What to watch this holiday season


Avery Desruisseau

A holiday movie enthusiast watches How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Released in 2000, this movie is the second of three movies based on Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. “It’s just a really touching story, and it has a great soundtrack,” said Ashlyn Mansfield ‘19.

Avery Desruisseau and Nora Miller

The holiday season is here once again. With the chilly weather and early darkness that December brings, it’s the perfect time to settle in for a movie. Whether you’re looking to curl up by yourself with a warm drink and blankets, spend a fun night with friends or bring your family together, there’s a movie out there that’ll fit your needs.

Some of the classic movies to watch during the holiday season have plots focused around Christmas. The various animated films by Rankin and Bass Productions are beloved by many because of their timeless charm. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Year Without A Santa Claus (the one with Heat and Snow Miser) and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town are a few of the most popular of their movies. Filled with songs and charming stop-motion animation from the 60s and 70s, these movies have plenty of coziness and cheer to share. “Poor animation makes it feel nostalgic like something I would have watched with my parents when I was little and something that I’ll keep watching in the future,” said HB Film Studies teacher, Victoria Flaherty.

Other great choices are the many versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There are three movies based on this Dr. Seuss classic: The short original How the Grinch Stole Christmas! made in 1966, the 2000 live-action remake, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with Jim Carrey, and the newest edition, The Grinch, which is an animated story in theaters now from Illumination Studios.

With its bright and attractive animation style, The Grinch is appealing to younger audiences but hasn’t wowed many fans of the original book and movie. “The Grinch is still green but way less mean in his latest incarnation,” said Peter Travers, a writer for the Rolling Stones. Though the newest Grinch still keeps up its grumpy attitude, it is much more kid-friendly and nice compared to past Grinches. “It will probably do well with the younger generations because they don’t know about the original Grinch, but I prefer the original,” said Ashlyn Mansfield ‘19. If you’re looking for a more lighthearted and fun version of this Christmas classic, then The Grinch (2018) may be a good option.

If live-action comedies are something you prefer, there are plenty of holiday movies in that department as well. Elf is a classic family movie following the adventures of Buddy the Elf through Manhattan to find his parents. “[It’s] a charming, silly family Christmas movie,” said A. O. Scott in an article for the New York Times. “The movie succeeds because it at once restrains its sticky, gooey good cheer and wildly overdoes it”, he said.

Another funny classic is The Santa Clause (1994). The story is about Scott Calvin who, because of a legal technicality known as “the Santa clause”, takes over as Santa, changing to fit the role and bring back Christmas spirit to his son. The movie strays away from the sappy formula that many Christmas movies display but is still amusing and warm. “The Santa Clause is just plain weird, so that’s why I like it,” said Jack Sinclair ‘19.

Perhaps a bright and cheery story solely about Christmas isn’t what you’d want. In this case, there are plenty of movies whose events occur around Christmas but tend to be more subtly festive. An example of this is It’s A Wonderful Life (1946). It’s a black-and-white film about George Bailey, a savings-and-loan manager, who goes through many hardships and trials throughout the movie to eventually realize on Christmas Eve that he lives a wonderful life. “At times it’s a really dark movie,” said Marie Borkowski ‘19. “It’s very good though,” she said.

If you’re a sucker for Rom-Coms, The Princess Switch (2018), a new movie released to Netflix, is a great option. Right before Christmas, Margaret, the Duchess of Montenaro, switches place with Stacy, a normal woman from Chicago. The two fall in love with people from each other’s lives during Christmas time. This movie, along with most other new Christmas movies from Netflix, can be cheesy in nature but, “that’s kind of the fun of it; it’s almost enjoyable how bad [Netflix] movies are,” said Flaherty.

Going to the movies during the December break, whether to see a festive movie or not, is something fun to do with visiting relatives or friends when you want to get out of the house. From comedies to dramas, the theaters are packed with different genres and stories for all to experience.

If bright colors and fun animation with a little less Christmas is your style, try Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018). As the sequel to the original Wreck-It Ralph movie, the characters from the original movie explore the internet. “Disney pulls off a clever satire on how damaging the internet can be if you let it get to you,” said Jason Guerrasio, a writer for the Business Insider. You can also get a taste of superheroes this month with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018), another animated story about Miles Morales, a teenager who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and his exploration of the Spider-Verse. “A world of its own at a time when the primary purpose of other superhero movies seems to be to tease future installments and fill corporate coffers,” said Oliver Jones, a writer for the Observer. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse was released Dec. 14.

Whether you’re looking to dive head-first into the stories of Christmas, or merely go out to see a movie with visiting friends and relatives, there’s a film for everyone this holiday season.