Serious question, is “Christmas” a genre of film on its own? A film can be set near or on the day, near or during the month, but can a film solidly be a “Christmas” film? I’m not really here to decide that but I’ll hedge my bets. Here is a list of the best genre films that take place at Christmas or Christmas time. I drilled down my top 3.
Since the DIE HARD is a Christmas movie debate has been done to death just watch it you want to. It is as great as they say it is. Here are three other films I like to watch during the Christmas season that are action packed. If I’ve got the three movie marathon to make I would start with BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
Christmas isn’t just the setting for this early comic sequel, it ties into the themes the film is trying to portrait. Batman has been in a few mindless films as of late but that wasn’t always the case. BATMAN RETURNS is an even darker film than the first but when your done watching it, you are filled with a massive amount of hope and happiness. I never feel sad at the end of the film even though then ending itself is quite melancholy. The film opens and closes with merry wishes of Christmas and it should always be in the barrel of a Christmas action movie marathon.
So let’s pick a Shane Black film and go with it. This one wasn’t directed by him but it may have been. I know he was coming off the success of CLIFFHANGER (1993), now in glorious 4k HD, but he isn’t a stand out director. Shane Black is a stand out writer. Almost all of his films take place during Christmas and I find that going to THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996) is great in the middle trilogy of an Christmas action movie marathon. It’s a dark film that is as Shane Black as Shane Black can be. Its ironic and funny and violent, all at the same time and its the youngest I remember Samuel L. Jackson to be when I began to recognize him more regularly. It’s an exciting thriller starting an against type Geena Davis and it’s fun to see where Black was a decade before KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005).
Now we have to finish up the movie marathon with a bang and that bang should be a subversion. My choice for the third best, and therefore, the last movie in an action Christmas movie is HOME ALONE (1990). I know it isn’t that clever but there are far too many Christmas comedies to put it on that list. It’s funny, sure, but is more a drama than anything else. If you are not planning on watching this film at any time in December then you can just close your laptop or put down your phone and walk away because we can’t be friends.
I am making the claim that HOME ALONE is an action film or that it should belong in the conversation. The film has plenty of chases and action set pieces and the entire film is a build up to a stunt show. The film is executed so well as a family drama that when the film hits it’s high speed moments, the craftsmanship goes unnoticed. It is the kind of film that can be watched over and over and never gets old. As a third in a trilogy, its the soft landing that helps after a long night of murder and mayhem at Christmas time.
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