Geek Dave looks at ten of the best alternative Christmas movies...
We all have our favourite Christmas movies that we like to watch every holiday season, from The Muppet Christmas Carol to The Polar Express, from Elf to Miracle On 34th Street and so on. But as well as the ones filled with festive cheer there are a heck of a lot of alternative Christmas movies out there. Movies full of guns, drugs and prostitutes that just happen to be set around Christmas time. So let's look at 10 of the best...
The film opens to the sound of Jingle Bell Rock, but soon a semi-naked girl is seen taking drugs and then plunging to her death! Happy Christmas eh? Lethal Weapon has Christmas Trees, and guns, and attempted suicide, and it's also the buddy cop genre at it's best. Riggs' redemption and shared Christmas with his new partner are heartwarming moments that feel even more special during the festive season.
Iron Man 3
Look, it's Tony Stark making Snow Iron Man-Angels!
The third Iron Man movie was my favourite one yet. I know some people didn't like Ben Kinglsey's take on The Mandarin but I thought it was a refreshing change of character. The Christmas setting is purely incidental to the movie, although you could argue that 'Harley' is the ghost of Christmas past for 'Tony Stark', either way it doesn't matter. This is one that will likely figure on my future Christmas play list for many a year.
The Long Kiss Goodnight
So, apart from being set at Christmas, what do the first two movies and this one have in common? The answer is Shane Black, he penned all three of them and must really have a thing for the festive season (he is also responsible for Kiss Kiss
Bang Bang and The Last Boy Scout, both set at Christmas too). Nothing says Christmas time quite like guns and amnesia, and The Long Kiss Goodnight provides both whilst making good use of it's Christmas setting. Pop it in the DVD player and I bet you'll say "Whatever happened to Geena Davis?"
There is one man in the movie industry who likes Christmas almost as much as Shane Black, and that's Tim Burton. As well as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands he also set the 1992 Batman sequel, Batman Returns, at Christmas time. It's a very different Christmas film. The holiday celebrations in Gotham City include snowfall, a giant Christmas tree, and a big red box shaped present that when opened reveals a circus-themed crime gang! Michael Keaton still remains the best Batman to date (fact), and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman is a real Christmas treat - you can almost picture her singing "Santa Baby"!
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
George Lazenby's one time outing as James Bond is quite underrated in my opinion. After marrying Emma Peel he got to spend his Christmas Eve surrounded by
beautiful women on a snow-dusted mountaintop.
Shame about the very crap-looking Christmas tree!
Merry Christmas, 007.
Bruce Willis at his very best. Die Hard is the perfect alternative Christmas movie. An ordinary man just wants to spend Christmas with his wife, but to do so he has to battle terrorists high up in Nakatomi Plaza. Has their ever been a better villain than Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber? Between this installment and the sequel, also set at Christmas time, I wouldn't be surprised if they permanently cancelled celebrating Christmas in the McClane household.
Not surprisingly In Bruges is set, er, in Bruges at Christmas time. Two Irish hit-men Ken and Ray are sent by the Londoner mobster Harry Waters to Bruges. While Ken (Brendan Gleeson) enjoys the historic city, Ray (Colin
Farrell) feels completely bored and misses his home. The fellow hitmen blunder their way through the darker recesses of the city. The ho ho ho comes from the dark comedy throughout.
Wars have been started (probably) over disagreements whether Gremlins is a kids film or not, but one things for sure this ain't your average Christmas movie. Amongst all the anarchy, there is a scene where someone dies in a chimney whilst dressed as Santa! Doesn't sound like a kids film does it? All the same it is a classic. Just don't feed them after midnight!!
Trading Places is a Prince And The Pauper style Christmas movie. It's very funny, and quite cruel, with an underlying fable about money not being
important... it's love and family that matters. Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd are superb throughout. It's very much an 80s movie, but is still a really enjoyable watch. Look out for the drunk and depressed,
In Terry Gilliam's Orwellian satire, it's Christmas everyday in the future world of Brazil. Roy Wood's Wizard must be earning a fortune in royalties!
The film opens with a
mother telling her child about Santa's impending visit down the
chimney when suddenly paramilitary police descend through the
ceiling, grab the kid's father and put him in a sack! It's the ultimate antidote for Christmas schmaltz.
What are your favourite alternative Christmas movies?
Let us know in the comments below.
Follow Geek Dave on Twitter