12 Holiday Films That You Must Watch at Least Once Before 2021
12 Holiday Movies to Stream With Your Honey This Year
Another year, another opportunity to cram as much holiday content into your home as humanly possible.
With this year’s particular circumstances keeping just about every American home for the holidays, there’s never been a better time to plop in front of the television with a loved one and immerse yourself in the joy of festive pieces of cinema.
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From the beloved classics that manage to put even the Grinchiest people in a better mood to the so-bad-it’s-good new releases destined to become yuletide standards, here are 12 very merry holiday movies to stream with that special honey of yours.
'The Holiday' (Amazon)
If you’re able to suspend your disbelief enough to accept a steamy relationship between Kate Winslet and Jack Black, The Holiday will make you smile. Amanda and Iris (Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) are two recently single working women who sign up for a house exchange, sending Diaz to London and Winslet to LA. Hearts are broken, relationships bloom, and Black accidentally grabs Winslet’s boob. You always need to throw in something as light and airy as The Holiday into your rotation of festive films; they serve as such an entertaining time capsule of the years we left behind.
'A Very Murray Christmas' (Netflix)
Five years have elapsed since this Bill Murray holiday special graced the world on Netflix, but we find it’s only gotten better with age. A Very Murray Christmas features — you guessed it — Bill Murray playing himself in a special within a special where the legendary actor puts on a holiday show in the midst of a terrible snowstorm. With a magnificent roster of talent including Paul Shaffer, George Clooney, Michael Cera, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Rudolph, and more, A Very Murray Christmas is a fun and musical special that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
'The Night Before' (Amazon)
It’s Christmas Eve in NYC and three lifelong buddies (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie) have reunited to find the absolute best Christmas party known to man in the city. The Night Before is the kind of debaucherous yuletide stoner comedy that you expect to watch the night before the big day. It’s got everything you could ever want in a Christmas movie starring a group of diverse, exceptionally talented men: stolen weed, commitment issues, and steroids.
'White Christmas' (Netflix)
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If you’re just finding out this classic Christmas song moonlights as a classic Christmas movie, we assure you that you’re not alone. Starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas tells the classic tale of two singers who fall in love while teaming up to save the failing inn of a retired general.
'The Hebrew Hammer' (Amazon)
We’re painfully aware of the lack of Hanukkah-themed movies out in the world. That’s why Jewish God™ brought us this 2003 film about an “orthodox Jewish blaxploitation hero” (Adam Goldberg) named Mordechai Jefferson Carver who tries to save Hanukkah from the clutches of an evil offspring of Santa. It’s exactly as strange as you think it is, but damn it’s nice to finally see some representation of the Chosen People on TV.
'Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square' (Netflix)
This delightfully campy musical special sees St. Dolly Parton as a homeless angel named *sigh* Angel doing her thing opposite a spiteful, wealthy Scrooge named Regina (Christine Baranski) who returns to her hometown only to sell it to a mall developer. Is it cheesy? Yes. Is it the best film you’ll see this year? Probably not. But the charisma and joy the vaccine queen Parton brings to the screen is undeniable.
'A Bad Moms Christmas' (Netflix)
Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn star as three dysfunctional mothers whose Christmas plans are thrown through the loop when their moms (Christine Baranski, Susan Sarandon, and Cheryl Hines) come for a visit. Lukewarm reviews be damned, the Kunis-Bell-Hahn power pod knows how to carry a film, plus you can never go wrong with a “we’re going to use your house for a massive holiday party” plot point.
'Happiest Season' (Hulu)
While this film didn’t get as warm of a reception as writer/director Clea DuVall might’ve hoped, there’s something comforting about this recently-released holiday flick. While en route to her girlfriend’s family’s home, Abby (Kristen Stewart) learns that Harper (Mackenzie Davis) has kept their relationship and sexuality a secret from her wealthy, conservative parents. By leaning on the familiar formula of Christmas films of the past, Happiest Season stands out by finally featuring a same-sex couple in starring roles. Combined with stellar guest performances by Dan Levy, Mary Holland and Aubrey Plaza, Happiest Season does the trick.
'A Very Brady Christmas' (Hulu)
What’s the holidays without an appearance from the Brady family? This 1988 TV movie features most of the original cast from the show as they pool their resources to get the whole family home for the end-of-year seasonal festivities. Even if you weren’t alive during the heyday of The Brady Bunch, there’s a level of comfort this family still manages to bring more than 50 years after they originally appeared on TV.
'It’s a Wonderful Life' (Amazon)
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This 1946 masterpiece actually bombed at the box office before it was resurrected decades later on television. James Stewart is George Bailey, a man who puts everyone’s hopes and dreams in front of his own until he’s got nothing left to give. Stewart, having just come back from the war, puts everything into Bailey, pumping heart and emotion into the character. It’s a lovely film that deserves every bit of praise it’s gotten.
'The Family Stone' (HBO)
The Family Stone is one of those heartfelt dramadies you avoid for years because you’re under the impression you’d seen it years ago, but that was actually The Family Man. This Christmastime features the combined star power of Claire Danes, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, and so much more as a functional-bordering-on-disfunction family trying to keep their sh*t together just long enough for the holidays to be over. Oh, and it unabashedly supports stealing your sibling’s significant other. Got to love the holidays!
'The Muppet Christmas Carol' (Disney+)
Netflix / Ron Galella
Frankly, Christmas doesn’t exist without the Muppets. Michael Caine is the greatest Scrooge of all time, while Kermit the Frog freakin’ brings it as Bob Cratchit. Like most of the Muppets’ work, The Muppet Christmas Carol hit the audience with plenty of heartfelt moments amongst the laugh-out-loud bits. Readers, this is said with full support and sincerity: there is no role this beloved frog puppet cannot conquer.
Honorable Mention — 'Fireplace For Your Home: Classic Edition' (Netflix)
If you haven’t had the opportunity to immerse yourself in the crackling, burn-proof sights and sounds of Netflix’s Fireplace For Your Home — literally an hour of burning logs — this is the year to make it happen. Here’s a pro-tip: Pour yourself a glass of whiskey, snuggle up with your partner, and listen to some jazz while this thing smulders in the background.
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