Just as we were beginning to get into the holiday spirit, Omicron popped up to keep us all cooped up at home again. But just because night curfews and capacity limits are back in the headlines doesn’t mean you can’t have yourself some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer. All you need is a few loved ones, a carafe of mulled wine, and the DeadAnt Xmas comedy binge-list.
Here’s seven classic Christmas movies that are sure to put you in a festive mood for the holidays.
1. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (Hungama Play)
Six years after their daring escape from Guantanamo Bay, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are estranged and leading quite different lifestyles. Harold, now sober, is a successful Wall Street banker while Kumar’s life has continued to follow the Cheech and Chong trajectory. When a mysterious box arrives for Harold at the apartment the duo used to share, Kumar decides to deliver it to his estranged friend. That sets up a frantic hunt for a Christmas tree after they accidentally end up burning the one belonging to Harold’s Mexican-hating father-in-law (Danny Trejo).
A quintessentially Harold-and-Kumar comedy-of-errors follows, as the two bumble their way around Manhattan in search of the perfect Christmas tree. After a betrayal over a tree reservation, an SUV accident, and a few positive racist stereotypes, things come to a satisfactorily high ending. Protip: this one is definitely not family-friendly.
2. Why Him? (Disney+ Hotstar)
Director John Hamburg returns with his third contribution to the problematic premise of “parents seeing their possible son-in-law,” this time with a new-age twist. Bryan Cranston plays the jovial head of a printing press who is taken aback when his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) reveals that she has a tech billionaire hipster boyfriend named Laird (James Franco).
Laird’s life as a physically affectionate, paperless puppy dog is completely at odds with that of a small-town printing firm owner who is irritated by his daughter’s choice of partner. Buoyed by brilliant performances from Cranston and Franco, the film focuses on the culture clash between these two diametrically opposed men in Stephanie’s life. The plot may bit of a tired cliché, but it makes for easy, breezy post-Christmas lunch viewing.
3. Klaus (Netflix)
Despicable Me creator Sergio Pablos continues his tradition of making heart-stirring family flicks with his directorial debut Klaus. The first Netflix original animated film, Klaus opens with Jesper, a pampered teenager (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) who has enraged his father, the Royal Postmaster General. His father banishes him to the dismal island of Smeerensburg, near the Arctic Circle, for fear of what the future may bring for him.
Jesper is informed that if he does not deliver 6,000 letters by the end of the year, he will never taste luxury again. The plot follows Jesper as he travels to Smeerensburg, where he enlists the support of the town’s children by urging them to write letters to Klaus, a retired toymaker (voiced by JK Simmons). Klaus is a unique Santa origin story set in a stunningly beautiful winter-world. What’s not to love?
4. Home Alone (Disney+ Hotstar)
There can be no Christmas movie list without this classic. The reboot may be getting some not-so-great reviews, but the Macaulay Culkin-starring original still stands tall. When eight-year-old Kevin McCallister is unintentionally left behind by his family amidst a last-minute scramble to make their flight to Paris, he revels in his newfound freedom as master of the house, living out every one of his pre-teen fantasies. But danger lurks, as his house is targeted by two burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) who are hell-bent on robbing the McCallisters of everything they own.
But they didn’t count on Kevin, who has a merry time confounding “the wet bandits”, adorning the house with complex and painful booby traps. Surprisingly violent, the film revels in its absurd slapstick comedy, earning a well-deserved reputation as an all-time Christmas favourite.
5. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Netflix)
This Dr. Seuss tale takes place within a snowflake, where the good people of Whoville are looking forward to the Christmas holidays. All expect Mr Grinch (Jim Carrey), that is. His hate for the occasion leads him to ‘steal Christmas,’ robbing people of their decorations and gifts. And that is the setup for one of the most beloved and successful Christmas movies ever made.
Thanks to his witty one-liners and Oscar-winning make-up (as well as his natural rubber-facedness), Carrey steals the show as the film’s conniving, curmudgeonly protagonist. Name one other actor who could have pulled off that cheese-eating scene.
6. A Bad Moms Christmas (Amazon Prime Video)
A sequel to all-star 2016 comedy Bad Moms, this Christmas film follows Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell) and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) as their busy Christmas preparations are interrupted by the arrival of their mothers, who drive the three nuts in their own individual ways. A Bad Moms Christmas is a wholesome film about motherhood and family wrapped in a raunchy, slapstick caper, featuring excellent—if sometimes over-the-top—performances by a star cast that also includes Susan Sarandon and Christine Baranski.
Returning writers/directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore manage to replicate the seamless structure of the original, giving us a holiday movie that you may want to watch after you tuck the kids into bed.
7. The Christmas Chronicles (Netflix)
This film is worth watching to see one-time action star Kurt Russell put on the red suit and strut around as “DILF Santa” (The A.V. Club’s words, not mine). In this update of the classic “kids save Christmas” formula, the Pierce kids Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis)—struggling with the death of their father—somehow stumble their way into stowing away on Santa’s sleigh, resulting in runaway reindeers and a calamitous crash-landing. With the world’s Christmas spirit ebbing, Santa and the Pierces set out to save the holiday.
There’s a wonderful musical performance featuring Kurt Russell—who has portrayed both Elvis Presley and an Elvis imitator in films—rocking out in a prison cell. Russell’s star power elevates the film beyond its Hallmark-derived plot, making it an emotional and festive rollercoaster.