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.
It’s time for the third installment of the three Christmas movie marathon and this time we are talking comedy. There are, of course, obvious options I may or may not try to avoid. Comedy is the most subjective of the arts but I think these three make a great marathon. Starting out with an easy one and combing for the widest audience I really like JUST FRIENDS.
Before Ryan Reynolds turned into a huge action movie star he was in movies like this. Just like in VAN WILDER his personality and chemistry with literally every other actor he comes into contact with on screen. This is the absolute height of Anna Farris and and Amy Smart’s power and the whole thing comes together really well. It’s funny and sweet and firmly planted in the holiday. It paced amazingly well and if one joke doesn’t land another is on the way. A great way to start the marathon.
For movie number two we go back to the eighties and grab a Bill Murray playing against type in a re-telling of A Christmas Carol. SCROOGED is a comedy that feels different from a lot of Christmas comedies. This WAS the film Richard Donner directed in between LETHAL WEAPON and its sequel. It is more visually interesting than a Christmas Carol should be and the direction shows.
Murray gets to show his range as a lead actor here in ridiculous ways. His reactions to what is happening around him go from dead-pan perfection to over-the-top enthusiasm. It also has a great tie to the season, obviously, and contains some fantastically dark visuals to boot. A great way to tell the story in a new way and not fall into every trap of every re-tell or re-boot ever. Amazing for the second film.
You’re going to want to end on a bang and A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS. I find all three of these movies to be a delight. They have aged pretty well because the character comes mostly from the characters and situation rather than references. It feels like the last in a sequence of films and sends the main characters off in a great way. If you like road trips film this is one of the best a may be the only with Christmas as its setting.
Since it does its job so well as a third, it makes a great last film in the three movie marathon. It ends with a sing along to “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and should send the crowd home happy. Even if you have never seen the other films this one is still a treat. Enough has entered the culture and no one should have a hard time picking up where stoners who ate some burgers are as characters. So sit down and if you can, watch it in 3D, and have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!