Christmas films. There are literally hundreds of them, but we’re kind of forced to binge watch them in those few weeks leading up to the big day. However there are a select few that can be watched throughout the year, without the guilty feeling. Here are the top ten…
10. Go (1999)
Three stories are interlinked in the 24 hours leading up to Christmas Day in this crime comedy from Bourne Identity director Doug Liman. Resourceful Ronna (Sarah Polley) attempts to earn cash selling drugs to stave off eviction. A trip to Las Vegas doesn’t end well for Simon (Desmond Askew) and his friends, and a drug sting employs the services of actors Adam (Scott Wolf) and Zack (Jay Mohr). Only a short segment taking part at a christmas rave makes this an easy watch anytime of year.
9. Brazil (1985)
The master of the surreal and fantastical brings us this satirical portrayal of a world controlled by a bureaucratic and totalitarian government. Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a low-level civil servant who daydreams he’s a superhero fighting evil and rescuing a damsel in distress. When he discovers she’s real, his quest to find her leads him down a dangerous path. A world obsessed with consumerism is complemented by the Christmas period.
8. Ghostbusters II (1989)
The Paranormal investigators return to take on a mood-affecting pink slime linked to a sixteenth century tyrant. The latter wanting to possess to body of a baby and rule the world. That old chestnut! Although set around Christmas, a lack of decorations in New York makes it very subtle. The only clue being a final climax on New Year’s Eve, oh and a single shot of them wearing Santa hats.
7. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Shane Black likes Christmas, Lethal Weapon (1987), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) and Iron Man 3 (2013) all feature the holiday, but it’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that has been selected for this list. Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey Jr.) is a petty thief, mistaken for an actor who finds himself in Hollywood caught up in a conspiracy with help from a gay private eye (Val Kilmer) and his childhood crush (Michelle Monaghan). Despite taking place in the weeks leading up to the big day, it’s subtle enough to watch anytime.
6. Batman Returns (1992)
Tim Burton’s sequel to his 1989 hit, Batman stars Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfieffer and Danny DeVito as Batman, Catwoman and The Penguin, respectively. Christmas has come to Gotham and it’s during to Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that The Penguin strikes. What follows is his partnership with despicable businessman Max Shrek (Christopher Walken) to make the Penguin Mayor and incriminate the caped crusader. Despite a lot of snow and christmas decorations, it’s dark enough it tone to watch all year round.
5. Love Actually (2003)
British comedy legend Richard Curtis brought us this delightful rom-com counting down the five weeks before Christmas. Multiple stories are weaved, with an all-star cast including the likes of Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson. Although the poster suggests it and many elements of Christmas feature throughout, it never feels heavy enough that it would be secluded to viewing only during that time.
4. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Burton’s second entry on this list, tells the tale of an artificial man, unfinished by his creator. When he’s taken in by a suburban family, he falls in love with their teenage daughter (Winona Ryder) and becomes something of a town favourite with his skilled scissorhands. Only the second half of the film takes place during the festive period, but despite all the elements of Christmas featuring, it’s easy to watch anytime of year.
3. Gremlins (1984)
We are introduced to one of the cutest characters to grace cinema in this horror comedy from director Joe Dante. Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) is given a mysterious creature called a Mogwai by his father for Christmas, but three rules must be obeyed. No sunlight, don’t get him wet and no feeding after midnight. Of course one of these rules is broken and vicious gremlins spawn. The film’s focus on horror means this isn’t relegated to just Christmas season viewing.
2. Home Alone (1990)
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets what he wished for when he discovers he’s been left home alone at Christmas. Things turn ugly though when he finds the house targeted by some terrifying, yet bumbling burglars. It’s then down to Kevin to protect the family home with a series of ingenious traps. Strong christmas references throughout, but it’s definitely one to be enjoyed all the year round.
1. Die Hard (1988)
What else was it going to be? Regular cop, John McClane (Bruce Willis) turns hero, when he finds himself in the middle of a terrorist plot to take over a skyscraper on Christmas Eve. With only his wits and a lack of footwear he must save his wife who sits among the hostages. The Christmas setting in John McTernan’s action classic lifts this above it’s imitators, but it’s not strict seasonal viewing.