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The Movie Guru: Christmas movies for the quirky among us

When it comes to our favorite Christmas movies, some of us get a little weird.

A sprinkle of more offbeat holiday favorites is listed in this column, complete with the best place to find it streaming online. (20th Century Fox
Special to the Daily)

While we’re not necessarily against “Frosty the Snowman” or “Miracle on 34th Street,” our preferred Christmas viewing ventures into slightly stranger territory. Whether it’s action films that just happen to be set during the holidays or new favorites you might not have heard of yet, they add a healthy dose of extra flavor to the usual collection of sweet cinematic treats. A sprinkle of more offbeat holiday favorites is listed below, complete with the best place to find it streaming online.

A comedy Christmas

For some people, the holiday season isn’t complete without some dramatic pratfalls and the potential for serious maiming. The classics in this genre are, of course, “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” both of which are available to stream through Disney+. A slightly lesser-known entry in this category is “Jingle All the Way,” where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad (Google him, kids) bring disaster on themselves by fighting over the last Turbo Man action figure. This one is available through a premium Hulu subscription, though it can also be rented (along with the “Home Alone” movies) through a variety of online platforms. For a more classic take on the genre, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is available to stream through AMC+.



Sweet but offbeat

For anyone looking to add a little bit of quirkiness to their collection of Christmas favorites, Netflix has some really great entries in this category. They kicked things off a few years ago with “The Christmas Chronicles,” featuring adorable young criminals and Kurt Russell as a particularly sassy, no-nonsense Santa. This year they rolled out a sequel, “The Christmas Chronicles 2,” featuring more adorable criminals and Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Santa.

On a more musical note, “Jingle Jangle” has just a touch of that “A Christmas Carol” vibe with even more magic and an absolutely amazing soundtrack. Venturing further out into the Internet, Starz has “Arthur Christmas” (Santa’s less popular son has to deliver a gift that got overlooked by his dad), and Philo has “Scrooged” (Bill Murray as a dark but ultimately sweet Scrooge set in the 1980s television industry). And, of course, we can’t forget the movie that’s perfect for not one but two holidays, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Disney+).



The “Hey, it’s set at Christmas, so it counts” collection

"Batman Returns," isn't all about Santa and reindeer, but it's set at Christmas so we're counting it.
Warner Bros.

This category can get kind of dark, but fans of these movies will cling to them as thoroughly as anyone who has a favorite version of “A Christmas Carol.” One of the most well-known entries in this category is the original “Die Hard,” where some of the most festive touches include impromptu greetings written in blood, rampant Christmas tree destruction, and a creative use of gift tape. “Batman Returns” is another favorite, where there’s a ton of snow, holiday aesthetics used in a potential crime, and mistletoe leads to an accidental superhero/supervillain reveal. If either of those seem like your version of holiday fun, they can be found streaming on HBO Max. For those of a more supernatural bent, “Gremlins” involve cuddly creatures that turn into nightmarish monsters and more hideous Santa-related trauma than should be in any one person’s backstory. For this one, head over to AMC+.

Jenniffer Wardell is an award-winning movie critic and member of the Denver Film Critics Society. Find her on Twitter at @wardellwriter or drop her a line at themovieguruslc@gmail.com.


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