Our stockings are full of holiday streaming options whose titles, on Netflix and Hallmark and elsewhere, tend to blur into a single extended holiday viewing option that we’ll call “Countdown to Falling in Love with Christmas with You on a Holiday at Mistletoe Farm All the Way”. .” Someone should do that one, and then we’ll be done for a while.
In the meantime: Here’s a list of 10 Christmas movies, nine streaming, one in theaters. Some are old. Some are not. Some you already know. Some you won’t. Some are creepy. Most are not. Happy viewing and stay warm.
“Holiday” (1938): The greatest romantic New Year’s Eve scene in Hollywood history, and yes, I’ve seen “When Harry Met Sally.” With downstairs partygoers Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant in the penthouse game room of a Park Avenue mansion, they find themselves about to realize just what they mean to each other in the exquisite Director George Cukor’s film version of Philip Barry’s 1928 play. On Amazon Prime, YouTube, Apple TV+, and other streaming services.
“Remember the Night” (1940): A nugget, hard to find but worth it. In Manhattan on vacation, Assistant District Attorney Fred MacMurray feels sorry for convicted burglar Barbara Stanwyck (he’s the one who convicted her), so he bails her out and takes her to her Indiana home to Christmas. It’s a truly unpredictable mix of comedy, drama, astringent family dynamics, and sneaky romance. Preston Sturges’ screenplay, Mitchell Leisen’s pearly direction, the stars! Sturges’s own assessment: “Lots of schmaltz, a good dose of schmerz, and enough schmutz to hit the box office.” On the fawesome.tv service, if he wants to find a younger relative to help him figure it out.
“Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944): The winter sequences in director Vincente Minnelli’s painfully nostalgic view of turn-of-the-century American life are only a quarter of the plot. But every season is wonderfully realized in this one, which comes graced with “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Judy Garland stars, and how. On Amazon Prime and other streaming services.
“Christmas Vacation” (1944): Some titles are more deceptive than others; this sinister wartime film noir from director Robert Siodmak takes the cake. It comes from the novel by W. Somerset Maugham. The movie version stars Gene Kelly as a murderous gambler, and Deanna Durbin, haunted by Christmas memories she can’t forget. A marvelous “gotcha” studio with angry expectations but finally fulfilled. Stream on Roku and YouTube.
“The Family Man” (2000): My wife’s favorite season rerun, and I love her like hell, so that’s about it. Selfish and greedy businessman Nicolas Cage learns a lesson about true commitment and what’s important from his college sweetheart (Tea Leoni) with the help of an angel (Don Cheadle). On Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services.
“Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (2020): The recent Netflix original musical features a host of black talent in a Victorian-era fantasy starring Justin Cornwell, Forest Whitaker, Anika Noni Rose and Madalen Mills. Some (including my colleague Nina Metz) have written that “Jingle Jangle” has “the makings of a classic that endures year after year.” Streaming on Netflix.
“The Noel Diary” (2022): Another Christmas gift from Netflix, this one from Richard Paul Evans’ book, about a best-selling author (Justin Hartley of “Smallville” and “The Young and the Restless”) who inherits his parents’ house after her mother’s death Luminous Barrett Doss (luminosity: always a good quality to have in a holiday-themed heart-warmer) co-stars as a woman searching for answers to her own family secrets. Premiere Thursday on Netflix.
“Violent Night” (2022): “Bad Santa” Just Got Owned: David Harbor stars as a bloodthirsty bloodthirsty who has apparently been seeing a heavy rotation of “Straw Dogs” and “Home Alone 2” (they are just as sadistic) in build up to this hostage thriller in which brutal mercenaries led by John Leguizamo pay for their place on the naughty list. Theatrical release on December 2. Rated R for “really?”
“Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” (2022): We’re never far from another Dickens “Christmas Carol” remake or two: already on Apple TV+ is “Spirited,” with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds, and next up is the new Netflix animated movie “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol.” From the trailer, it looks and sounds like a variation on the 1970 “Scrooge” movie, but with a lot more fireballs and time travel portals. The voice cast includes Luke Evans, Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, and Jonathan Pryce. Premiere on Netflix on December 2.
“The Apology” (2022): A Christmas domestic thriller starring Anna Gunn as a haunted mother whose son disappeared 20 years earlier. Her estranged ex-brother-in-law (Linus Roache) shows up unannounced, with some secrets to spill along with the blood promised by first-time writer-director Alison Star Locke. Janeane Garofalo co-stars. Premiere on Shudder on December 16.
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