Christmas Films for Those Who Despise Christmas Films

Christmas Films for Those Who Despise Christmas Films

Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” with its opening act set against the backdrop of the final days before Christmas, is a great choice if you want a picture that evokes the spirit of the holidays without being blatantly about them. Everything from the cold weather, crowded department stores, and putting up Christmas trees is included with a delicate sense of detail that is just frightening in creating its people and environment.

Christmas Films for Those Who Despise Christmas Films

It’s symptomatic of how note-perfect and profoundly exact the entire film is, beginning sublimely at a time of year steeped in high hopes and a sense of possibilities. … then stretching outward in the development of its central romance, producing feelings that are somehow more greater and more sweeping than the enthralling sense of time and place that draws us in from the first frames. The season for lonesome people with broken hearts to drown their sorrows and share their misery, as depicted in Robert Siodmak’s 1944 film “Christmas Holiday,” starring Deanna Durbin and Gene Kelly, is the season for lonesome people with broken hearts to drown their sorrows and share their misery; it dispels patriotic pomp along with family sentiment. To get to the heart of the matter, watch Jean-Luc Godard’s “Germany Year Ninety Nine Zero,” in which Eddie Constantine, gazing into department-store windows in newly unified Berlin, recites a snippet from a 1951 letter by Raymond Chandler that begins, “Well, Christmas with all its ancient horrors is on us again,” in English and French.

“Gremlins.” It’s been nearly 30 years, and people are still debating whether it’s a true Christmas film. But I’ve never been asked that question. Gizmo even wears a Santa hat at one point in the novel, which takes place during the holidays. Anyway, because it doesn’t bombard the viewer with the customary inclinations to be charitable and forgiving found in most classic Christmas movies (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if that makes folks roll their eyes, they’ll be OK with this). “Gremlins” is a Christmas film that features gore, suspense, a tepid romance, and a suburban housewife blending an evil creature. That’s what the holidays are all about: protecting your family from all kinds of bad luck, even a gremlin. This place has something for everyone.

We have a family custom of viewing “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” both of which are set during the Christmas season but don’t appear to be very Christmas-y at first glance. These films have a brutality-but-family dualism that feels quite appropriate for this time of year: the Corleones may loathe each other at times, yet Christmas and New Year’s are a time for family togetherness. Consider how Michael rushes to his father’s bedside after learning of the assassination attempt while out Christmas shopping with Kay, or how he finds Fredo’s duplicity while in Cuba for New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you’re a little sceptical about this time of year, “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II,” with their final messages about how power corrupts a family from within, might be the appropriate choice for you!

If you’re the sort that despises Christmas movies but yet wants to watch one, I recommend Shane Black’s “Iron Man 3.” You might be thinking, “Wait, Shane Black made an Iron Man movie?” Yes, he did, in a long-forgotten year, and it’s a Christmas film to boot. Maybe you passed this one up because it has a “3” in the title or because you don’t consider yourself a Marvel fan, but “Iron Man 3” is one of the series’ best. It deals with the trauma of being a superhero––as many of us do around Christmas––in a way that few other Marvel films do––while preserving Black’s light, witty, and hilarious (but never too snarky) banter.

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