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Sat, Dec. 07

What are the ‘Best Christmas Movies’?
From classics to new releases, lists offer variety and memories

A scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (File photo)

A scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” (File photo)

Holiday movies have a way of making audiences laugh and cry while inspiring those warm and fuzzy feelings that perfectly complement the season of family and giving. Depending on the individual, favorite movies may include old classics or new releases.

For your viewing pleasure this weekend, The Daily Courier offers the current “Best Christmas Movies” — what your friends and neighbors are watching — compiled from the internet and available on popular sites (where you can stream them right now), as well as rankings from Rotten Tomatoes.


Netflix, which arguably gives you the biggest catalog to choose from, with a variety of old school titles and modern classics (listed in no particular order):

• Bad Santa (2003) – A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve, but they run into problems. Terry Zwigoff’s popular and highly profane Christmas comedy stars Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graham and the late great Bernie Mac and John Ritter. (Also on Netflix right now is Bad Santa 2 (2016), the sequel, as Thornton’s sad sack mall Santa teams up once again with his angry little sidekick.)

• How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – On the outskirts of Whoville lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch who plans on ruining the Christmas holiday for all of the citizens of the town. Ron Howard’s feature-length adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic doesn’t check all of the boxes, but Jim Carrey’s wild performance (and his makeup) make it worth the watch.

• Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas (1999) – This anthology tale sees holiday-themed stories starring Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Catch this and other Mickey titles on Netflix.

Also popular on Netflix right now are “White Christmas” (1954), “The Search for Santa Paws” (2010), “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993), “The Ref” (1994), “Trading Places” (1983), “A Very Murray Christmas” (2015), and “Fireplace for Your Home” which is just a fireplace on your screen, complete with crackling sound effects, perfect for background entertainment.


Amazon Prime subscribers are watching a mix of modern and classic romantic holiday flicks:

• The Holiday (2006) – Two women troubled with guy-problems swap homes in each other’s countries, where they each meet a local guy and fall in love. The all-star cast features Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. Already considered a modern Christmas classic for many, it’ll at least give you a nice and warm feeling this season.

• I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003) – Linus and Lucy’s younger brother Rerun wants a dog for Christmas, and Snoopy’s brother Spike may be the answer. While not the absolute classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” it’s still nice to spend some time with the Peanuts crew this time of year.

• Frosty’s Winter Wonderland (1976) – Frosty’s kind of lonely, so the kids think of making him a wife, Crystal. But will Jack Frost let them be happy? From Rankin and Bass, this animated adaptation of the Frosty story features the voices of Andy Griffith, Shelley Winters and Dennis Day.

• Christmas with the Kranks (2004) – With their daughter away, the Kranks (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) decide to skip Christmas altogether until she decides to come home, causing an uproar when they have to celebrate the holiday at the last minute. Adaptation of author John Grisham’s book “Skipping Christmas.”

• Holiday Inn (1942) – At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer. Irving Berlin’s musical stars Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds.

Also popular on Amazon Prime are “A Merry Friggin’ Christmas” (2014) and “Christmas in Connecticut” (1945).


Hulu has some titles you’ll also find on Amazon, like “The Holiday” and “Christmas with the Kranks,” but also some exclusive flicks people are checking out:

• Daddy’s Home (2015) – A radio host (Will Ferrell) trying to get his stepchildren to love him and call him dad, but his plans turn upside down when their biological father (Mark Wahlberg) returns. With the sequel in theaters now, you might want to revisit its predecessor.

• Happy Christmas (2014) – After a break up, a young woman moves in with a writer, her filmmaker husband and their child. Despite a rocky start, she begins to realize that an evolution in her life, career and relationship is necessary for her happiness. Joe Swanberg’s quiet dramedy stars Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham Melanie Lynskey and Mark Webber.

• I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998) – A college student faces an impossible journey when he is left stranded in the desert, thousands of miles from home, with no money and only a few days left until Christmas. You know you wanted some Jonathan Taylor Thomas in your holiday viewing schedule.


Rotten Tomatoes lists 25 titles, following are the top 10:

1 – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore

2 – Miracle On 34th Street (1947), starring Edmund Gwenn (as Kris Kringle), John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, and Natalie Wood

3 – Holiday Inn (1942), starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, and Virginia Dale

4 – The Shop Around The Corner (1940), starring Margaret Sullivan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan, and Joseph Schildkraut

5 – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1967), voiced by Boris Karloff, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, and Eugene Poddany

6 – The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), voiced by Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, Glenn Shadix, and Danny Elfman

7 – Die Hard (1988), starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Reginald VelJohnson, and Bonnie Bedelia

8 – Arthur Christmas (2011), voiced by James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, and Jim Broadbent

9 – A Christmas Story (1983), starring Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, and Ian Petrella

10 – A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), voiced by Peter Robbins, Tracy Stratford, and Sally Dryer

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