Bad Santa – HBO Now/HBO Go
The title is a dead giveaway that this isn’t your typical Christmas movie and it sure as hell isn’t family-friendly, but this hilarious dark comedy still manages to capture the spirit of the season. Billy Bob Thornton stars as a thief who dresses up as a mall Santa Claus so he and his partner-in-crime (who dresses up as an elf) can rob the stores at night, but his hard-partying ways pose a threat to their latest heist.
A Christmas Story – HBO Now/HBO Go/Amazon
The classic about a boy who just wants a rifle for Christmas, despite everyone telling him he’ll hurt himself with it, is a must for the holiday.
Scrooged – Netflix
There have been a lot of movies based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but Scrooged ranks high amongst the ones that got it right. Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a mean and selfish TV executive forced to confront his past, present and future as his network prepares for a live holiday show. Showcasing Murray in his prime, this underrated classic is the perfect antidote to holiday cheese.
Home Alone – HBO Now/HBO Go
Who knew a movie about unintentionally neglectful parents and a kid stuck at home over Christmas fending off a break-in could be the perfect holiday comedy? What’s also great about Home Alone is that the setup could only work at the time of the film, so no one will ruin it for you by insisting on a remake. Twenty-six years after it dominated the box office, it still stands as one of the best Christmas films of all time, and a chance to live out your childhood fantasies of having the house to yourself. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals.
Reindeer Games – HBO Now/HBO Go
Reindeer Games is all about deception and twists. Ex-con Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) is forced to participate in a Christmas casino robbery after he assumes the identity of his cellmate, Nick. Nick had been writing to Ashley (Charlize Theron), a woman whose brother is orchestrating the heist. If you’re looking for something outside the standard holiday comedies, Reindeer Games has you covered.
Gremlins – Amazon
The subtitle of Gremlins should be “when gift-giving goes wrong.” A dad’s search for a gift for his son leads him to Chinatown where he gets a creature called a mogwai. After one of the strict rules for taking care of it is broken, the mogwai spawns more of them, which eventually turn into not-so-friendly gremlins that cause chaos in the town. This 80’s classic is a great mix of comedy and scares so it’s great for a wide audience.
BoJack Horseman: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish – Netflix
The irreverent Netflix original series tackles Christmas in a special that’s basically anti-Christmas specials. BoJack and Todd watch the holiday episode of Horsin’ Around, the 80s sitcom BoJack used to star on, to see why people like Christmas episodes so much. Yeah, it’s as hilarious as you can imagine.
BONUS: Die Hard – Amazon (worth the $3.99 rental)
Debate rages on about whether Die Hard is actually a Christmas movie, but we say, “hell yes”. It boasts Bruce Willis at his action blockbuster best as John McClane, a badass NYC cop who’s tasked with saving hostages (and Christmas) after terrorists take over an LA high rise. For our money, this is what Christmas is all about.