The most untraditional holiday movies


Chloe Zarrinkelk

One of the most memorable and iconic parts of the holiday season is the movies that surround it. From a heartwarming family drama, to a romantic comedy, even a violet action drama, Christmas movies have it all. Throughout these genres, they all share the common theme of the holiday spirit.

Linda Manzo, Writer

Rewatching holiday movies is a beloved tradition, and films such as “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” are timeless classics to be enjoyed with loved ones. As the years progress, it can be difficult to endure the same repetitive films, as already knowing their plot and outcome can prevent full enjoyment of the movies. In choosing films that relate to the holidays without being classified as “traditional” films, what are considered “holiday movies” expand to movies we may not have contemplated before. 

For a heartwarming romcom alternative, the perfect film is “When Harry Met Sally.’‘ The movie follows Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) through their friendship, spanning the course of twelve years. While the complete timeline spans over a decade, the most pivotal moments occur during the holiday seasons — including the uplifting ending, which takes place on New Year’s Eve. Continuing with films that have a romantic aspect, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2” concludes Stephanie Meyers’ romantic trilogy with a dramatized and action-packed conclusion during the holiday season. As Bella (Kristen Stewart) navigates her new chapter of life with her husband and child, they celebrate their first family Christmas, along with additional influences from the holiday season. 

To satisfy the stereotypical macho mentality towards holiday movies, “Iron Man 3” and “Batman Returns” are more action-packed alternatives. “Iron Man 3,” though it revolves around the development of Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) superhero persona as Iron Man, continuously returns back to the fact that the timing of the story is during the holiday season. The film opens with a flashback to a New Year’s Eve celebration, then follows Stark, who’s plagued with remorse for the destruction caused by himself and The Avengers. While attempting to solve the next battle at hand, Stark’s newfound child assistant Harvey (Ty Simpkins) reminds Stark of a sense of innocence and holiday spirit. As the rivalry between Marvel and DC rages on, another option for a non-holiday holiday movie is the second film in the Batman series, “Batman Returns.” The film follows Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) as he transforms into Batman to battle Penguin (Danny DeVito), whose troubles begin at the annual Christmas tree lighting. 

To please the Millennial audience, “American Psycho” (2000) and classic ‘80s movie “Gremlins” have backgrounds that revolve around the holiday season. As pretentious reservations at Dorsia are the main topic of conversation in “American Psycho,” each reservation is claimed to be confirmed for a date within the month of December. “American Psycho” follows the mental exhaust of yuppie culture as narrated by Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale). The movie also takes place in New York City, the perfect setting for any holiday-related festivities. The activities in “Gremlins” are just as brutal as those in “American Psycho,” — the story follows the new animal species of Mogwais and the aftermath of not abiding by their rules. A Mogwai named Gizmo is gifted from a dad to his son Billy (Zach Gilligan), who realizes that his new gift’s consequences are reproducing “Gremlins” that have devious tendencies. As the traditional gift-giving aspect of Christmas backfires and results in the downfall of a small suburban town, “Gremlins” is one of the most thrilling Christmas movies to be released. 

The most exhilarating un-Christmas movie is the infamous “Die Hard.” The action-packed film follows the fallout of a terrorist invasion during a company holiday party, with actors Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman leading the exciting film. As the adventure and action rage on throughout the film, continuous Christmas elements appear as well. Famous for its cinematography, action and controversy between being labeled as a holiday movie or stereotypical action film, “Die Hard” is the most beloved and intense untraditional Christmas movie. 

Traditions are to be cherished. Gathering with family and friends to exchange gifts, leaving cookies for Santa and watching holiday movies are precious parts of our annual routine. While traditions don’t typically have much room for adjustments, changes in the movies we choose to watch allot for an extra source of creativity.

What do you think?