Yes boys and girls, itʼs beginning to look a hell of a lot like Christmas time out there…
Trees are in windows and shoppers are throwing elbows. Turkeys are in fridges and we are wishing we had never burnt bridges. Our bank account is looking stuck but we are spending like we donʼt give a…. well you get the idea.
And over the silly season we all know how thoroughly vital a good old crimbo film can be to assist digestion, escape washing the pots or zone out from annoying relatives.
The trouble is… well they are generally all so darn awful. But to our extended Le Bonbon UK fam we say worry not, this year weʼve got your back!
We take a festive look at some worthy movies that are set around the holiday season, although not directly considered Christmas films.
But hey, who said that Hollywood needs to beat us over the head with sleigh bells, recycled folklore or dysfunctional American families around a dinner table for us to consider it a Christmas film?
This yearʼs eyebrow-raising Sundance Film Festival entry Tangerine, shot entirely on an i-phone, proved a transgender sex-workerʼs quest to seek out her pimp boyfriend and his cheating ways on Christmas eve can pack just as much of a festive punch.
In 2004, underrated Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai released the poetic 2046, about a science fiction writer, and his intimate encounters over successive Christmas periods.
The great Billy Wilder proved his worth in 1960 as a formidable comedy filmmaker with The Apartment, featuring an opportunistic Jack Lemmon, who climbs the corporate ladder by loaning out his apartment to his superiors for their misogynistic affairs over the festive season.
Christmas in Gotham? Who other than Tim Burton could weave such a dark bat-tale, when in 1992 the villainous Penguin waddled his way into the city to disrupt the Christmas spirit. The top-billed and pricey Batman Returns featured 90ʻs superstars Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, and a leather-clad Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.
Or howʼs about a dystopian Christmas? Monty Python writer Terry Gilliamʼs brilliant 1985 film Brazil illustrates how the wrongful arrest of a man over Christmas for a bureaucratic printing error sets off a string of calamities that lands him in hot water- and eventually love.
When we talk of a little rambunctious monster that should have never been let out of his box, causing pandemonium around the city at Christmas time, most people think of Kevin in 1990ʻs Home Alone. But in 1984, Steven Spielberg had kids checking under their beds for a very different ankle-biter. Gremlins was a major holiday season success and still proves itʼs worth as a palpable lounge room filler while that turkey is still in the oven.
From comedies like Trading Places to action films such as Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, of course the 80ʼs has more than itʼs fair share of watchable movies set around the time Santa is due for a stop-over. An honourable mention has got to go to the 1984 body-popping classic Beat Street, and The Treacherous Threeʼs bell-jingling performance of Santaʼs Rap.
So, to the Hollywood machine we say, save your petty Christmas cash cows!
We are no longer lured to cinemas over reincarnated Christmas specials. Frankly we care little if Ice Cube or Vin Diesel play an inept father on an accident-prone Christmas trip… and as for Rob Schneider playing the part of Rudolphʼs carrot? No thanks!
(Article written for Le Bonbon, UK, 1/12/2015)