It’s Christmas morning (or the first night of Hanukah), and I look in my stocking (or beneath my Menorah), and what’s the gift I see from Blast Magazine: a note telling me to assemble a list of the top 25 holiday movies ever made. Was I naughty or nice to get this assignment. Rewind three weeks, and this is the task put before me by Blast.
I found this a more daunting assignment than my previous list of top ten vampire movies. Holiday movies span all film genres and are far more numerous than vampire films. Plus, we’re talking top 25 here—not a measly 10.
So here we go…and for all of you who think A Very Brady Christmas should be on the list, it just missed at number 26.
25. The Hebrew Hammer (2003)
I don’t even know if this was in theaters, but it gained some life on Comedy Central. There aren’t too many movies with an ass-kicking Jewish guy in it, and Eight Crazy Nights was so bad it could never make this list. Here we have a Holiday movie that includes everything (Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa), and though you may think me ‘mishugina’ for including this, The Hebrew Hammer’s tagline alone makes it worthy: “If you’re in trouble…and you’re a Jew…and it’s not past Sundown on Friday…you should call The Hebrew Hammer!”
24. Barabbas (1961)
The first of the Biblical epics on this list that centers, directly or indirectly, around the life and times of Christ. This movie, starring Anthony Quinn, takes place in the days and years following the Crucifixion, as Barabbas, who was set free in place of Christ, struggles with a kind of survivor’s guilt and a very great question: is he a Christian? A spiritual exploration that anyone can appreciate during the Holiday season.
23. The Polar Express (2004)
Cutting edge animation and the voice of Tom Hanks characterize this children’s film in which a young boy boards a magical train bound for the North Pole. The estimated budget for this movie was a whopping $165 million. I’m not sure if it earned its money back, but this list isn’t about box office; it’s about good Holiday movies. And The Polar Express deserves a place among our top 25.
22. Love Actually (2003)
Interweaving storylines were all the rage a few years back. Crash, Babel, and a few others. Enter to the genre Love Actually, which tells the tale of a number of characters (including the Prime Minister of England) in London during the Christmas season. It’s the kind of movie you can picture Hugh Grant in, and, not surprisingly, Hugh Grant is in this movie: it’s lighthearted, feel good, and the perfect cup of holiday cheer—with the added flavor of being a little different in terms of its approach to storytelling.
21. A Christmas Tale (2008)
Let’s get in our sleigh now and fly across the Channel to go to France for A Christmas Tale. This film received a Palme D’Or nomination at Cannes and stars the great Catherine Deneuve. It’s the story of a dysfunctional family that must coalesce around a cancerous matriarch during Christmas, but it’s not as dour as you might think. The French can do comedy, and this film is a more uplifting, slapsticky version of The Ice Storm.