Enough with the same old lists of favorite holiday movies! Every year, I see the same entries, probably because there hasn't been a good Christmas movie in years. At least here at Cinematical we shake things up a bit and present you with our favorite Christmas horror, favorite Christmas action, favorite holiday musicals, favorite Christmas movies for Jews, favorites you probably haven't seen, favorite R-rated Christmas, Scrooge's favorites, least favorite obnoxious Christmas comedies and we have a guy who really hates the usual favorites, including A Christmas Story.
Last year we also had a list of non-Christmas movies set during Christmas. Somewhat similar to that, I present you with my favorite non-Christmas movies NOT set during Christmas. I know, that just defines any movie that isn't a holiday movie. I could pick ... Old School ... or The Hunt for Red October. But there's actually some logic here. On Christmas I like to avoid all true holiday movies, whether they are about Christmas, set at Christmas, make fun of Christmas, steal Christmas, blow sh*t up at Christmas, whatever. Yet there is enough holiday spirit in me to choose movies that could almost just barely be associated with Christmas, at least for me. So, if you're tired of It's a Wonderful Life, Gremlins, Home Alone, Santa Claus: The Movie, or whatever you normally watch today, try out one or seven of these:
My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)
I've never been a big fan of Santa Claus as a character. If I had to reinvent Christmas I'd choose another large jolly figure that brings joy to young children: the Totoro, specifically the largest, O-Totoro/Miminzuku. He's kind of like Santa without the annoying "ho, ho, ho", and he's probably more fun to fly with (the Catbus is likely also more comfy than a reindeer-led sleigh). Sure, Totoro's origins are more Shinto than Christian, but isn't appropriation what Christmas is all about?
Brewster's Millions (Walter Hill, 1985)
Or is Christmas really all about consumerism? The Richard Pryor and John Candy version of George Barr McCutcheon's novel (also adapted in 1914, 1921, 1926, 1935, 1945 and 1961) is one of my favorite movies that both celebrates and scorns the idea of being rich and the act of spending money frivolously (Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is another). In the movie, Pryor is a minor league baseball player who inherits $30 million that he has to blow in 30 days, after which if he's successful at maintaining no assets or savings, he receives $300 million. Another fun Pryor comedy that would make for great holiday viewing is The Toy, in which he's bought by Jackie Gleason as a plaything for his son (but that one might be viewed as a tad too racist nowadays).