So, you've finished "Elf" for the fifth time. "Home Alone" has been on since September. You've seen "It's a Wonderful Life" more times than you can count. Yup -- it's time for some new holiday movies for your annual winter watch-list. Here are nine overlooked gems you should make time for over the holidays.
'The Ref' (1994)
Denis Leary stars as a thief who takes a combative suburban couple hostage in what we might call the anti "Love Actually." The dark screwball comedy will make you squirm with uncomfortableness, but it's wickedly funny throughout.
'All I Want for Christmas' (1991)
Before Thora Birch became a Halloween queen in "Hocus Pocus," the adorable young actor stole the show in 1991's "All I Want for Christmas." Yes, the wild "Parent Trap"-like plot is a little ridiculous, but suspend your disbelief, people. This is a Christmastime children's movie. "All I Want" was far from a critical darling, but that doesn't mean it can't be one of your guilty holiday pleasures.
'The Family Man' (2000)
We're not gonna deny that the premise of this film is incredibly sappy: A slick Wall Street big shot gets a glimpse at what life could have been, had he married his ex and lived a simpler life in the suburbs. It's not a revolutionary idea for a feel-good film, but we always welcome Nicolas Cage's softer side. He doesn't steal the Declaration of Independence, but he does steal our hearts.
'Black Christmas' (1974)
If you think horror movies are just for Halloween, think again. Why not add a sorority house slasher to your holiday viewing repertoire? Just make sure the kiddies have gone to bed. This disturbing cult classic is ho-ho-horrifying.
'Last Holiday' (2006)
We pretty much dare you to not fall in love with Queen Latifah and her character, Georgia Byrd, in this cozy 2006 New Year's-set comedy. Nevermind the fact that the plot (woman finds out she's dying, blows her savings on the trip of a lifetime, touches the lives of everyone she meets in the process) is as corny as your Thanksgiving casserole. It's the kind of fun and uplifting entertainment that will give you an unshakable case of the warm and fuzzies.
If you're looking for a little holiday magic and you've already watched "Miracle on 34th Street" over a dozen times, the oft-forgotten "Prancer" is a good family-friendly option. Of course, a tale of a little girl forming a bond with a wounded reindeer is cheesy and unbelievable, but it's brimming with the kind of Christmas spirit we look for this time of year.
The contemporary take on Charles Dickens' classic is a must-watch for many, but it often gets lost amongst new favorites like "Elf" and "Bad Santa" nowadays. Don't neglect Bill Murray and his Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Or Carol Kane might hit you with a toaster.
'The Shop Around the Corner' (1940)
If you're a "You've Got Mail" fan, you should know that that film was inspired by this 1940 Jimmy Stewart gem about a pair of shop clerks whose pen pal relationship leads to unlikely romance. It's a charming, old fashioned, sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic comedy. And festive, too.
'The Ice Harvest' (2005)
You know what the Christmas season is lacking? Comedy thrillers about the mob, strip clubs, and sleazy lawyers. Thankfully, the late director Harold Ramis filled this gap with 2005's "The Ice Harvest." The twisted noir isn't exactly "Fargo," but it does the trick if you're feeling a little Grinchy and need a break from all that holiday cheer.