Things always seem to work out in the movies. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with movies set during Christmas. For this reason, it’s often nice, or at least surprising, when Christmas films run against expectations and exhibit less sappy or more macabre traits.
If you’re going to have one of your characters execute another, why not have him do it in a Santa hat? Irony! Beyond that, Christmas always makes for aesthetically pleasing (to me) and evocative set design, which can’t make a film better, but often makes them more enjoyable.
But mostly it’s the guys with guns in Santa hats. That shit’s gold.
Here are a handful of films that play against Christmas, rather than with it, to varying degrees of success.
What’s great about Die Hard is that it’s such an “un-Christmas” movie that just happens to be set during Christmastime. It’s remarkable that there’s only one really bad Christmas joke in the film (see the pic), but even the joke relies more on Alan Rickman‘s reading than the line itself.
The film actually opens with a strong Christmas theme (the limo ride for John), but that gives way to some of the best action cinema ever made, thankfully.
Sure, the lush setting of a Gotham Christmas lured Tim Burton to set the Batman follow-up during the holidays, but the actual fact that it’s Christmas seems to be the elephant in the room. There are lots of Christmas settings, but the characters in Gotham seem almost forbidden to talk about it, which actually helps to draw Gotham as a very distinct world.
I was hoping this film would get people to start associating penguins with Christmas, but it hasn’t happened. Yet?