Holiday Entertainment: Your Guide to the Best & Worst Christmas Movies

By: Toni Cunningham | December 10, 2014

The snow is falling, the fireplace is crackling, you’ve got a warm cup of cocoa in your hands, and good company sitting next to you. When the weather outside is frightful, you know what that means: pop some popcorn because it’s time for a holiday movie night!

There are some great Christmas movies out there, and there are some really, really bad ones. A few fall into the middle ground (like one I recently rented on Netflix called “Happy Christmas,” which you can go ahead and skip), but everyone has his or her favorite holiday flick that they watch every December. In case you’re looking for a few to add into the mix, here are a few you should definitely consider, and a couple to stay away from at all costs:

Christmas Movies That Should Be On Your “To Watch” List

  1. “Christmas Vacation” is one of my personal favorite holiday films, and if I don’t watch it in its entirety at least once, something is seriously wrong. No holiday season is complete without spending it with the Griswolds.
  2. “Home Alone” is a movie that I can quote pretty impressively. Kevin McCallister was one calm, cool and collected 8 year old dude, because let me tell you, if I had been abandoned at that age, I would have been having a panic attack, not cutting down a Christmas tree and shoplifting toothbrushes. We won’t even speak of the sequels after “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”
  3. “Elf” is a film anyone can appreciate, whether you’re eight or 88. Even if you don’t like Will Ferrell, you’ll like Buddy the Elf. Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!
  4. “Love Actually.” Just because this holiday flick has the word ‘love’ in it doesn’t mean it’s a chick flick. It stars Liam Neeson and the main fella from “The Walking Dead,” so that should be enough to rope you guys in if you’re weary. You might even get a little misty eyed when Mark knocks on Juliet’s door and expresses, “to me, you are perfect.” Or you may want to punch him.
  5. “The Santa Clause” is a classic from my childhood. What middle-aged man wouldn’t want Santa to accidentally fall off of his roof, resulting in him having to take on the role of St. Nick for the rest of his days?

Christmas Movies You Should Stay Far Away From and Not Touch with a 10 Foot Pole

  1. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Before you start throwing candy canes at me, let me express how much I love and adore the television short from the 1960s. It’s on my “must watch” list each year. Which is precisely why I detest the Jim Carey film so much. It just doesn’t compare!
  2. Any holiday movie starring Vince Vaughn, i.e. “Fred Claus” and “Four Christmases.” Just because.
  3. “The Santa Clause” sequels. Why take a perfectly good thing and ruin it by making a crappy sequel? When you wait eight years to release said sequel, please just don’t. We’ve all moved on and are perfectly happy with the original.
  4. Any holiday movie on the Hallmark channel. This includes, but is not limited to, “One Starry Christmas,” “A Cookie Cutter Christmas,” “Christmas Under Wraps,” and anything starring LeAnn Rimes.
  5. “Saving Christmas,” Kirk Cameron’s recently released holiday flick, in which he tries to get his brother into the holiday spirit and “put the Christ back into Christmas.” It has been named the worst movie of all time by many sources. Not just the worst holiday movie of all time, people, the actual worst movie of all time. Let that sink in for a moment.

Grey Area Movies Set During the Holidays that People Always Argue About

  1. “Gremlins” is obviously a holiday film, but some people don’t consider it one. Whatever, debate it all you want, just don’t feed them after midnight.
  2. “Die Hard” is definitely not a Christmas movie. Sure, it’s set at a Christmas party, but yippee ki-yay, Christmas is not quite that violent in most households.
  3. “Batman Returns” falls into the realm of holiday films, and is obviously the best Batman film (pre Christopher Nolan days).

While most of us enjoy staying in and watching Christmas movies at home, there are plenty of opportunities to do so in Metro Detroit this month! Head to the Penn Theatre, 760 Penniman Ave., Plymouth, Redford Theatre, 17360 Lahser Rd., Detroit, or Michigan Theater, 603 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, throughout the end of December to catch a holiday classic. Don’t forget the popcorn!