25 december 2012

The Best Motherf***ing Christmas Movies

Die-Hard-671x1024.jpgYes, it's Christmas - the perfect day to watch Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. That is, if you're over sixty and you spent last night celebrating the birth of Jesus. For the rest of us (stuck with a hangover from last night's hard liquor or from not getting the Christmas present we specifically requested), it's the perfect day to watch one (or all six) of these timeless Christmas gems.

 

1. Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)

 

To be honest, Renny Harlin's sequel is pretty damn good as well (and it also takes place on Christmas Eve) but the first one from John McTiernan isn't just a Christmas movie classic, it's the best action movie ever - turning TV star Bruce Willis into an cinema icon and finally giving Alan Rickman something better to do than to star in those eternally boring BBC miniseries.

 

2. Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992)

 

Tim Burton's first Batman movie was absolutely brilliant but this Christmas seasonal sequel is equally imaginative (Burton is back at the helm), hard-bitten (Michael Keaton is by far the best Batman ever), evil (Danny DeVito is mind-blowing as Penguin) and seductive (unless of course you hate women and didn't get turned on by Michelle Pfeiffer in that black leather cat suit; in which case you need to seek professional help).

 

3. Go (Doug Liman, 1999)

 

Three years before directing the excellent spy movie The Bourne Identity, Doug Liman cooked up this rather genius and dark teen comedy. It doesn't have the usual Christmas ingredients (although it does take place on Christmas Eve) but you just don't get that much snow in LA and no one really wants to hear White Christmas at a rave.

 

4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989)


A couple of years ago, I interviewed Chris Cunningham (the genius behind twisted music videos for - among others - Aphex Twin) and I asked him what his favorite movie was. It's a stupid question I rarely ever ask but somehow it came up and I guess I was also a bit curious to know what the director of Come to Daddy watches on a Saturday night. His answer: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. No, he wasn't joking - in fact he was actually quite passionate about it.

 

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick, 1993)

 

Probably the best puppet movie ever made - based on an irresistibly fun story by Tim Burton and featuring the catchiest tunes Danny Elfman has ever written. And you should know he used to be in a band called Oingo Boingo.

 

6. Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)

 

I was aiming for a top five but I already felt bad about excluding Home Alone so I just had to sneak this one in - because it's so deliciously dark and funny (and it always used to make me cry at the end).