Christmas movies as defined by any other site might be something like It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story. Fair enough. These are great films in their own right, but they don’t really give us geek-types the charge we’re looking for out of a movie. That’s why we’ve decided to dig a little deeper and come up with some Yuletide flicks that really speak to our everyday sensibilities. So kick back with that gallon of spiked eggnog and enjoy as we count down the 6 best flicks that celebrate the holiday with a bang.
6. Die Hard 2
While the Die Hard franchise has been largely hit-or-miss, no one can deny that it started well with the 1988 original, a vehicle that had been intended for Frank Sinatra. What a different film this 1990 follow-up would have been had plans not changed! It may not have even existed, though it probably would have because Old Blue Eyes was awesome. While it’s a bit harder to suspend disbelief for this go-around, it’s still loaded to the gills with action, explosions, and wisecracks.
5. Die Hard
The first Die Hard sports some great fight scenes, unbelievable stunt work, hilarious dialogue, and a likable comedian in Bruce Willis, who was making his first go at being a serious actor. He balances that tightrope of believability beautifully. For those of us who watched it in theaters 26 years ago and only knew Willis as the wisecracking goofball from Moonlighting, it was a moment of major revelation where you go into it thinking, “But he’s the funny guy,” and walk out speechlessly nodding your approval.
4. Lethal Weapon
From the opening use of Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” to the destructive and totally exhilarating third act, Christmas permeates this buddy action flick starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Gary Busey is also menacing as one of the major villains, crazed reality show appearances aside. People often forget Busey was a brilliant actor at one point in his career, earning Best Actor nominations at the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards for his performance as Buddy Holly in The Buddy Holly Story. Compare his villainous Mr. Joshua to his performance in that previous film, and you’ll be blown away by his versatility.
3. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
For us, this was a Netflix discovery last year, though the actual film dates back to 2010. The “real” Santa Claus of legend has been unearthed, and he’s not at all like the jolly elf spoken of in the famous children’s poem. While director Jalmari Helander does a good enough job building suspense and handling the action for a premise that seems ridiculous on the surface, it’s the relationship between father and son that make this one stand out as a true Christmas classic, lending weight to all the darker elements.
2. The Last Boy Scout
Made just a year after Die Hard 2, this was Bruce Willis’ third action film set during the holidays. Talk about typecasting! Doesn’t seem to hurt the film, though, which is directed by the late great Tony Scott. It’s a tale of gambling and football and violence, both on the field and off. A bit corny in places, it still holds up, perhaps even better than the Die Hard movies. If you haven’t watched this one or it’s been a while, give it another spin this season, or Satan Claws may come knocking.
1. A Midnight Clear
Like your Christmas movies a bit heavier? This film, set in 1944 France, features a Christmas encounter between an American Intelligence Squad and a war-weary German Platoon that illustrates all the horror of war and the hope of humanity in one isolated incident. It’s a moving masterpiece of a movie. Just have the hankies ready.
Those are our top geektastic picks for the holidays. Which Christmas movies will you be watching?
And for more movie fun, check out our list of 5 Great Movies That Kind Of Sucked.