With the holiday season fast approaching, now is the time to think about putting together a fun collection of movies that you can watch during your break from work (or perhaps just when you need an escape from all the family members that have gathered together for Christmas!)
A great way to add some additional holiday cheer to your yuletide celebrations is via classic Christmas comedies that are always in season. Whether you like to stream top flicks straight to your living room using a handy streaming service, or purchase DVDs from a store, there are plenty of festive films that will have you laughing out loud in no time. Read on for five fun Christmas movies you should add to your watch list this year.
1. “Love Actually”
A cult hit that has been popular with fans of romantic comedies since its release in 2003, “Love Actually” is a film that showcases a number of stories of love and loss (all of which end up intertwining in some way) in the lead up to Christmas. The movie was written and directed by Richard Curtis, a man known for creating such classics as “Blackadder,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill,” amongst others.
“Love Actually” features a wide array of famous faces which bring the characters to life. For starters, Hugh Grant plays a witty, bachelor prime minister of England who falls for a junior staff member that he meets on his first day at 10 Downing Street, while Keira Knightley stars as a newly-married woman who is pined over by her husband’s best friend.
In addition, Bill Nighy lights up the screen as an aging rocker who is desperate to have another hit, Colin Firth plays a bumbling author who learns to open his heart again, and Liam Neeson takes on the role of a grieving widow who must take the reins of parenting his young son. The feel-good film also stars other well-known actors such as Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Martin Freeman, and Laura Linney.
2. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”
It’s been making people laugh since 1989, and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is still one of the most popular Christmas comedies around. (The film franchise has even recently been rebooted, with a new Vacation movie starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate released earlier this year.) The eighties “Christmas Vacation” film revolves around the always-unlucky, yet ever optimistic Clark Griswald — played by veteran comedy actor Chevy Chase — who does his best to create the most memorable Christmas ever for his family.
The entire movie is set during the festive season, and features slap-stick comedy and mishaps and mayhem throughout, including everything from unwelcome family members and an exploding Christmas tree, to a SWAT team raid and the kidnapping of Clark’s grumpy boss.
This, the third movie in the National Lampoon franchise, stars Beverly D’Angelo again as Clark’s patient wife Ellen, as well as Randy Quaid as Clark’s buffoon cousin-in-law Eddie, and Julia Louis Dreyfus (of “Seinfeld” and “Veep” fame) as an angry, yuppie neighbor. In addition, the movie also features a young Johnny Galecki from “The Big Bang Theory” as Clark and Ellen’s son, and long-time actress Juliette Lewis as their daughter.
3. “The Holiday”
If you’re looking for a romantic comedy, check out the 2006 film, “The Holiday.” Directed by Nancy Meyers (famous for hits like “Something’s Gotta Give” and “What Women Want”), the film’s story centers on two women who decide to swap homes for the Christmas holidays in a bid to escape from the drama of their lives.
Kate Winslet’s character swaps her small cottage in the snow-covered English countryside for a Christmas in the sunshine, heading to the sunny Californian home of the character played by Cameron Diaz, who in turn escapes to the UK for the holidays.
During their time away, the two women each find new romance and discover that a change of scenery can also change lives. Jack Black stars as the love interest for Winslet’s character, while Jude Law features as the new man bringing love to the life of Diaz’s character.
4. “Trading Places”
Another funny 1980s movie that is always worth a view is “Trading Places.” The film, a social satire set during the Christmas period that examines greed on Wall Street and the theory of nature versus nurture, stars two of the biggest comedic names of the decade, Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. The storyline sees two wealthy traders decide to make a bet over what would happen if the fortunes of two men (played by Murphy and Aykroyd) were reversed, one taken from a life of luxury and reduced to poverty and disgrace, while the other, a poor street hustler, suddenly finds himself living the high life.
5. “Bad Santa”
If you enjoy dark comedies, you’re sure to have fun watching the 2003 movie, “Bad Santa.” The film stars Billy Bob Thornton as a depressed and drunk con man who masquerades as a store Santa Claus during the lead up to Christmas in order to gain access to the goods located within shops. However, his plans go awry after eight years when he finds himself persistently followed by an intense and needy child, and distracted by a lady with a Santa fetish, played by Lauren Graham of the “Gilmore Girls.”
The Holiday image by Keng Susumpow from Flickr.com