The List: Deep-dive holiday movies for your break

Categories:  Opinions    The Arts
Thursday, December 10th, 2020 at 9:10 PM
The List: Deep-dive holiday movies for your break by Sam Bohen

Now that the turkey leftovers have been cleaned out of the fridge, and finals are over, it’s time for some much-needed rest and relaxation for the students of Edinboro University. And what better way to relax than by throwing a few logs on the fire and watching some holiday classics.

I’m sure you’ll see plenty of lists like this in the coming weeks, but I assure you, none of those will be like this one. This is a deep-dive list. A list filled with titles that will impress your relatives when you mention them around the roast beast (but do not actually gather, of course, because of the pandemic). This is a list of the best holiday movies that, most likely, you haven’t seen. And if you have seen them, kudos! The names on this list will probably be a little unfamiliar, but the same old movies get so boring (we get it, you like "Elf," everyone likes "Elf"), and that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t throw on your favorite flannel PJs and watch these five.

5) Jack Frost

"Jack Frost" is a delightfully bizarre movies from the '90s that stars Michael Keaton as Jack Frost, a musician with a wife and child. Jack is trying to get home from a gig when a blizzard hits and tragedy strikes. But, luckily, Jack gave his son, Charlie, a magical harmonica before he left for said gig. That night, Charlie builds a snowman and plays the magical harmonica and wakes up to quite the surprise: the snowman has come to life! It isn’t Frosty either, it’s his dead dad! Once Jack is able to convince Charlie that he’s real, the two have some wonderful winter fun, complete with a full snowboarding chase sequence with some bullies. Is Jack Frost teaching us a beautiful message about believing in the unknown, or is Charlie having a mental breakdown? You decide!

4) The Muppet Christmas Carol

We’re all familiar with the numerous works of Charles Dickens (at least, those of us in the English department are), and none of Mr. Dickens’ works is more famous than "A Christmas Carol." Which is exactly why that extraordinary novella needed to be adapted into a film starring the Muppets! Narrated by Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat (if these names sound made up to you, all the more reason to watch), "The Muppet Christmas Carol" follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, played by the incorrigible Sir Michael Caine. Kermit the Frog stars along Caine as Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s bookkeeping employee and father of Tiny Tim. The cast is star-studded with all the Muppets making an appearance somewhere along the way in Scrooge’s musical journey from the pinchpenny miser to the open-handed star of Victorian era England.

3) Scrooged

Now that you’ve watched an adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" for a younger audience, why not watch an adaptation for adults. "Scrooged" comes with all the swearing and adult situations you’re looking for. The films stars Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a wildly ambitious and successful network executive. Frank will (and has) done anything to get to the top of his industry, however because of his scrooge-like behavior (see what I did there?) he has driven away everyone in his life who cares about him. "Scrooged" is loaded with 1980s stars like Bobcat Goldthwait, Karen Allen and Carol Kane; Kane is also wonderful in "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and pretty much everything else she touches. "Scrooged" gives a more contemporary feel to the old classic story and it's truly quite hilarious along the way.

2) Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

What is there to say about a Finnish horror-thriller about a deranged Santa Claus that hasn’t already been said? For those unfamiliar with the film, "Rare Exports" works around the concept of a drilling company in Finland discovering a giant tomb on top of a mountain. Meanwhile, in the village at the bottom of the mountain, a young boy and his father prepare for Christmas. Long story short, the tomb turns out to be that of Santa Claus, who in this holiday film is a deranged, horned being that whips children who are misbehaved. Honestly, I don’t think I’m doing this film any justice by trying to describe it here. You really just have to watch it; it is absolutely bonkers. And who doesn’t love bonkers this time of year?

1) Die Hard

Let’s end the debate right here and now: "Die Hard" is absolutely a Christmas movie. How could it not be? The whole movie takes place on Christmas Eve at a Christmas party. Not only is "Die Hard" a Christmas movie, it just so happens to be the best Christmas movie. Bruce Willis stars as John McClane, a New York cop who flies out to Los Angeles to spend the holiday with his wife (they’re having marital problems, that’s why she lives on the other end of the country) and kids. John takes a limo with his driver and new best friend, Argyle, to surprise his wife at her work party at Nakatomi Tower. While there, a terrorist group storms the building to steal bearer bonds (that was a form of money in the '80s, apparently). The group is led by Hans Gruber, played by the incredible Alan Rickman, who would go on to play Harry Potter's Professor Snape. So you already know he’s an excellent bad guy (not that Snape was a bad guy, but this isn’t the time or place for that conversation). But what Hans Gruber doesn’t know, is that there’s a cop in the building. This film is loaded with explosions, gunfire, the dad from "Family Matters," all the best things that Christmas stands for. "Die Hard" is so good that watching this movie together is my favorite holiday tradition in our family. So, this holiday season I implore you to grab your popcorn and your family, and make a new holiday tradition by watching "Die Hard" together.

Sam Bohen is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at

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