There are two camps of holiday movies: those with mistletoes, round men in red suits with white whiskers, and borish romances that convince no one of anything, and then there are those that simply carry the essence of the holidays.
We've reached December's mid-point, which means by now we've had our fill of The Grinch, A Christmas Story, and Love Actually. For those who simply cannot take anymore, we have compiled this list of alt-holiday classics for you to watch while you're high at home on your parents' couch until the new year.
In this horror thriller, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) becomes the caretaker of an empty hotel in the mountains for the winter with his family. There, Torrence plans to focus on his writing, but slowly descends into madness as supernatural aspects of the hotel begin to surface, and reality collapses driving Torrence to attack the ones he loves the most. We love this Kubrick classic during the holidays when we can cozy up during a good snowfall on a dark winter night.
Fur coat aficionado Cruella de Vil terrified children in her quest to create the perfect Dalmatian outer wear by slaughtering 101 Dalmatians. But none could deny that she could lead a master class in style; from her two-tone, wild hair to her foot-long cigarette holder, de Vil made it difficult to harbor too much animosity for the animal killer. The high-throttle story reminds us of how important it is to defend the most vulnerable among us, a good lesson to keep close during the holidays.
This biographical drama film, starring Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo, follows a team of journalists at The Boston Globe as they investigate the epidemic of child sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priests across Boston. While the film is anything but a feel-good holiday biopic, the winter months always make us want to sit down and lose ourselves in a good, edge of your bed, mystery—and Spotlight delivers brilliantly.
Rumor Has It
Sarah Huttinger (Jennifer Aniston) is engaged to Jeff Daly (Mark Ruffalo) when she discovers that her grandmother may have been the inspiration for Mrs. Robinson The Graduate. On a quest to understand her family history, she gets tangled up with a man who has a romantic past with both her mother and grandmother. Holiday themed rom-coms have a time and place, but we can only take so much. Turn on Rumor Has It when you can't take anymore kissing under the mistletoe.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
What could be more exciting than trying to destroy any remnant of memory associated with your most unhappiest moments of life? Get over a breakup, forget your misery, and just wipe it clean! Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind takes viewers on a surreal journey through time and memory, celebrating the value in human experiences, no matter how painful or difficult they may be to accept. During the holidays, we are readying to do away with the year's preceding events, and start anew—Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, albeit sad, is a great venture into the parts of life that we just might need to hold onto, no matter how much they hurt.
Beauty and the Beast
In this live action version of the classic musical romantic fantasy film Beauty and the Beast, Belle (Emma Watson), finds herself enamored with the reviled creature inhabiting the castle that lies outside her small village, after the beast has imprisoned her father first—and then her. Despite being held in captivity by a hideous animal ghoul person, Belle decides to harness the human power of empathy and befriends a bunch of personified household objects, like a talking candlestick. As she negotiates with her captor, and deepens her relationships with the teapot and others, the beast finds himself softening to her compassionate hand. Thus unfolds a mysterious fantasy about the curse that placed this castle and its inhabitants in their odd new bodies in the first place. The whole thing is filled with songs, snow, candles, and balls—all of which are just perfect for the holidays.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Many people have attempted to tell the story of Dracula, the most famous vampire of all, but none have done so with as much style and grace as Francis Ford Coppola in his rendition on the classic novel by Bram Stoker. In Bram Stoker's Dracula, we are transported to a truly magical world, captivating by grand costumery and extravagant sets. Keanu Reeves, Gary Oldham, and Wynona Ryder carry us through one of the most beautiful and everlasting stories about love, betrayal, and doom—encompassing everything you could want in a holiday film.