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Screen » Film

Making a List: Forget the old standards and try one of these seven holiday films

An assortment of alternative Christmas movies.



I don't want to see Miracle on 34th Street. Ever. Same goes for It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, A Christmas Carol and A Christmas Story. I can still handle the Charlie Brown Christmas movies, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa, Love Actually, Die Hard, Scrooged and Gremlins, but even those are starting to wear a little thin (except for Die Hard which is eternal like fruit cake). I'm 31 years old and I've been watching these movies every year since I was old enough to form memories and I need to start mixing it up a little before I go insane. This year, I decided to try to dig up some Holiday classics that are a little more under-the-radar, so we can start making new traditions to fit alongside the old. With that in mind, here are seven modern holiday classics to add to your Christmas tradition.

1) Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2011) A group of Finish reindeer herders discovers an ancient mountaintop burial mound, then soon learns that the occupant of the grave is still alive. Soon after, children start disappearing and the townsfolk come to the realization that the entity that came from the mountain might be the source of the original Santa Claus legends. Equal parts terrifying and heart warming, Rare Exports is the perfect film for those who look forward to a bit of coal in their stocking.

2) The Ice Harvest: (2005) A pitch-black comedy starring John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton as a mob lawyer and pornographer, respectively, who steal $2 million from the mob and attempt to make their getaway, only to realize they are snowed in. While not a perfect film, it's a lot of fun and a breezy way to spend 90 minutes of your holiday weekend.

3) The Hebrew Hammer: (2003) The world's first and only Jewish blaxploitation film, starring Adam Goldberg as an ass-kicking Hasidic Jew who must stop the son of Santa from ruining Hanukkah. Skewering Christianity and Judaism in equal measures, this is for those who like a little levity with their organized religion.

4) Silent Night, Deadly Night: (1984) Little Billy sees a man in a Santa suit brutally murder his parents one night on Christmas. Many years later, at age 18, he is forced to wear a Santa outfit for his job in a department store and it makes him go a little mad. Hijinks ensue. Give this one a spin if you like your holidays served a bit bloody.

5) A Midnight Clear: (1992) On Christmas during the final days of WWII, a German platoon turns themselves in to an American intelligence squad and they spend the night sharing stories and becoming friends. A powerful look at whether the ties that bind us as humans are stronger than the wars that keep us apart.

6) In Bruges: (2008) Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson hide out in Brussels over the holidays in my favorite film of 2008. A powerful mixture of comedy, hyper-stylized violence and poignant drama that stays with you long after the credits.

7) The Daytrippers: (1996) On the day after Thanksgiving, a woman who thinks her husband might be cheating on her hops in the car with her entire family to drive to New York City and confront him. Brilliantly acted and executed, this one reminds you that sometimes family is really all you need.

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