Get into the spirit of the season with movies that are best watched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. While you can always just put a video of a burning log on your TV for the sake of atmosphere, these films — which are free once you subscribe to each service — will get you into the holiday mood.
Love Actually — Netflix
The British film that single-handedly revived Mariah Carey’s classic Christmas song, All I Want For Christmas Is You, is worth a fresh viewing every year. There’s Hugh Grant playing the prime minister falling for his assistant, a pre-Hobbit-and-Sherlock-fame Martin Freeman playing a stand-in on a porn set and a pre-The Walking Dead fame Andrew Lincoln playing a man hopelessly in love with his best friend’s fiancée (Keira Knightley). 2003 was a simpler time.
Scrooged — Netflix
While Bill Murray released A Very Murray Christmas special on Netflix last year (and it’s still available now), check out the 1988-vintage of this Chicagoan, who stars as a narcissistic TV executive who gets visits from three spirits, Christmas Carol-style.
Bad Santa — HBO Now
This 2003 dark comedy took everyone surprise for being … incredibly funny! Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic con man whose favorite time for finding a mark is the holiday season. Playing a mall Santa affords him plenty of time to rip off nearby stores, but it’s his repulsion toward children that really endangers his enterprise. Bad Santa 2 is in theaters now!
White Christmas — Netflix
This Bing Crosby musical, costarring Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt), is the perfect movie to put on while guests circulate at your Christmas soiree. While the titular song originally appeared in 1942 musical Holiday Inn (and earned an Oscar for Best Original Song), this 1954 film about two military entertainers (Crosby and Danny Kaye) and the ladies they fall for in Pine Tree, Vermont, offers a fresh rendition and some snappy non-holiday songs.
Miracle on 34th Street — HBO Now, Amazon Prime
This perennial favorite from 1947 (and its 1994 remake starring Mara Wilson, available on Netflix) centers on Kris Kringle’s employment as a Macy’s department store Santa Claus and the trial he stands in order to prove he’s the real deal.
Gremlins — Amazon Prime
Do the holidays change you from a soft, lovable human to a scaly beast who’s gorging on snacks past midnight? Perhaps the tale of the Mogwai will feel familiar. This 1984 horror comedy will make any Christmas present you give look infinitely better by comparison.
The Muppet Christmas Carol — HBO Now
Charles Dickens’ classic tale about Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) gets the loveliest retelling in this musical take costarring the felt and furry friends of Jim Henson.
Home Alone — HBO Now
Accidentally left on his own for Christmas, precocious 8-year-old Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin) fights off two home-invading thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) with an arsenal ingenious booby traps. The 1990 film written by John Hughes guarantees you’ll never doubt the usefulness of pet tarantulas again.
Lethal Weapon — Hulu
No one’s too old for this s–t. If you’re done with the heartfelt expressions of love and compassion in most holiday movies, try this 1987 action comedy about a pair of cops (Danny Glover and Mel Gibson) who butt heads with each other and the drug lords they’re tracking down, while Christmas looms in the Los Angeles backdrop.
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