We’re in the holiday home stretch, that weekend before the final weekend before it all ends on Christmas. If days spent shopping, merry-making and working are taking their toll, perhaps a quiet evening at home is in order. In that spirit, we offer our recommendations for The Best Movies to Watch That May Not Sound Like They’re About Christmas But It’s There Somewhere:
“Die Hard.” Off-duty New York City police officer Bruce Willis fights his way out of a Los Angeles skyscraper during a Christmas Eve bank heist. First of the Die Hard series, this 1988 film was just this past week selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry. (You be the judge.)
“The Family Stone.” Funny, sad, poignant, great clothes — this sleeper film has it all. The eldest son of a free-wheeling family brings his uptight girlfriend home to snowy New England to meet them at Christmas. They clash, she calls in her sister for support, he wants to propose but no one wants him to, someone’s critically ill, there’s an awesome bar scene, you’ll cry at the end. Perfection.
“The Holiday.” Two lonely women decide to swap houses to escape man trouble and then find love with two new men they meet during the swap. Bad casting aside (who has Kate Winslet and Jack Black in their catalog of all-time romantic movie couples?) there’s something undeniably appealing in the fairy tale ending and slapstick comedy that brings it about.
“While You Were Sleeping.” Lonely Sandra Bullock, a token-taker on Chicago’s CTA elevated line, admires dreamy Peter Gallagher from afar. He gets mugged, and while he’s in a coma she pretends to be his fiancee but (plot twist!) falls for his brother instead. Pure rom-com fun, plus seeing Chicago at Christmas time is a holiday bonus.
“You’ve Got Mail.” Meg Ryan owns an independent bookstore (ha) and Tom Hanks owns a chain of big bookstores (ha) and they fall for each other on AOL (haha) through dial-up (LOL). Set at Christmas peripherally. May become relevant again if repealing net neutrality becomes the law of the land.
“Trading Places.” Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy trade places as part of an evil plan hatched by two rich, ghastly brothers. Released in 1983, there are probably 10,000 inappropriate things about the movie and not in a funny way. It was the 80s, after all.
“Lethal Weapon.” Danny Glover and Mel Gibson, mismatched police partners, set their sights on drug smugglers. It’s funny, but you know, Mel Gibson. Happy Holidays!