what the heck! I tried my best!”. Wonderful visuals and a great little moral if you look for it.

05. Batman Returns

Another Burton movie. Everyone will tell you that the first movie is better, the darker and adult movie that finally brought Batman to mature audiences. But I have always prefered the bat, the cat and a the penguin, all set within a festive white christmas Gotham. The story involves Batman going up against the wealthy industrialist Max Schreck who manipulates characters like the Penguin to act against batman. Aided by the Catwoman, who begrudges Schreck for her attempted murder, Batman breaks out clever new gadgets and vehicles to battle the forces of darkness. Is it as good as the Nolan films? No, not really, but it is my favourite Burton film, and contains brilliant performances from Michelle Pfeifer, Danny Devito and Christopher Walken, as well as Michael Keaton who has always been my favourite Batman, even compared to Bale.

04. Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Some said they couldn’t be filmed. But they said the same about Tristram Shandy! Yet me, my neighbour and a cheap camcorder made short work of that! Look at for it at this years Razzies. Anyway, for the first three years of this decade we had Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies each Christmas, and they totally slayed the Harry Potter movies. Too bad they’re now running unopposed. These movies evoke all the childish delight that reading the books brought us so many years earlier (It’s a shame that the movies may well be replacing the books for a generation or two….maybe all of them). The acting is strong all across the board, the action is brilliantly paced with amazing and revolutionary battle scenes, and the music by Cronenberg veteran Howard Shore is beautiful in its own right. How many other musical scores go on tour? These movies breathed new life into the fantasy genre and what could be more christmassy than an epic fantasy adventure?

03. Lethal Weapon

Except of course a dead hooker, a suicidal cop and a dodgy drugs ring. It’s Christmas in LA and retiring cop, Roger Murtagh (who is getting too old for this shit for the first time), is partnered with suicidal and painfully sexy Mel Gibson, who provides most of the movies shoot outs. The two characters work very well together, well enough to fuel three all action sequels, and Richard Donner’s pacing throughout keeps the movie interesting. A christmas movie for all the action fans out there.

02. Monty Python’s Life of Brian

The very meaning of Christmas. The epic story of jesus himself! As told by a guy who happened to be born in the next stable. Monty Python have been at the heart of British comedy for fifty years now, and in addition to three and a half hilarious tv series they also produced two amazing films, one waste of time and one relatively good one too. But this is their most well-regarded. The story of brian, a simple jewish roman chap who lives in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’s life and who runs into all sort of hilarious jams with the People Front of Judea, the Roman army and crucifixion. Told by the funniest men who ever lived, featuring dozens of cameos, two of the catchiest tunes you’ll ever hear and funded by a Beatle, this is THE christmas comedy to watch. Fuck the Fockers.

01. Die Hard

Another action movie takes the number one spot. I think it’s safe to say all of my generation saw this way before they should have. Seems like it’s been part of us forever. The name is synonymous with action movies. And yet it’s a christmas movie! John McClain, a New York Cop, travels to LA to see his wife at Christmas. However the office party and indeed the entire building is hijacked by German Terrorists led by the unbelievably awesome Alan Rickman, trapping McClain in the building with nothing but 12 terrorists, a bunch of hostages and all the awesome he can muster. Inevitably all the terrorists die, the building blows up and McClain returns to his family for Festive fun! The classic song plays us out and we all walk away satisfied.

With Christmas quickly closing in and with only one of these lists left to do, we here at Nerds Get Bored encourage you to watch whatever movie most makes you feel the most festive! So long as it’s funded by Christians…..watch the exorcist.

P for Phoney Santa

Also, watch Jingle All the Way. It’s awesome! -P

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About Nerds Get Bored
We're Nerds, and man, do we get bored. Our Twitter: @nerdsgetbored

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