It’s that time of year again. Bells are jingling. Men in red and white are shouting “ho, ho, ho” in a deep booming voice. People are unreasonably diving on top of cheap televisions like starfish. It’s the season of one-too-many glasses of port, one-too-many mince pies and weather that makes everyones baubles freeze. Coming up on The Cinephiliacs, each of us writers will be sharing our thoughts on our favourite Christmas movies, something that many people enjoy each year, but I thought it might be good to give a little countdown on some non-Christmas films that I watch during the holidays too. For whatever reason, be it nostalgia, adventure or something intangible, these movies are ones I like to put on during this time. Let me know which non-Christmas films you like to visit in December too. Happy Santa-time, folks!
1 – The Harry Potter Series
Now, when I think of non-Christmas films that encapsulate the “warm fuzzies” that come with the season of festiveness, the Potter series is the first that comes to mind. I’m not sure exactly what it is. It might be that they were released into cinemas near Christmas sometimes, meaning me and my other half often watched them around this time of year. It might be the flickering lights, the snowy landscapes and the fact that there are Christmas scenes in some films. It might just be that adventure films and family films are perfect for this time of year. Whatever the reason, Harry Potter, from the Philosophers Stone until the Deathly Hallows, are fantastic movies that are a blast to watch in winter and around Crimbo.
2 – The Goonies
The adventure-film/family film thing rises again here. The ultimate kids adventure movie, perhaps, The Goonies is one I watched as a kid and remember sitting beside the fire and watching the journey that this group of kids went on together, finding pirate treasure and running from villains. It’s a joy, it’s timeless and it goes very well with the nostalgia of the holidays. HEY YOU GUYYYS!
3 – Groundhog Day
I know that Groundhog Day isn’t a Christmas film, but I watch it every Christmas anyway. The snowy scenes help, as do the numerous laughs. It’s one of my favourite comedy movies, so it’s always easy to watch, but it does work so well at Christmas. Snowball fights, ice-carving and making snowmen, along with a terrific Bill Murray performance makes this a part of my stack of movies every December. NED? *punch*
4 – E.T
Like The Goonies, this has a big ole hit of nostalgia for me. A classic 80’s family sci-fi adventure, E.T remains one of the best of its kind. It has a feeling and heart that is missing from many films these days, and though I do prefer the lesser-known Flight of the Navigator, E.T is the one I’d pick off the shelf at Christmas. It just fits. And no, those aren’t tears, my eyes are sweating.
5 – Star Wars: The Original Trilogy
I remember watching Star Wars on television most Christmases when I was a kid. Something about the battles and the fantastical alien creatures felt exciting, and still do, and these are always movies you can turn to and put on, any time of the year. I tend to lean towards them more in winter though. Perhaps it is more nostalgic memory, or maybe I just like fun and familiar films during the Christmas period, but either way, these are definitely wise choices for a cold winter night in front of the fairy-lit tree.
6 – The Middle Earth Movies
When it’s cold outside and you don’t wanna go out and freeze, it offers the ideal opportunity to watch movies that are that much longer, look no further than The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies. With the extended editions adding plenty of minutes to the whole experience, a lot of hours are required to watch these movies, but it’s worth it. Some of the best films ever made, and with so many beautiful locations and details amongst the terrific characters and iconic sequences. Some of my favourite movies, and ones I watch anytime, if you are wanting to pass some long cold dark nights by with some thoroughly entertaining adventure stories, then why not dive into Middle Earth and go on some unexpected journeys. See what I did there?
7 – Laurel & Hardy Films
Now, I can watch any Laurel & Hardy film at Christmas. I remember my Dad buying a new VHS of Laurel & Hardy every year, and I remember watching them on television growing up too. Any of them will do, but my favourite for this period is Below Zero. Seeing the two comedy legends playing musical instruments at the side of a road in the snow is such a memorable film image for me. I love Laurel & Hardy, and if you’re looking for the best of their films to watch at Christmas, then Below Zero is a good start. Way Out West is another than makes me smile when I watch it on the lead-up to the gift-sharing Santa-day. Brilliant. Well, that’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!
8 – Planes, Trains & Automobiles
One of my favourite movies of all time. This, for me, is the perfect “comfort film”. One of those movies you can throw on and it immediately cheers you up, makes you feel better and adds a little warmth to your insides. Hilarious, hearty and moving, and with plenty of snowy moments, it is a film set more at Thanksgiving, but feels just as enjoyable when watched during Christmas-time too. YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!
9 – Back to the Future
Seeing Marty McFly skateboard across the 1980’s was a staple of my childhood. The sequels are awesome, but the first one is the best, and has a fitting energy about that works wonderfully well at Christmas-time. It’s sci-fi, action, adventure, comedy, family, fantasy and drama… and it’s a classic. One of those movies that, due to its nostalgic nature and pure-fun vibe, is one I watch each December. “Gimme a milk… chocolate”
10 – Indiana Jones Series
Now, I’m not the biggest Indiana Jones fan. I mean, I grew up with them, and I’ve seen them plenty of times. I like Harrison Ford as much as the next guy. I find them enjoyable, but they’re not on my list of favourites. Still, there’s something about them that really works at this time of the year. They usually get shown on television, and they remind me of other cool adventure flicks like “Jewel in the Nile” that I used to watch over the Christmas period. They are fun flicks that many consider classics, and well worth adding to your pile of non-Christmas movies to check out this Christmas.
Merry Christmas-time, from all of us here at The Cinephiliacs. Whatever you do this winter, have a safe and happy one.