Getting in the Holiday Spirit (Unofficially)
Certain movies are unquestionably linked with the holiday of Christmas. “Love, Actually,” “Elf,” “Jingle All the Way,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and more put everyone in the Christmas spirit. There are certain flicks we think of as relating to Hanukkah as well, be there the comedic, “Hebrew Hammer,” or the animated (but not for kids) Adam Sandler project, “Eight Crazy Nights.” However, there are some movies that we don’t immediately link with the holidays in our mind but which–if you think about it–work perfectly as holiday entertainment. Here are 10 movies (in no specific order) that somewhat secretly are Christmas and Hanukkah-themed.
10. Die Hard
Not originally advertised as a Christmas movie, “Die Hard,” has gained a bit of a reputation for being a flick everyone argues over about if it, “Counts,” as a Christmas movie. Christmas is a major aspect of, “Die Hard,” even if it isn’t the focal point, so yeah, it’s a Christmas movie. The hostage situation at the skyscraper that John McClane (Bruce Willis) confronts occurs during a company party on Christmas Eve, with it being the holiday season that even brings McClane there to visit his estranged wife and daughters. Without it being Christmastime the events of, “Die Hard,” wouldn’t happen, so let’s say it counts.
This horror-comedy is so loaded with Christmas imagery. It’s odd more folks don’t think of it as Christmas entertainment! Snow, carolers, and a gift with very specific instructions which if not followed can horribly, “Break,” it. Although, unlike most toys, this kind is a bit more vicious if it, “Malfunctions.” Should you need something with a bit of a, “Bite,” for your holiday entertainment, “Gremlins,” works very well.
8. Call Me By Your Name
This Oscar winner for, “Best Adapted Screenplay,” got more attention for its steamy romance story than anything relating to Hanukkah, but that actually is a big part of the movie. Both main characters, Elio and Oliver, are Jewish. There are scenes of Latkes being made for the festival of lights, dreidel is played, and a menorah is lit as well. If you need a saucy romance that incorporates Hanukkah you could do worse than this!
7. The Thin Man
The oldest movie on our list, “The Thin Man,” debuted in theaters way back in 1934. This comedic mystery is based on a novel (with the same name) and involves a retired detective getting drawn into a murder mystery when he and his wife visit New York City during Christmastime. “The Thin Man,” hit theaters in May (of 1934 as we mentioned), but it drips with Christmas energy. The holiday decor is lovely and Christmas is an integral part of this whodunit. A great classic if you need something more old-school to view.
6. You’ve Got Mail
Many people don’t realize that, “You’ve Got Mail,” is in fact a remake of an outright Christmas film, “The Shop Around the Corner.” Even if you put that aside, this early example of catfishing (which gets away with some icky implications because there are worse things than being catfished by Tom Hanks), has a large degree of Christmas spirit. It takes place from October into the Springtime and a lot of the most important scenes all seem to occur around Christmastime. Coincidence, or proof of the power of the holidays? You be the judge!
5. Little Fockers
The third movie in the, “Meet the Parents,” trilogy, it was not really advertised as a holiday flick, but the blending of families for the holidays (one celebrating Christmas, one Hanukkah), is a key component of, “Little Fockers.” It admittedly doesn’t have the best reviews (many have declared it the worst of the series), but it does have quite the all-star cast with talents such as Ben Stiller, Jessica Alba, Barbara Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Owen Wilson, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Hart, Laura Dern, and the list goes on.
4. Trading Places
A homeless man (Eddie Murphy) and a rich man (Dan Akroyd) find themselves put in each other’s shoes due to some cruel rich businessmen (the Duke brothers) playing with their lives like a game. This all occurs right around Christmas the New Year, with some of the best scenes in this flick involving Akryod in a dirty Santa costume looking absolutely miserable about his state of life. This is one to put on the T.V. if you need some big belly laughs during the holidays.
3. Mean Girls
“Mean Girls,” chronicles an entire academic year and one of the standout moments in this hilarious look at high school involves a significant chunk of time being spent on Christmas. The infamous, “Jingle Bell Rock,” dance sequence that had everyone cracking up makes, “Mean Girls,” arguably deserve a spot on this list.
Holidays still happen in the future, and the space travelers of, “Prometheus,” happen to find themselves fighting a horrific alien threat right around Christmas. Idris Elba even makes a little tree. While most people think of, “Prometheus,” as, “That weird, ‘Alien,’ prequel,” it also could be considered a nice little holiday film…besides all the bloodshed, at least.
1. Iron Man 3
“Iron Man 3,” is a Christmas movie. Full stop. The head of Marvel Studios just confirmed it, so if Kevin Feige declares something about a Marvel flick you know it must be true. Even if it came out in the Summer, “Iron Man 3,” takes place smack-dab during the Christmas season, and director Shane Black is well-known for incorporating the holiday into his works. While the upcoming, “Hawkeye,” Disney+ series has heavily marketed its incorporation of the holiday season, “Iron Man 3,” is the OG of Marvel Christmas entertainment.
You can watch these films during the holiday season or any time of year should you forget to view them these last months of the year, that makes these movies wonderfully multifaceted. Whether you are watching them regardless of the time of year or because it is the holiday season, they are always a treat!
David Bitterbaum is the longtime writer of The Newest Rant where he discusses how he loves all of popular culture, except for the stuff he hates. He often rambles about everything from movies, to music, television, and often comic-books. He lives in Saint Louis with his extremely patient wife and son.