Merry Christmas from all of us here at Set The Tape!
If you’re done with opening your presents, preparing the turkey and all that endless, merciless, non-stop tidying up, then you’re probably about due a good ol’ Christmas film to sit down in front of the TV with and a glass of port. Here are our top five suggestions to see you through the afternoon that are guaranteed to stop even your nan from nodding off.
Some people argue that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. Those people are wrong and their views should be either ignored or ridiculed.
There are three things that make Die Hard a Christmas film. It takes place on Christmas Eve, it takes place at a Christmas party and it is about a man, John McClane (Bruce Willis), who is trying to get home to see his family at Christmas. In fact it even has a man in a Santa hat and “ho ho ho” written on his sweater… ok, let’s put aside that the man is dead.
Just because it is a gang of international terrorists lead by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) that hinder him rather than two burglars, and just because he stops them with guns and punches and not paint pots and pranks, does not make it any less Christmassy. Nor does the fact that there is few hilarious japes along the way.
Home Alone is a great, fun filled, feel good Christmas movie. For the benefit of the two people in the world who have never seen it, it starts Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister who is left HOME ALONE after his family forget him and leave him behind as they jet off to Paris to spend the festive period.
On Christmas Eve, two wrongdoers, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), hear that Kevin is home alone and plan to rob is inexplicably large house. Kevin comes up with a series of clever ways to stop the duo, all the while his mother (Catherine O’Hara) faces an arduous cross country journey to be with her son.
You also have the charming side plot of the neighbour Marley reuniting with his family and befriending Kevin after initially being feared due to urban legends and tall tales.
Undoubtedly Culkin’s best work and still much loved, much parodied and often quoted. It definitely belongs on this list.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Charles Dicken’s 1843 classic A Christmas Carol has been retold over and over both as a drama and a comedy. There have been musicals. The Smurfs, The Flintstones and Bugs Bunny have all taken a stab at it as have Blackadder and Doctor Who; and there is also the Bill Murray comedy Scrooged.
In 1992 The Muppets released their take on the novel with Michael Caine playing Ebenezer Scrooge and Kermit The Frog as Bob Cratchit. Perhaps the Muppets’ best movie adaptation, it kind of delivers everything you want from a Christmas special.
A fantastic animation from Ardman studios from 2011 with a big name voice cast. James McAvoy is Arthur Clause, the younger brother of Steve (Hugh Laurie) and son of Father Christmas (Jim Broadbent).
Santa has become jaded having been in the role since 1941 and Steve has made Christmas Day and the delivering of presents a well oiled military operation but somewhere along the line the meaning of Christmas has been lost. One Christmas Arthur discovers a present has been missed and left behind and goes on a quest, with his grandfather (Bill Nighy) to make sure a little girl does not go without her gift on Christmas Day,
It really is great fun and has a really nice heartwarming festive message.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington lives in Halloween Town, now Halloween Town is how you would expect, a bit grim and gruesome and macabre. Skellington gets tired of Halloween and ends up discovering Christmas Town and becomes pretty jealous of how great it all is.
He plans on bringing Christmas to Halloween but it does not go too swimmingly.
A Tim Burton film it is animated and but together creatively and looks absolutely fantastic.