Another year, another holiday season. Once again we asked our Fandomentals writers what their favorite holiday films were, and somehow managed to finagle a top five list to share with all of you. Let’s get to it.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Look, I acknowledge that a large part of my love comes from the fact that I saw this movie in theaters as a child and loved every second of it. I am unapologetic in my love for all things Muppets. The Muppet Christmas Carol is the first film to be made after Jim Henson’s death, with his son Brian, taking over.
As debuts go it’s pretty remarkable and I don’t think Henson has ever got the credit he deserves. Adaptations are a nightmare to plan out. Throw in vaudevillian Muppets and it becomes worse. The end result is a lively, heartwarming, faithful musical adaptation of a story so well know it’s hard to believe there are any surprises left. (Jeremiah)
While You Were Sleeping
As someone who doesn’t generally watch romantic comedies or Christmas movies, I was the last person to think I’d enjoy the 1995 film While You Were Sleeping with Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. All you really need to know about this movie is that Pullman’s Jack is an expert at the romantic lean in and Sandra’s Lucy is hilarious. Peter Gallagher’s Peter isn’t really important except for his entire family thinking that Lucy is his fiance which is an issue since Lucy and Jack fall in love! All while the family celebrates a belated Christmas. Honestly, it reminds me of my Bengali dramas without you know the thousands of hours it takes for the shows to end. Definitely a must-see for any Christmas rom-com lover. (Seher)
The Year Without A Santa Claus
For those familiar with the old Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas specials, mentioning The Year Without A Santa Claus will bring up one of three responses. You’ll either start singing “I’m Mr. White Christmas, I’m Mr. Snow…”, you’ll start singing “I’m Mr. Green Christmas, I’m Mr. Sun…” if you’re a heathen with no taste, or you’ll stare blankly. The Year Without A Santa Claus occupies an odd space in the Rankin/Bass Christmas canon. Of the ones not based on an existing song, it’s the most immediately recognized and best remembered. But what it’s remembered for is…strange.
Santa Claus does not matter in this special. Mrs. Claus does not matter in this special. The elves, the wide-eyed kids, the reindeer, the presents, absolutely nothing that you’d expect to find in a Christmas special matters in this Christmas special. It is remembered for one thing and one thing only. The Miser Brothers. Specifically, their songs. Oh wow, their songs! I clearly and fondly remember this being my favorite Christmas special growing up. I mean, I liked the others fine, but this was the one I looked forward to every year. Even more so than the Grinch or Charlie Brown. But until Middle School, I could never remember what it was called! I just always referred to it as ‘the one with the Miser Brothers’.
So is the special worth watching? I mean…it’s fine. There’s nothing bad or harmful in it. Is there anything in it that’s worth not just looking up ‘Miser Brothers’ on YouTube? …not really, no. Much like Dumbo, this is a movie mainly worth remembering for the really odd musical number(s). (Molly)
Should there be any dispute, this *is* a Christmas movie. It takes place during Christmas time and it was a wonderful gift to lesbians the world over when it was released in 2015. Like any good (Christmas) movie, it has its flaws; Carol is a little predatory, literally everyone is white, and then there’s the whole issue of the time period of the 50s when homophobia was an even bigger thing than it is now and a lot of cis men were more blatant with their sexism. But also, Sarah Paulson and Cate Blanchett as best lesbian friends! Cate Blanchett’s back! Cate Blanchett! Bonus, no lesbians die! All joking aside, this film (because it was shot on film! For authenticity!) is deeply atmospheric, and wintery, and it literally makes the yuletide gay. Carol will forever be a seasonal favorite for me. (Sarah)
Hear me out. I know some of you might be thinking “But Kori, aren’t you neurotically obsessed with all things Christmas cheer?” Yes! Yes, I am! There’s something about a time of year where there’s at least some kind of expectation for people to try and meet a bare standard of decency and not be as big of an asshole as they might be for the rest of the year. What exactly is so hard about practicing a little human kindness? It shouldn’t be a surprise then, that I am obsessed with this Adam Scott and Toni Collete starring vehicle directed by Michael Dougherty. Especially when the movie’s message boils down to “You can’t find it in yourself to not be a dick for even one day? Fine. HERE’S YOUR PUNISHMENT.” Considering the current hellscape we live in, it’s a delightful fantasy to indulge, like A Christmas Carol dialed up to 11. (Kori)