Unconventional flicks for December
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Columnist
The holidays are not the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. For many, the season isn’t always cheerful or all fun and games. There are countless movies that feature the holidays played straight, but some tackle the subject in a more subversive way. All these flicks feature holiday content, but they also contain more serious content, and they’re about more than merely the festivities—just like the holidays in real life.
Bad Santa (2003)
Willie T. Sokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a crooked alcoholic mall Santa who robs the whole department store on Christmas Eve every year with his elf Marcus (Tony Cox). His plans and outlook take a turn when he befriends “The Kid” (Brett Kelly), a troubled child who thinks Willie really is Santa Claus. Equally hilarious and depressing, the sheer cynicism of this movie may hit close to home this holiday season. As a bonus, check out Bad Santa 2 (2016), featuring the original cast.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Legendary director Stanley Kubrick’s final film features Tom Cruise as Dr. Bill Hartford and Nicole Kidman as his wife Alice. After learning of Alice’s infidelity fantasies and a secret club from a friend, Bill travels through New York City at Christmas time for a night of wild adventure. Featuring mysterious costume shop owners, drug overdoses, and Illuminati-esque orgies, this long flick is most decidedly not cheerful or sentimental—all the more reason to put it on this list.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Truly the all-time goth kid classic for both Halloween and Christmas. This iconic Claymation Tim Burton musical has been immortalized in punk merchandise forever, but in case you’ve missed out: Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, stumbles upon another magical town with gifts, elves, and mistletoe. Inspired and misguided by this new holiday, Jack attempts to combine Halloween with Christmas and replace Santa Claus—with disastrous results.
Harry Potter (2001-2012)
So, maybe these aren’t explicitly Christmas movies. But each movie, which takes place over the course of a year or so, does feature scenes set during the holiday season. The scenes of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade in the snow are absolutely lovely. The Weird Sisters at the Yule Ball rock the place hard. Also, if you’re not feeling the holidays, there’s plenty of terrifying creatures and dark wizards ahead. If you don’t know what a Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, or Weird Sisters is, now is a great time to enter the world of Harry Potter!
Mean Girls (2003)
This movie is actually pretty hilarious, especially that Christmas scene (you already know which one I’m talking about). Nevertheless, it does touch on serious subjects, and may be the perfect film to indulge in when you’re having another mood swing and it’s not even December yet. “That’s the Jingle Bell! That’s the Jingle Bell! That’s the Jingle Bell Rock!”