Lets get this out of the way. Die Hard IS a Christmas film. It's set at an office Christmas party on Christmas Eve, it's full of Christmas music, Tony comes down in the elevator with a santa hat on, people give gifts, it snows at the end and Johns wifes name is Holly!!!
But, if you disagree, I've scheduled it far out from the 24th.
A recent gem of a Christmas musical from Netflix thats full of modern music, representation and British talent! Music is by John Legend and Forest Whitaker has quite the voice!
The newest film on the list. Released a few weeks ago and only viewable on Apple TV+, Spirited starts a little slowly but gradually pulls you into its charming reinvention of A Christmas Carol. Full of humour and festive joy with wonderful Pasek and Paul songs.
My tip - if you don't have Apple TV+, wait until you've time and then take out a free months trial. Enjoy Spirited and binge your way through Ted Lasso, Severance, The Morning Show, Coda, Pachinko, Fraggle Rock... and all the great content they have.
A wonderfully funny and relatively new Christmas movie starring Kristen Stewart as Abby and the eternally watchable Mackenzie Davis as Harper, together they're a couple who'll be spending Christmas with Harper's family. The hijinx arrives when it emerges the family are deeply conservative and Harper hasn't yet come out to them.
Sounds cliched but in reality this is a lovely feature about being true to yourself.
How has Arthur Christmas fallen under the radar so quickly? This is a wonderful animated movie full of Christmas spirit, good humour and fart jokes. It also has Bill Nighy singing one of my favourite songs over the credits. A must for kids small and big!
One of the curveball choices. This is a Japanese animation and not one for younger viewers. It tells the story of an oddball homeless trio who find an abandoned child on Christmas Eve and seek to find the parents. It might not be the most chrismassy movie on the list but has a great heart and will leave you with the important warm fuzzy feeling this time of year calls for.
Joulutarina (A Christmas Story)
Ready for some subtitles? Good. Joulutarina is a Finnish movie that retells the origins of Father Christmas. There's nothing big or boombastic here, no elves in a workshop; this is a rather quiet and gentle feature that shares a human tale. The good news is that it's inexpensive to rent or buy from Apple in the UK and I reccomend you give it a go.
Anna And The Apocalypse
Time for some silliness. This British film is big in the USA, hardly known over here in UK. Simply, this revolves around a group of teens in a school about to head to University who wake to find a zombie invasion at Christmas. And it's a musical. A teen RomComZomSong!
Jingle All The Way
How far would you go to get your child the gift they most desire for Christmas? This is the classic Arnie screwball slapstick comedy from the 90s that takes a heavy look at commercialism and concludes maybe all we need for Christmas is each other.
Miracle on 34th Street
I've chosen the 1994 version of this story, not just because it's the one I saw at the cinema as a teen, but because I find it irresistibly charming. It's perfectly pitched, told simply and lacking cynicism. Yes, Richard Attenborough really is Kris Kringle.
A war film is an odd setting for a festive movie. Joyeux Noel focusses on the Christmas Truce of 1914, the futility of war and the benefits of learning about others cultures and viewpoints. For me, this is as worthy a choice for a Christmas film as any movie with Santa Claus.
The first time I watched Last Christmas I hated it with a passion. Without spoilers lets say, it has some extremely unrealistic moments and scenarios. The following year a second viewing with knowledge left me in more of an open mind and it allowed me to see just how warm this movie's heart is as well as appreciate its love of Christmas. London has rarely looked this beautful on screen as it weaves through many spots enjoyed by locals.
Dash & Lily
This isn't a film, it's a very short limited series on Netflix that you can watch in an afternoon. It follows Dash who hates Christmas but finds a mysterious notebook full of clues in his favourite bookstore. Watching one thought crossed my mind, whoever wrote and directed this was very influenced by Cameron Crowe. And that tell's you everything you need to know about why I enjoyed it.
Part one of a two night horror double bill. This is a Finnish film that's not for kids. Has the tomb of an evil Santa been uncovered? That's all I'm saying.
A family's fighting at Christmas causes a child to lose their Christmas spirit, unleashing the wrath of Krampus. Some great gross practical effects come in this horror comedy that pairs delightfully with "The Devil of Christmas" episode of Inside No. 9.
The Night Before
Silly, goofball, stoner comedy from Seth Rogen and friends. What happens when three friends try to gain access to the exclusive Nutcracker Ball? A very fun movie is what happens.
Christmas in Billy Wilder's beloved 1960 film gives us a real Christmas. One that can be joyful, but also one that can be quiet and lonely. But more than that it offers us the idea that Christmas can bring us time for reflection, thankfulness and hope. If you've never seen it, now's a great time to sit and marvel in it's perfection.
It's tradition I enjoy Gremlins every Christmas. You might question whether it's a Christmas movie, like Die Hard you can debate this point. For me it's a film about love and friendship thats set at Christmas that has a dash of counter culture asking if giving expensive gifts is really all that Christmas should be about. OK, it has muderous monsters that terroise a town, but even that town is caked in picture perfect Christams snow.
You can't have Christmas without this movie. It's so simple and to me feels like a roaring log fire on the coldest of Christmas nights.
A thousand cross cut plots shouldn't work. But this does. Love Actually is full of every human emotion from the joy of a first love to the soul destroying moment of realising love may indeed be lost. But through it you're reminded via it's coda that love (as imperfect as it can be) is actually everywhere and to me that's all christmas should be about.
Home Alone 2
I feel this is the better of the Home Alone films. Possibly due to the romantic in me that loves New York, possibly due to the plots of the toy store owner and Brenda Fricker's pigeon lady. Home Alone 2 just feels more magical to me than the original.
If you haven't seen Klaus on Netflix, then just get onto it now. Thats all I'll say. Then maybe all who know of it's charm will stop telling you to watch it every year.
Its A Wonderful Life
You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down.
One of the greatest movies of all time, surely? It's We're told the life story of George Bailey and in so doing we're all reminded of our worth in the world. This film makes you appreciate all those around you that you might take for granted - tell them how much they mean to you, it is Christmas after all. Pure magic.
Muppet Christmas Carol
This year you can now watch in it's original form. The infamous and beautiful song When Love Is Gone has been found after a 30 year search and reinserted. Whats more, the ending of this classic will now actually make sense with it's recall of "When Love Is Found". You'll find this version under Extras on the Disney+ page for the film.
Elf & Music
Elf endures purely as it lacks any cynicsm. It makes you smile, brings the joy and then says goodbye. It's perfect.
If you're not watching films today then a bonus gift is my laid back playlist of christmas music. Load up and just hit shuffle. Load on Apple Music. Load on Spotify.
One more thing... As it's Christmas, two vouchers will appear on this page. An amazon one between 12-6pm, an apple one between 6-11pm. Maybe trest yourself to one of the films on my list? First to use, gets!
Amazon £5 voucher: MK9Z-7N6CVN-AABW
To enjoy this week
In and Of Itself,
The Banshees of Inisherin,
Fire of Love,
Welcome to Wrexham,
The Bobs Burgers Movie,
See How They Run,
The Shape of Water,
Netflix: Hasan Minhaj: The Kings Jester, Trevor Noah: I Wish You Would, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Matilda The Musical (2022), Pinocchio (2022), Another Round, Whiplash, About Time, tick, tick... Boom!, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Derry Girls, Better Call Saul, Wonder
Amazon Prime: Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Holiday, Baby Driver, The Edge of Tomorrow, Little Shop of Horrors, Real Steel, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Cyrano, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dead Poets Society,
Apple TV+: Severance, Ted Lasso, Coda, Central Park, The Morning Show, Bad Sisters
BBC iPlayer: Inside Man, Chloe, Ghosts, Booksmart, The Edge of Seventeen, Moonlight, Man on The Moon, Citizen Kane, The Red Shoes (Fri Jan 6th, 2pm, BBC 2)