Christmas time is fast approaching and there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than a festive film that the entire family can enjoy. Here are some options available to assist (along with endless amounts of hot chocolate) in bringing Yuletide joy to homes this upcoming season...
The Santa Clause (3 Stars) Released in 1994, The Santa Clause is a timeless seasonal comedy that possesses real heart. Divorced father and toy salesman, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), unknowingly accepts the mantle of Santa when the previous title bearer falls off his roof. The next year is spent grappling with this realization, as well as hiding it from everyone except his son, Charlie (Eric Lloyd). On the surface, this is a humorous Christmas fantasy, but upon deeper inspection it doubles as a family drama that touches on the obstacles encountered in a divorced family. The screenplay gets outlandish at times and the supporting characters are forgettable, but entertaining performances by Tim Allen and Judge Reinhold persevere to make this a solid watch for all ages. *Available on Disney+
Elf (3.5 Stars) Released in 2003, Elf is a holiday comedy that lacks the edge of most raunchier modern day comedies, but makes up for it with childlike innocence aplenty in what amounts to a hilarious Yuletide treat. Buddy (Will Ferrell) is an orphan who has spent his entire life at the North Pole living amongst the elves. Upon discovering that he is actually a human, he ventures off to New York City to meet his real father (James Caan). Ferrell brings his trademark energy to the role, yet in this scenario, it is delivered in a more innocent manner, resulting in wholesome humor aimed at the entire family. The screenplay is silly and drags at times, but the characters are enjoyable enough to keep audiences entertained. The situational comedy of this fish out of water story puts a new spin on a classic tale and succeeds with countless laughs and some endearing performances from all involved, notably Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. *Available to rent on Amazon Prime
Die Hard (4.5 Stars) Released in 1988, Die Hard is peak action at its finest. New York City cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) ventures to Los Angeles to visit his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedilia) at her office Christmas party. Unbeknown to him, the building is currently being infiltrated by a group of German terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). McClane is just a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, who must now attempt to save Holly and the other hostages. Bruce Willis shines with a star-making portrayal, establishing a character archetype that would go on to be duplicated repeatedly over the coming years. He is the action hero that is not indestructible. Willis blends wit, strength, and emotion to create an engaging performance that is both physical and humorous. Incredibly, Rickman nearly matches Willis, providing a formidable foil to the story and a wonderful performance in his own right. The screenplay is slow out of the gate, but otherwise marvelous. Excellent action and dialogue are provided throughout this thrilling story that culminates in a memorable final showdown. With holiday songs, set pieces, and references peppered throughout, this is the perfect watch for Christmas morning. *Available to rent on Amazon Prime