By Ross Miller
It’s that time of year again when everyone gets into the festive mood and settles down to watch at least one or two Christmas movies. It’s a festive law! But what to watch? Here’s a guide to some very worthwhile Christmas flicks:
It’s A Wonderful Life
This bona fide 1946 classic was directed by Frank Capra and stars Jimmy Stewart as a man who, after deciding life’s not worth living, is shown by his guardian angel what life would be like if he hadn’t existed. It’s surprisingly dark to begin with but ultimately warms your heart with arguably the most uplifting ending of all time.
Where can I watch it? Christmas Eve, Channel 4, 1:10pm. Also re-released in cinemas nationwide.
For any child of the 1990s this is perhaps the Christmas movie. A young Macaulay Culkin stars as a boy accidentally left home by himself at Christmas where he has to deal with two pesky burglars. It’s playful fun from start to finish and leaves you with that warm fuzzy Christmas feeling.
Where can I watch it? Friday December 27th, E4, 8:00pm
Will Ferrell’s brash style of comedy isn’t for everyone but he is perfectly cast here as the excitable, always happy Buddy the Elf, who travels to New York to find his biological father. It’s about the pure, unadulterated joy of Christmas as Buddy spreads the cheer to even the most cynical of people. This will have kids and adults alike chuckling.
Where can I watch it? Friday December 20th, Sky Movies Christmas, 2:45pm
One for action fans out there, you might not immediately think of this as a Christmas movie but lest we forget the plot is set around that time. This is easily one of the best action movies ever made, making a star of Bruce Willis and producing a slew of wannabes that have never quite bested it, including it’s own sequels.
Where can I watch it? Friday December 20th, E4, 9:00pm
Tim Burton made Johnny Depp a household name with this 1990 classic about an artificially created man with, as the title suggests, scissors for hands that is taken in by a suburban family. It’s moving, funny and sad all at once. The film’s tagline perfectly sums it up: “His story will touch you, even though he can’t.”
If you fancy catching a movie on the big-screen this season then there’s still time to see Disney’s delightful part-musical animation. Though technically not a Christmas-set film per se, it nevertheless conjures that seasonal feeling, not least in the character of Olaf, an eternally happy snowman brought to life by magical powers. One for all the family.
Where can I watch it? In cinemas nationwide.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Everyone can relate to the central plot of this film: a family trying to have a nice pleasant Christmas but chaos ensues when (unwanted) family members arrive to join in on the fun. Chevy Chase is hilarious as the increasingly annoyed father while Randy Quaid steals the show as loudmouth Cousin Eddie.
Where can I watch it? Friday December 20th, Sky Movies Comedy, 6:15pm (shown daily thereafter).
And now for something completely different…
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
This Finnish film takes the idea of Santa Claus and turns it on its head. It centres on a group of reindeer herders who discover a sacred grave within a mountain. As it turns out, the occupant is the original source of Father Christmas who wants to punish the naughty children rather than reward the nice. It’s a brilliantly dark piece of filmmaking that definitely provides something a little bit different.
Where can I watch it? Christmas Day, Film4, 12:45am
Not everyone loves Christmas, something movies don’t usually tell us and no more is that personified than in Billy Bob Thornton’s titular Santa who swears like a trooper, drinks to excess and uses his power as a trusted mall Santa to steal, with the help of his trusted “elf.” Definitely not suitable for the kids, this is foul-mouthed hilarity not for the easily offended.
Where can I watch it? Thursday 19th December, Sky Movies Christmas, 1:15pm (daily thereafter).
There are many horror films centred around Christmas but this 1974 slasher film (which spawned an inferior remake) is one of the best. A sorority house is terrorized by a mysterious stranger who kills off the students one-by-one. At times disturbing and always suspenseful, this pre-cursor to John Carpenter’s Halloween brings scares to the Christmas season.
Where can I watch it? Christmas Eve, Horror Channel, 11:00pm
What’s your favourite Christmas movie? Tweet us @scotcampus and we’ll share online.