10 holiday movies we hate and 10 to watch instead
It’s hard to imagine that anyone ever thought this film might be good. Michael Keaton plays a musician with good intentions but a bad track record when it comes to keeping promises and spending time with his son. He dies in a car accident one snowy night and returns a year later as a talking snowman to set things right—a least until warmer weather turns his second chance as slushy as the premise of this movie.
A Christmas Carol
If it’s a story about second chances you want, you can’t beat Charles Dickens’ classic tale of holiday redemption in which miserable skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge gets schooled by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future on the joys of giving and the value of human kindness. For best results, choose the 1951 version in black and white, with Alistair Sims as Scrooge.
Ernest Saves Christmas
In this holiday reincarnation of the character he first developed for television commercials, actor Jim Varney plays Ernest, a clueless taxi driver in Orlando, Florida, who turns out to be Santa’s only hope for getting Christmas gifts delivered around the world after he decides to take a break from his annual Christmas Eve duty. It’s really no great surprise that this movie fell flat, KnowWhutIMean, Vern?
The Bishop’s Wife
This holiday classic teams Hollywood stars Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young in a story about an angel who responds to a bishop’s prayer for help in building a cathedral, and ends up helping him learn how to live. Along the way, the heavenly messenger turns the clergyman’s life upside down while charming his friends and family, in this heartwarming holiday comedy.
Eight Crazy Nights
Adam Sandler brings his boorish brand of comedy to two holidays –Christmas and Hanukkah—and then sets it to music. Sandler plays alcoholic and ne’er-do-well Davey Stone, who runs afoul of the law. The judge sentences him to perform community service, which gives him a chance to mend his ways, do some good and find the holiday spirit. Sandler’s character may find redemption, but the movie never does.
Miracle on 34th Street
When the Macy’s Santa turns up drunk, no-nonsense special events exec Doris Walker hires a replacement who calls himself Kris Kringle and claims to be the real Santa Claus. The old man proves to be very popular with customers at the department store, and a charming friend to Doris, her lawyer boyfriend, Fred, and her skeptical daughter, Susan. Kringle’s claims eventually land him in court where a judge must decide whether he should be sent to a mental institution, but Fred takes the case, Kris wins his freedom, and together they help Doris and Susan discover the true spirit of Christmas.
Santa with Muscles
This holiday movie stars Hulk Hogan as an swaggering millionaire who tries to elude the police by masquerading as a shopping-mall Santa, gets amnesia after a head injury, ends up believing he really is St. Nick, and tries to save an orphanage from an evil scientist. Need we say more? This film is so bad that was once ranked #1 on IMDB’s Bottom 100 movies.
It’s a Wonderful Life
On one magical night, an ordinary small-town guy named George Bailey discovers he is not the failure he imagines himself to be when a little Divine intervention helps him regain his perspective, restore his self-worth, and understand how deeply and profoundly “each life touches so many other lives.” Director Frank Capra’s classic, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, is the ultimate feel-good holiday movie.
Deck the Halls
Not even the comic talents of actors Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick were able to save this ill-conceived film about two feuding neighbors, one of whom is obsessed with creating an ostentatious Christmas display so bright that it can be seen from outer space.
Christmas may be more incidental than integral to this romantic comedy starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, but the clever plot and witty dialogue has made the film a holiday favorite since it first appeared in theaters in 1957.