The last time most of us had a Christmas break as long as this year’s was when we were busting our nuts trying to impress our cute Kris Kringle partners in high school.
Amidst all the holiday hoopla, which will likely involve yuletide binge drinking, Noche Buena chow-downs, and (hopefully) a generous amount of mistletoe spit-swapping, there’ll be a lot of downtime to kill this celebratory season. Gift yourself with some good old-fashioned cinematic entertainment by adding more ho-ho-ho to your man-cave sessions. Because, if Santa had his way, ’tis the season to relax in your pajamas, sip on some hot cocoa, and pop in a movie that conjures the Christmas spirit.
1) DIE HARD (1988)
If your office Christmas party were taken hostage by German terrorists like the one in this action classic, you’d be asking old St. Nick for a savior in the form of a yet-to-be-bald Bruce Willis. When John McClane crashes a shindig, you can count on Christmas carols being replaced with a jolly “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!”
Your Christmas present: Unabashed, high-octane sequences from Mr. Willis in his prime
2) BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
The Penguin (aka a freaky as fuck Danny DeVito) unleashes a circus of farcical criminals onto the winter wonderland city of Gotham. Because it’s Tim Burton at his best, Gothic Bat foe fumbling ensues when Michael Keaton takes to the suit and saves the day.
Your Christmas present: Michelle Pfeifer as Catwoman is purrrfectly more clawing than Anne Hathaway’s rendition of the slinky Selina Kyle.
3) TANGING YAMAN (2000)
The holidays are all about family gatherings. But in the Philippines, they’re also all about the Metro Manila Film Festival. And this familial drama was the big winner in the year 2000, sweeping Best Film for its portrayal of a middle-income Filipino family in the throes of unraveling. One of the rare times that the MMFF produces something worth re-watching.
Your Christmas present: The stellar cast includes industry big wigs Hilda Koronel, Dina Bonnevie, Johnny Delgado, Joel Torre, and Cherry Pie Picache just to name a few. Make sure to pack the TP, this one is a cry-fest!
4) ELF (2003)
Buddy is not your typical Santa’s little helper. In fact, he’s humongous, can consume illimitable amounts of sugar, and has an endless supply of daddy issues he needs to resolve in order to come to terms with his true identity. Overflowing with laugh-out-loud moments, this holiday tale is a reminder of how family is the key (and the source) of our existential woes.
Your Christmas present: Aside from the fact that you get to see the semi-awkward Will Ferrell prancing around NYC in an elf outfit, you also get to see manic-pixie-dream-girl Zooey Deschanel singing her sweet lungs out in an elf outfit as well.
5) THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
The ghouls at Halloween Town decide to kidnap Santa Claus in order for their main man, Jack Skellington, to take over Christmas. But instead of candy canes and fun toys filling their stockings, kids get monsters, weapons, and maggots. Sounds like tons of fun? It is.
Your Christmas present: This morbidly fantastical stop-motion animation musical is a fan favorite of people on the naughty list. Morbid, macabre, and murderously amusing, it’s a hellish trip to the dark recesses of your childhood.
6) 9 MORNINGS (2002)
Piolo Pascual’s cynical character in this Jose Javier Reyes drama isn’t into the Pinoy tradition of simbang gabi for divinity and the tasty puto bumbong. As he mourns the tragic death of his girlfriend, he catches a break when he’s accorded the chance to inherit his late grandmother’s fortune. The catch: He needs to attend all nine morning masses. Of course, like all other Christmas romances, he finds true love instead.
Your Christmas present: Classic FHM cover girl Donita Rose is a godsend as the radiant romantic interest.
7) GO (1999)
What’s a better way to celebrate the Christmas season than by having a drug deal go awry? Told from multiple points of view, this frenetic comedy spins together the lives of several misguided LA natives, where ecstasy is popped, bridesmaids get boned, and dealers get hijacked.
Your Christmas present: A pre-Scientology Katie Holmes before she was married and divorced to loony master Tom Cruise gives one of her singularly potent performances.
8) MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN (1979)
Count on wry British humor to come up with a plot that involves a man named Brian Cohen, who by cosmic fate is born on the same day as Jesus Christ in the stable next door. Mistaken for the messiah, Brian must escape the cruel intentions of a pesky Pontius Pilate.
Your Christmas present: There are enough blasphemous jokes and heretic hilarity to give your grandparents a heart attack.
9) EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)
Set during a chilly New York Christmas, Stanley Kubrick’s last film is an icy look at the power plays and sexual politics within a socialite couple’s crumbling relationship. They say it’s the film that killed Kubrick (and possibly ended stars Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s love story), but this underrated gem is an erotic journey through the psychological misgivings of a marriage on the edge.
Your Christmas present: One scene has Tom Cruise’s Dr. Bill Harford stumbling upon an illicit orgy attended by masked deviants.
10) SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL 9 (2007)
You've seen it all from this almost-annually-occurring horror franchise, but in this installment comes a decidedly Christmas-themed story. The episode is called “Christmas Tree” and tells the tale of a monstrous Christmas Tree that comes to life and ravages a poor family.
Your Christmas Present: At its best, it’s campy, gaudy, unadulterated entertainment that pokes some terror into a supposed season of peace. Plus, you really can’t have a decent December without another crappy Shake, Rattle, and Roll shocker. Take it like a man.
11) LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)
A movie riddled with love of all kinds (romantic, sibling, young and old) during one British Christmas season. Multiple characters intersect as kids, couples, and co-workers navigate the highs and lows of romance. With an ensemble cast of the UK’s and US’s best entertainers, it’s the ultimate chick flick to get your ladylove in a cheery mood.
Your Christmas present: A budding Keira Knightley in all her spring-chicken glory!
12) BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006)
A sorority house filled with sexy chicks on college Christmas break is a serial killer’s wish list incarnate. This spooky seasonal slasher flick is about a maniac on the loose at a campus where, when the girls aren’t partying, they're running around half-naked trying not to get their throats cut open.
Your Christmas present: Sorority sisters trying to elude a psychopath’s carnal craving for blood will have your girl curling up close to you for some hugs and (hopefully) a little bit more.
13) HOME ALONE (1990)
Macaulay Culkin is too obvious a choice, but what the heck. It has been two decades after we saw this super kid beat up a pair of bumbling holiday robbers, but we still crack up every time we see that flat iron whack them bad guys on the face!
Your Christmas present: Culkin's bag of tricks still inspires us to do our own homemade traps, or at the very least, come up with creative Christmas pranks in the office!
14) GREMLINS (1984)
Getting a new pet during the holidays is always a sublime treat…unless it’s a strange creature that multiplies when it comes in contact with water and wreaks havoc on your sleepy town. Lesson learned: stick to puppies, at least they won’t maul your face for shits and giggles.
Your Christmas present: A young Phoebe Cates in tight knit sweaters should be the solution to your cold SMP nights
15) SCROOGED (1988)
This modern (if you can still consider the late ’80s modern, that is) retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol centers on the life of pessimistic negatron Frank Cross, a TV executive hated and feared by the people around him. In classic Dickens fashion, he’s haunted by the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future, forcing him to reevaluate his life choices before it’s too late.
Your Christmas present: Three words: Bill Fucking Murray
16) MIXED NUTS (1994)
Although lambasted by critics and audiences alike when it first came out in 1994, this quirky Christmas comedy packs some heart and soul. Steve Martin stars as Philip, head of a suicide-prevention hotline and a good-natured man surrounded by the wackiest, most deranged nitwits in the City of Angels.
Your Christmas present: Witness Adam Sandler in one of his sophomore performances as a kooky ukulele-playing idiot in the throes of adoration with a drag queen