Here we are: One year into Friday Fives. And we've got a special one planned for the second-to-last Friday of 2021. In honor of Christmas Eve today, we're highlighting five of our favorite Christmas movies of all time. Whether you want a children's classic, a raunchy comedy, or even an action movie, we've got you covered. So cook your fancy dinner, put on your best pajamas, and fire up our Friday Five, Volume 52.
We’ll kick off our list with maybe the most quotable Christmas movie ever: Elf. Will Ferrell dominated early 2000’s comedy, and so it’s only fitting that he also had a Christmas movie that crushed its competition. Quotes like “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” to “Santa! I know him!” immediately became things you might hear on the street, especially around Christmastime. Will Ferrell in his elf costume is obviously the defining image from the film, but Elf is more than just him. James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, and of course Peter Dinklage rounded out a pretty loaded cast, especially for the time. It’s hard to count the number of times we’ve watched this movie, both on DVD and cable, but we still make sure to get at least one viewing in each year. And who would’ve believed back in 2003 that this could help launch Jon Favreau’s very successful directing career. If you’re looking for fun, family-friendly laughs on Christmas, Elf has to be at the top of the list.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Sticking with Christmas comedies, though maybe a bit less family-friendly, we have to include National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Lucky for us, during the amazing run of National Lampoon comedies, they decided to try their hand at a Christmas movie. Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold lives through everyone’s Christmas nightmares, just all in a row, so that we can laugh at his misfortune. Everyone knows the neighbor or local house that puts out wayyy too many Christmas lights – and if you don’t, it might be you! Everyone in the movie is great, and it’s always fun to see a pre-Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfus steal a few scenes. Hopefully, you get everything you want for Christmas. But at the very least, you probably won’t have as many issues as Clark. Hallelujah! Holy Shit!
Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas
When we’re talking about Christmas classics, we can’t leave out The Grinch. Specifically, the original, animated How The Grinch Stole Christmas. All due respect to Jim Carrey, but the animated version is still the first Grinch movie we think of, so it has to be on this list. It’s such a classic character, and while the live-action version is great, the best way to portray a Dr. Seuss tale will always be in cartoon form. The movie is like a Seuss book come to life, and it is amazing to see how it still holds up, even nearly 50 years later. Of course, this version also birthed the classic diss-track “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” which remains one of our favorite Christmas songs to hear this time of year. How The Grinch Stole Christmas is a children’s movie that is actually *for* kids, but still delivers a lot of joy no matter your age.
And now for a kids’ movie that is maybe a little dark for children: Home Alone. Sure, Kevin McCallister is a cute kid, but it is definitely concerning how much damage he does to the Wet Bandits. Either way, Home Alone holds up as a movie you can watch year-round, though it is best around the holidays. The sequel, Lost in New York, is a lot of fun as well, but nothing tops the original. Home Alone basically plays on repeat on cable this time of year, but is also on Disney+, so there’s really no reason to not watch it this year. While the injuries can be a bit gruesome, and are seriously downplayed, we could really just watch the final showdown in the house over and over again. Aside from Macauley Culkin’s very impressive performance as a child actor, there is a really great cast of supporting actors, too. Joe Pesci is on another level, and Catherine O’Hara and John Candy both provide some great comedic moments as well. Plus, we get our first look at a young Kieran Culkin! The McCallisters are definitely up there as some of the worst movie parents ever, but even still, you’re obviously rooting for everyone to be reunited in the end. Merry Christmas, you filthy animals!
And now, it’s time for controversy. That’s right, we’re putting Die Hard in our Christmas Movie Friday Five. Is it really a Christmas movie? The debate rages on. It is definitely one of the greatest action movies ever, and it totally redefined a genre. So what better way to break up the usual run of Christmas movies than with a thrilling action flick that takes place at a Christmas party? In a sense, Die Hard isn’t actually that far off from your favorite holiday rom-coms. A man loves his wife, and he’ll do anything to be with her on Christmas. Hallmark has told that story a million times. The only difference is that in this case, the man has to stop a group of terrorists. While there are other gems in the Die Hard franchise, the original is clearly the best, and is definitely the only one that even resembles a holiday movie. At one point, John McClain (Bruce Willis) writes “Ho-Ho-Ho” on a dead terrorist’s shirt. If that doesn’t scream “Christmas Spirit” then we don’t know what does. The only real way to solve the debate is to give it a watch this holiday season, and let us know what you think! So Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Yippee-Kiy-Yay mother-f***ers!