It’s that time of year again. Time to cosy up by the fire, eat warm cookies, drink eggnog, and turn your favourite Christmas movie on. But is your favourite holiday film actually a Christmas movie, or just a movie that somehow got looped into the holiday season? Does it deserve more views outside of Christmas time? Here are our picks for seven Christmas movies… that aren’t actually Christmas movies.
7. Steel Magnolias (1989)
This one is easy to mix up. Every major scene in the film revolves around a holiday; including Christmas. A common correlation between non-Christmas films and a Holiday viewing is if it’s gonna jerk a tear. It is also a film that you can watch with the whole family, and everyone will bond, which is another reason it might get a Holiday viewing. But Steel Magnolias is a non-Christmas tear-jerker to watch no matter the season.
6. Little Women (1994)
For the purposes of this article, I’m talking specifically about the 90s version with Winona Ryder. Little Women is another story that sort of has a Christmas vibe, and there are several Christmas/snowy set pieces. This version specifically tends to have more of a wintery feel. This story is not a Christmas story though. It follows the relationship and lives of the March family. It goes back to a classic rule; just because a movie has a Christmas scene in it, does not mean it’s a Christmas movie.
5. Gremlins (1984)
This one is unique because the marketing for Gremlins revolved around Christmas. It’s sort of about a Christmas gift gone wrong, so it’s easy to throw in with Christmas movies. But for a Christmas movie to be a Christmas movie, I would argue that it can’t be intentionally scary. The Christmas marketing was set up more as a shock factor, than to actually convince the public that Gremlins is a Christmas movie.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)
Okay, okay I know this one is controversial. It’s been a Christmas staple for so long! In truth, almost nothing to do with Christmas actually happens in this movie. The only Christmas thing there is the end, which is probably where the confusion comes from. It just so happens that the end of the movie happens to be on Christmas, and they close with a little bit of Christmas cheer. The rest of the movie follows George Bailey’s life and explores what makes every person’s presence special and meaningful. For that reason, It’s a Wonderful Life is not a Christmas movie, and deserves to be watched year-round.
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This is another long-standing debate, is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas movie, or a Halloween movie? It certainly has it’s Christmas-viewers. The Disney Parks even outfit the Haunted Mansion in Nightmare Before Christmas decor for the holiday season. But I’m going to have to go ahead and call it a Halloween movie. While Christmas is a major theme, the story is about Halloween screwing up Christmas. 90% of the film takes place in Halloweentown, not Christmastown.
The theme of the movie is about learning to be content where you are, and that place for Jack Skellington is Halloween. Not to mention the soft-scary imagery and the very gothic soundtrack. I personally always get the bug to watch it around Halloween as well. This movie is best viewed from October-December. There’s even an argument to be made that this film could have a spot between the two holidays on Thanksgiving.
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has definitely grown into a Christmas-season movie, but it’s unclear why. There is a big Christmas set-piece, but it’s not a major part of the plot. It had a Thanksgiving release, so it might have had some Christmas-time viewers in the theatre. But at the end of the day, I think it boils down to nostalgia. Most Christmas movies tap into a childlike nostalgia, remembering what it felt like to be a kid on Christmas morning.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone does not tap into a Christmas nostalgia, but it does invoke that child-like wonder. The most whimsical and innocent of the Harry Potter films, for people who grew up with the series, watching this movie is like coming home. Nearly twenty years after it’s release, most Harry Potter fans are all grown up, and watching this movie is an extremely nostalgic event. It can be best encapsulated in the last track of the film, Leaving Hogwarts by John Williams (the king of 90s nostalgia). It captures what it felt like to be a kid who still believes in magic- and that is what Christmas movies are all about. Nevertheless, nothing about Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone particularly screams Christmas, so it is not a Christmas movie. I’d watch it every day if given the chance.
1. Die Hard(1988)
Ah, Die Hard. Probably the biggest contender on the list… and to be honest the verdict is still out. While the film takes place on Christmas Eve, it doesn’t quite have a “Christmas Theme.” The point of the movie is to get John McClane (Bruce Willis) out of a tough spot, not to spread Christmas cheer. Most of the Die Hard cast has sided with the “it’s not a Christmas movie” argument. Bruce Willis himself declared that it’s not a Christmas movie “it’s a goddamn Bruce Willis movie!” While filming, the entire cast and crew have stated that they never viewed the film as a Christmas movie, nor was that their intent. So in this case, we’re gonna have to say that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, just a movie set during Christmas. It deserves some plays outside of the Christmas season as well.
Now we can’t tell you what to do, so if you want to watch any of these films on Christmas Eve – go for it! At the end of the day, if a movie is a good movie, it’s a good movie and should be enjoyed on any given day. Just don’t go telling people that Die Hard is your favourite Christmas movie.
And that’s our list of Christmas movies that aren’t actually Christmas movies? Did we miss any? Have we ruined your Christmas? Let us know in the comments below.
Check our Home Alone what traps would’ve killed Harry and Marv article HERE.
Read IMDB information about Die Hard HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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