There are a lot of things to love about Christmas.
Long country walks.
Oh, and there are Christmas movies.
Seriously, there’s not much better than snuggling on the sofa, freshly popped popcorn by your side, and a Christmas movie on the box.
I have my own tradition at home that I love to watch a blockbuster movie on Christmas Eve while doing any last-minute wrapping. The remainder of the holiday season though, I’m ALL about the schmaltz. The more sentimental, the better, right?
Like many families, I suspect, we almost never buy DVDs any more – everything we watch is streamed or downloaded. We are big users of Sky On Demand and Sky Movies in our house – and never more so than at Christmas.
If you’re not already a Sky Movies customer, did you know that you can win your family 12 months of Sky services – for free – this Christmas? All you have to do is create and upload a sprout-flavoured festive version of your favourite movie. Then you can share it with the #SproutMovies hashtag.
If you’re in need of a laugh, here’s our 90 second Star Wars Christmas movie. Complete with sprouts.
Oh, and while you’re at it, here’s my definitive list of the most schmaltzy, festive, brilliant, warm and fuzzy, can’t-miss-em Christmas movies, including a few the kids will enjoy, and some best enjoyed while sprawled on a sofa with a large glass of mulled wine. And a mince pie, obvs.
Ultimate Christmas Movie List (Sprouts Optional)
Endlessly quoted by just about everyone you know, this tale of a man-child set loose on a Manhattan Christmas is still good enough to make you laugh on the 10th time round. I don’t think I could be friends with someone who didn’t laugh at this movie. I know. But it’s THAT good.
“I like to smile, smiling’s my favourite.”
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
A work of anarchic genius that older kids will love – there are faulty fairy lights, tree infernos, exploding turkeys, turbo-power sledding and mad relatives. What’s not to love? And at the heart of it all is a family guy who just wants everyone to love Christmas.
“Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I couldn’t be more surprised”
Just Friends (2005)
This is one of my favourite festive flicks – it tells the story of Chris (Ryan Reynolds) a former fat geek who grows up to be a cool LA producer type. Chris gets stuck in his home town one Christmas along with a psychotic Paris Hilton lookalike – and runs into his high school crush. It’s a sentimental romance at heart, but there’s a healthy dose of edge, violence and sharp humour. There’s quite a lot of bloodshed. But it’s funny bloodshed.
Jamie slaps Chris
Chris: You slap like a cheerleader
Jamie punches him in the face
I’ll confess I’m not a big fan of It’s a Wonderful Life, tending to think that actually George Bailey’s life seems a bit rubbish, all things considered (this is probably why people tell me I’m dead inside). Anyway, I love a good pastiche, and Gremlins is about as good as it gets – small town America goes haywire at Christmas after cute critters turn feral. Awesome.
The most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight.
Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Of all the versions of the Dickens classic, including the tedious and borderline sinister Jim Carrey version, this is hands down the best version of Christmas Carol. It’s got great songs, it’s laugh out loud funny, and not TOO scary to watch with little kids. And watch the credits for some great in-jokes including a credit for Rizzo’s personal caterer.
Rizzo: Boy, that’s scary stuff! Should we be worried about the kids in the audience?
Gonzo: Nah, it’s all right. This is culture.
Fred Claus (2007)
Most movies about Christmas focus on Santa but this one’s all about his older brother, Fred (Vince Vaughn), who ends up working at the North Pole, while evil management consultant Kevin Spacey is trying to shut down Santa for efficiency failings. Slightly weird special effects aside, this is for you if you think you’d laugh at Santa having a full-on fist fight with another man, or at someone corrupting the elves in the workshop with a bit of Elvis. It’s not high culture but the sibling support group Fred attends, along with Stephen Baldwin and Roger Clinton is genuinely funny. Didn’t deserve the hammering it got when it was released, I don’t think. Rachel Weisz’ accent is risible, though.
I think it’s amazing, he can fly around a million houses in one night, breaking and entering … scaring little children while they’re sleeping, steal all the food, eat little kids’ cookies. I get jacked out of my mind just thinking about all those laws being broken …
While you were sleeping (2005)
A Sandra Bullock Christmas movie. Yes, it’s schmaltzy, but who doesn’t identify with a single girl who accidentally gets engaged to a guy in a coma, and then realises she’s really better suited to his brother (Bill Pullman). I mean, it’s the sort of thing that happens to me ALL the time. Not strictly relevant, but Bill Pullman has a great fringe in this movie.
I’ve had a really lousy Christmas, you’ve *just* managed to kill my New Year’s, if you come back on Easter, you can burn down my apartment.
The Holiday (2006)
It’s got Jude Law in it. Lit by firelight. Wearing Christmas sweaters. And he shags a slightly pathetic drunk woman. You understand why I love this movie already, I know.
Hannah: God, I’ve just noticed how pathetic you are.
Iris: Really? I’m *so* aware of it.
Home Alone (1990)
If you’re looking for a movie to watch with kids, this is one of Flea’s all-time favourites – the classic tale of a family that leave one of their kids home alone over Christmas. And then the house is targeted by the world’s most inept burglars.
It turns out that a kid who rigs booby traps and inflicts unimaginable pain on strangers is the height of humour when you’re five years old. This one is packed with 80s retro charm, and some real feel-good moments.
Kevin’s Mum: How could we do this? We forgot him.
Kevin’s Dad: We didn’t forget, we just miscounted.
Kevin’s Mum: What kind of mother am I?
Kevin’s Dad: If it makes you feel better, I forgot my glasses.
The Family Man (2000)
If you can get past gawping at just how beautiful Tea Leoni is, apparently without even trying, this is a cute take on a time-travel/alternate timeline story, when single investment banker Jack (Nicholas Cage) wakes up in another life, married, with a young family – because the younger him took a chance on the love of his life. Cue lots of wry laughs about Christmas with kids, and the romantic struggle of trying to recapture lost loves. Sniff.
This one is a complete slush-fest but it’s got John Cusack in it and hell, Nick Drake is on the soundtrack, so it’s quality slush. Basically, Jonathon (Cusack) meets Sara (Kate Beckinsale) while out Christmas shopping. Since she’s attached, she decides to leave it up to destiny to see if they’re meant to meet again – and puts her phone number into a second-hand book. What? That could happen. Anyway, it’s thoroughly lovely and I defy you not to feel warm inside when you watch it – and it’s a thousand times better than Love, Actually.
“You don’t have to understand. You just have to have faith. In destiny.”
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
This is pretty much the best EVER ‘home for the holidays’ movie and although strictly speaking it’s about Thanksgiving, it’s winter so it still totally counts. Basically, Steve Martin and John Candy get stuck driving across America together and you have a road movie with two comic geniuses. It doesn’t get much better.
‘Honey, I’d like you to meet Del Griffith, he’s got some amusing anecdotes for you. Oh, and here’s a gun so you can blow your brains out. You’ll thank me for it.’
So those were my favourite schmaltzy Christmas movies – did I forget any of your favourites?