40 Best Christmas Movies (Part 3 – #20-#11)

Well, the weather outside might soon be frightful, but this list of movies sure is delightful. Enhance your 2021 Holiday experience with the right Christmas movies and I won’t make up any more stupid ass puns you have to read.

NOTE: Most of the movies on this list are widely regarded as Christmas movies, but about a fourth are not regarded as Christmas Movies in the slightest. I took some liberties to spice up the list by giving you some film suggestions that deal with the same or similar themes as Christmas movies or just feel like a Christmas movie. Feel free to argue with me about it in the comments.

Let’s continue the list with #20-#11…

20. Elf

ELF – Buddy (Will Ferrell) grew up in the North Pole, never realizing he was not a Christmas Elf like all of his friends. When he finds out the truth, he sets out for New York City to find the father he never knew. But Buddy isn’t used to the big city, and New York has never seen anyone like Buddy! “Elf” airs during ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas. (WB) BOB NEWHART, WILL FERRELL

Not nearly as excruciatingly sappy as I remember, Elf is a holiday classic for a reason. It features a very funny Will Ferrell being stupid. That’s it. Oh, and also there’s a lot of heart for the kids. (HBOMax)

19. Metropolitan

Basically, Succession goes to prep school. This razor-sharp comedy from the incomparable Whit Stillman (Love & Friendship, The Last Days of Disco) follows a nice boy but maybe/probably total hypocrite on student aid at Princeton, who gets sucked into the high drama world of debutante balls. Set over the course of Christmas break, the nice boy interacts with some of the most superficial teens imaginable as they wax poetic on their fucked up POVs on life and the world. The stand-out is Christopher Eigeman as Nick, who you may remember as Malcolm’s asshole teacher on Malcolm in the Middle. (HBOMax)

18. Lethal Weapon

It’s hard to imagine an 80s action movie that is more 80s than Shane Black and Richard Donner‘s original Lethal Weapon. The unironic macho male attitudes, the hair, that sexy, saxaphone score, it has it all. Sure, it gets quite problematic here or there but this is one of the best-paced films of its kind that set the gold standard for buddy cop movies. Mel Gibson plays a wild, broken cop with a death wish, reeling from the sudden death of his wife. He’s partnered with Danny Glover, a by-the-book company man on his way to retirement. When they uncover a black market heroin operation run by former special forces guys (including a menacing Gary Busey), their partnership is put to the test and nobody they love is safe. ($3.99 rental on Amazon)

17. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Overrated? Maybe. But when you look past all the Hot Topic hoodies and Spencer’s Gifts dildos, you’re left with an incredibly creative animated kids’ movie about ghouls thirsting to be cute. Sally, in particular, is a very atypical female lead for a mainstream movie at the time, let alone an animated kids’ movie, not particularly driven by her sexuality and/or femininity. Give it a rewatch, it’s easy to forget how good this one is. (Disney+)

16. Bad Santa

If you’ve never seen this because it just seemed like a Deadpool-esque “ooooh, we said “fuck” in a Christmas movie” stunt, give it a shot. It’s a lot deeper and nuanced than you might expect. Billy Bob Thorton plays a self-destructive alcoholic who has never known love but a mall Santa gig in Phoenix is about to change that. Recently departed comedic actors Bernie Mac and John Ritter are phenomenal here, but Gilmore GirlsLauren Graham might be best-in-show as Thorton‘s makeshift girlfriend with a Santa fetish. (Showtime + Paramount+)

15. GoodFellas

Probably the best film on this entire list, but just not the best Christmas movie. Featuring a sequence involving Christmas as well as a downright iconic bar scene involving The Ronettes’ “Frosty the Snowman” cover, this is a good alternative Christmas movie to those of us with ice water in our veins. There’s a lot of red, but it’s usually pouring out of people’s faces while they’re screaming and pleading for help. (HBOMax)

14. The Muppet Christmas Carol

I love Michael Caine in this movie, he’s so incredibly good especially considering he’s acting against a bunch of puppets, or Muppets, I should say. This is one of the best if not the best Muppet movie ever made with legitimately fantastic musical numbers, heartfelt drama, a wonderful message for young people, and just so much gol’ dang heart. (Disney+)

13. Gremlins

Takes all the best parts of Steven Spielberg, Chris Columbus, and Joe Dante, throws them into a blender with one of those ugly gremlins and creates a great movie that’s heartwarming, funny, and a bit scary all at the same time. Gizmo is the OG Baby Yoda so you fuckers better recognize. (HBOMax)

12. It’s a Wonderful Life

Old ass holiday movie starring Jimmy Stewart as a cynical butthole who gets his heart healed by the power of Christmas. Poorly received at the time, this is one I love because it reminds me of Christmas growing up. Its heavy-handedness works to its favor. (Amazon Prime)

11. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Even more of a classic for me than It’s a Wonderful Life is this short, wonderful animated tale of a young elf who wants to become a dentist and his journey with another outcast, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer. With some great musical numbers and maybe my favorite stop motion animation ever, it’s such a charming movie. ($9.99 purchase from Amazon Prime)

Kwanza Korner

1. The Black Candle

The only movie I found about Kwanza was this 2008 documentary starring Maya Angelou, Chuck D, and Jim Brown. Sorry folks, this is the only Kwanza movie that exists apparently. (Peacock and TUBI)

See you next Wednesday for the TOP TEN and a tribute to Boxing Day movies!

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