Grab your bong, a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, and lets get this party started.
Okay guys, you know what time it is – Black Friday has come and gone (thank God), there’s a nip in the air, and all we wanna do is hibernate with our bong and get high as a frickin kite, eating Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, watching Macaulay Culkin essentially beat the shit out of some middle-aged dudes (spoiler alert).
Full disclosure: I am a 35 year old white cis female. Soooo my picks are definitely informed by my upbringing (Rudolph) and generation (Home Alone). So, no yelling! (OK ya filthy animal, you can yell).
10. Love, Actually
While proven by a few savvy writers to be a less-than-perfect movie, the intoxicating combination of Colin Firth and Emma Thompson keeps me under its spell. The saving grace is that it tries so hard to tell so many stories at once that none of the characters are fully formed. It is best that way, so we can focus on the glorious Bill Nighy fumbling around as a Mick Jagger-type fallen hero.
Strain: Purple Urkle
9. Home for the Holidays
While technically a Thanksgiving movie, this classic contains 1995 Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. We are talking midst-of-all-the-drug-drama Iron Man. Anne Bancroft plays their mother! Steve Guttenberg is the brother in law! A sort of 90’s Family Stone, it even shares peak Claire Danes. The writing feels like someone read your mother’s diary and Jodie Foster directs.
Strain: Grape Kush
8. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
For 100% pure childhood nostalgia, pop this on while you wrap gifts for the cousins and eat chocolate from the advent calendar (we won’t tell that you took the 22nd already). Aired originally in 1964, if you didn’t watch this as a kid I am not sure you were a kid (or at least, a white kid in North America). Usually put on in the rec room to occupy the kids at a holiday party, my mom loves this movie even more than me, and we watched it as a family as we chowed down on Gramma’s shortbread.
Strain: Critical Mass
7. Wizard of Oz
Every Christmas, the CBC used to play this Judy Garland classic every Boxing Day. Now, I haven’t had a TV in a decade but I still put this on while I recover from turkey and day drinking. Now, I know, this isn’t a holiday movie, but it certainly has all the tropes: a bratty kid, a villain, a universal moral, and family at the end. Plus, when you finally settle into your couch at home after a few days around your family, a bowl and some sing-a-longs are just what the doctor ordered.
Strain: OG Kush
6. A Christmas Story
Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker wants only one thing for Christmas: an air rifle. Alas, the adults in his life assure him he will only hurt himself and refuse to endorse his wish. Mayhaps they would like some legislation to control the sale of firearms to a nine year old? I kid, I kid. I once reflected that this movie is a lot like ketchup: If you didn’t grow up on it, it’s a hard taste to acquire. Repeated forced viewings by various paramours has led to a converted fan of this very 80s, very campy Christmas flick.
Strain: MK Ultra
Bill Murray stars in the modernization of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Grumpy and arrogant Murray is visited by three ghosts: of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Coated in heavy 80s morality, aided by the differential and whimsical performance of one of comedy’s greats. Bonus: Bobcat Goldthwait and a Danny Elfman-produced score.
Strain: Silver Haze
4. A Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton’s holiday triumph defined a generation of angst and cynicism. Danny Elfman is back, taking us on a stop-animation journey of a Halloween Town misfit stumbling into the wrong holiday world. Tired of Halloween, he attempts to bring Christmas cheer to his town, to no avail. He kidnaps Santa and assigns the Halloween Town residents to holiday tasks, making presents and singing carols. The ghouls and demons of the town make gifts that terrify Christmas Town residents and order is eventually returned. I “highly” suggest watching this at your orphan holiday gathering.
Strain: Buddah’s Sister
Generally I am one of those “Will Ferrell in small doses only por favor” types. But he won me over completely in this weird perfect Christmas movie we never knew we needed. Taking familiar themes from the genre—disbelief by bitter adults, the innocence of childhood, the eternal struggle of fitting in—and turning them on their head, complete with an ethereal Zooey Deschanel sing-a-long. Have I mentioned that I like sing-a-longs?
2. Home Alone
Ok, full disclosure: I never thought I would put this movie on any list I made. But it popped on TV last year while I was half drunk with my sister and her nursing son. Suddenly, I found myself doing that quiet guttural chuckle I do when things are really funny. Macaulay Caulkin’s take down of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern is every kid’s fantasy. But my favourite storyline now, as an adult, is Old Man Marley.
1. Die Hard
I have seen this debate on my feed every year: What is the best Christmas movie? Well, in my opinion, John McClane makes the festivities bearable. Barefooted and bloody, saving his wife (and her colleagues) from the evil (and delicious) Alan Rickman, this movie has it all: bad guys, good guys, bad cops and the underdog officer that saves the day; romance (complete with a happy ending); Bruce Willis being the badass we remember, delivering one liners that are part of our daily vernacular. Yippie-Kay-Yay Motherfuckers! It’s almost Christmas!!!
Strain: Purple Dragon
The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz as lost and lonely women brought back to life by Jack Black and Jude Law, respectively. I find a good spliff is necessary to believe Winslet would be charmed by Black’s awkward ’00s humour.
Miracle on 34th Street, the original. Natalie freaking Wood is the little girl trying to convince a bunch of adults that the mall Santa is real.
Stepmom, you know, in case you wanna cry your eyes out.
It’s a Wonderful Life, for the bleak but ultimately beautiful story of Depression-era American life.
White Christmas, BING CROSBY. Guys, sometimes I think Bing invented Christmas. Songs your mom will know all the words to and the carol we all have in our repertoire.