Top 5 festive movies
Never has there been more of a reason to literally lockdown for a couple of hours and escape the outside world. Here are five of our favourite Christmas movies. There’s something for everyone – art, action, drama and lots and lots of laughs along the way.
The original Die Hard movie could easily be described as a cinematic vision of Grand Theft Auto as there is some serious carnage created around one central character. Bruce Willis plays John McClane who's at the centre of a whirlwind of chaos that is delivered in large portions, all you can eat buffet style with pithy, dark humour accompanying every mouthful. A word of warning though, don’t over indulge, a second (passable), 3rd (you'll be sick), 4th, 5th and 6th sitting was offered from Hollywood but they failed to deliver the quality of the original.
You don’t need us to remind you of the story, this is dark comedy and big time pyrotechnics. Think shoot ‘em up game with comic side notes and plenty of attitude. What’s not to like about that combo? There is no deep, evolving plot, it knows its place and doesn’t try to over reach, that’s why millions of people love it.
Bright light, bright light!
There’s always something cute and cuddly on offer around Christmas time. When Gizmo first appears you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is pure Hollywood cheese. A mogwai - the perfect gift for anyone at Christmas, right? But things take a dark and sinister (80’s) twist when the rules are broken.
These rules are pretty simple – no bright light, no food after midnight and no water. You’d say that anyone could manage that, but of course the rules get broken and bad stuff happens (a premonition of 2020).
The after effects of youths ‘laxed approach to mogwai care are not cute, they are viscous, their actions are manic and aligned to classic teenage rebellion as normality gets flushed down the loo. It has to be said the Gremlins are an absolute comedy classic, in fact they watch Comedy Classics so there’s little wonder. If you’ve not watched this in a while, sit back, relax and soak up the 80’s goodness, we guarantee the Gremlins singing Christmas carols will put a smile on your face.
There is nothing sophisticated about National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. We were going to say that is wasn’t clever either, but the reality is that it is a very clever concept, taking the worse of every kind of Christmas disaster and amplifying it until your ears bleed. Everything is ramped up, steroid boosted and supercharged at the Grizwalds family Christmas. From the tree to the dec’s, the family and the food, nothing is out of bounds.
Chevy Chase plays the determined and somewhat delusional Clark Grizwald, a man obsessed with creating the perfect Christmas for all his family. Clark’s Christmas wish is simple - everyone will have a good time, whether they like it or not.
"Worse?! How could things get any worse?
Take a look around you, Ellen! We're at the threshold of hell!!"
We can’t decide whether this is a parents worst nightmare or a dream come true? Leaving one of your kids behind is not good, but boy it makes for an entertaining film. The gags come thick and fast as the very young Macaulay takes on the baddies with all manner of hardwear in his homemade traps.
Home Alone takes us to a special place, somewhere that we’d all like to spend some time. A place where we can do whatever we want, eat anything we want and watch whatever we want. If you’re still unsure which side of the coin you’d take? We think it’s pretty unanimous, all the parents that we know would jump at the chance for some of this, they’d happily be Kevin and have the house to themselves. And that’s the point, we all want to do these things. Why? ‘Cause it’s fun, frantic and a complete escape from real life.
Look a little deeper and there’s also a real personal journey here, as Kevin McCallister proves everyone wrong with his ability to not only look after himself but the family home and neighbourhood as well.
Let it snow!
The Snowman is now 38 years old and still looking rather good in our opinion. The recipe here is so simple, we love it... and the ingredients, exquisite.
First you have Raymond Briggs enchanting story, a simple premise that captures the imagination of everyone – young and old. Then you add the stunning visuals, also originally created by Briggs, then some real magic dust, with an introduction from Bowie. We’re just going to stop there and breath all of that in.
This already tastes good, something that's sure to be a classic and we’ve not even got onto the music, which is scored by Howard Blake and famously performed by Peter Auty, not Aled Jones. “Walking in the air” was actually the only audio within the animation, testament to the emotionally rich storytelling of music and visual alone.
You know the product is good when it’s won awards and The Snowman won plenty of them, including a BAFTA. There is a real timeless feel to this film, it’s well worth reminding yourself of the beauty of this one and it’s nowhere near as annoying as Olaf.