My Top 10 Christmas Movies That Have Nothing At All To Do With Christmas
Everyone has a few oddball Christmas traditions, and some of those involve movies we tend to watch during the holiday season every year. Most normal people probably watch movies with some kind of holiday theme, or that are at least set during the holidays (I’m looking at you, Die Hard), but I’m not normal. I’m a weirdo.
Christmas can be a tough time of the year for a lot of reasons, and some Christmases are harder than others. So, whether you're a weirdo like me or just need a break from Christmas-everything for a little while, check out this list of my favorite Christmas movies that aren't about Christmas.
This one technically is kinda/sorta related to Christmas, but I always forget that it’s set during the holidays before I watch it. That’s probably because all I care about is watching Geena Davis transform from a frumpy housewife into a stone cold badass while Samuel L. Jackson cracks jokes beside her. There's also a really cool scene where she drinks a shot in a way that probably took 50 takes to get right, but it looks really sweet. There's action and comedy, and a bit with a doll that pees gasoline. It’s a fun time for everyone.
The first Jurassic Park came out during the summer of 1993, wasn’t set during Christmas, no one in the movie ever mentions Christmas, and there isn’t anything remotely connected to the holidays in any way. But for whatever reason, I get in the dino mood around the holidays, and turn to the original movie to satisfy my craving. Whether you want to check out the sweet Unix system they run the park off of, or you're just there to see the T-Rex holla, Jurassic Park is a movie that never really gets old. Also, they do move in herds!
I love everything about this movie. If you’ve never seen it, it’s about a couple of unlikely Irish assassins taking on the mob in Boston. They usually bumble their way through their numerous assassination attempts, but they get the job done in the end, and even manage to convince FBI Agent Willem Dafoe that they’re experts at it. It’s funny, has great action, and has nothing at all to do with Christmas. As an added bonus, it includes a pre-apocalypse Norman Reedus, for all you Walking Dead fans, along with the best bartender ever in the history of cinema.
This one’s a recent addition to my holiday watch list, but it’s a great one. Definitely not for kids, Deadpool proves that superhero movies can work for grown-ups, too. Just as long as they have enough immature jokes and potty humor, I guess. Whatever. It’s hilarious and fun. Go watch it. (Christmas makes a brief appearance during a memorable montage with a great pick-up line, but I don’t hold that against it.)
This will actually be my first holiday viewing of Stranger Things, which I fell in love with over the summer. If you didn’t catch it when it first popped up on Netflix, now’s the time to check it out. I won’t spoil anything for you, but the whole thing feels like somebody found a lost Steven Spielberg movie from the ‘80s buried in a time capsule or something. It hits all the right nostalgia notes, and the holidays are nothing if not a time for nostalgia. (Christmas lights make an appearance, but not in any sort of Christmasy (that’s a word; no need to look it up) way. The very end of the last episode takes place on Christmas Eve, but it only lasts a couple of minutes and is about as close to the holidays as the show gets. Go watch it.
This one’s about as far removed from Christmas as you can get, which is fine by me. It’s a fun little vampire movie about cool vampires that neither sparkle nor fall in love with teenage girls. It stars vintage Keifer Sutherland with a killer mullet, and features not just one, but both of the Coreys. And the grandpa from Gilmore Girls. And an actual grandpa, who’s dating the widow Johnson and uses Windex as cologne. And there's a dog named Nanook. And I think maybe Bill from Bill and Ted, but I was never entirely sure about that one and I'm too lazy to look it up.
Every Harry Potter movie is required Christmastime viewing, even if we all know that Prisoner of Azkaban is really the best one. I think all of the movies have at least one Christmas scene, but none of them really count, except for maybe in the first movie, when Harry gets his first present ever and says, “Happy Christmas, Ron.” Or maybe Ron says, “Happy Christmas, Harry." I don’t know for sure, but I do know they both say happy instead of merry, because that’s just how wizards roll in the United Kingdom. And, spoilers, Harry gets an invisibility cloak, which is pretty cool. All Ron gets is a crappy homemade sweater. Harry wins, like the Chosen One he always was.
Taking place during the Third Age of Middle-Earth, the Lord of the Rings trilogy doesn’t come anywhere near Christmas, which is fine by me. There are swords and magic and elves and giant freakin’ eagles, although everybody kind of hates the eagles. I don’t know why I get on a Tolkien kick during the holidays, but I always do. I also have the extended cuts of all three movies, which means I get roughly 12 hours of hobbity goodness out of them each year (even if approximately 10 of those hours are spent on the multiple endings in the last movie that go on for days). I don’t watch The Hobbit movies, though. They’re awful.
With Rogue One coming out later this week, you might think I put Star Wars on this list because the new movie got me in the mood for lightsabers and choking people with the power of my mind, but you’d be wrong. I’ve watched the original trilogy every Christmas since the first VHS copy of Return of the Jedi came out way back in 1980-something. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd, and I even kinda like the prequels. Not enough to include them in my holiday binge or anything, but I don’t hate them like most angry nerds. I also don’t watch The Force Awakens, because let’s face it. It wasn’t much of a sequel to Return. It was more of a soft reboot, which I kind of hate, but that Hollywood loves doing these days. (See also: Jurassic World.)
This is my favorite go-to movie for the holiday season. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but it encapsulates so much of my childhood that I can’t help but want to watch it each and every holiday season. I was the Commodore 64-playing Fred Savage in the movie, and my dad was basically Peter Falk. I loved all the sword and sorcery movies of the ‘80s, and The Princess Bride fit right in with all of them, but then did something crazy and added comedy. And it worked. I’d eventually read William Goldman's excellent novel the movie was based on, which would then lead me to discover the works of Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series, which is how I found out about satire. I can trace much of my life back to the first time I saw this movie, so I owe it a lot. The least I can do is watch it every year. It'd be inconceivable not to.