Non-traditional Holiday Movies

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‘Tis the season for holiday movies. Some viewers prefer traditional heart-warming holiday classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street. For the rest of you—who prefer your holiday movies with explosions—there is probably no better holiday movie than the 1988 action classic Die Hard.

I’ve rounded up a handful of seasonally appropriate movies below, with something that should appeal to even the most discerning cinefile and/or saccharine-adverse.

Yippee-Ki-Yay Happy Holidays!

The Apartment

An insurance employee loans out his apartment to managers and their mistresses, with the hope of getting a promotion. Everything is going along swimmingly until the aftermath of the office Christmas party.

Better Off Dead

If you’re looking for a dark, twisted 1980’s comedy to watch this holiday season, you can do no better than this cult gem. Lane Myer has just been dumped by his girlfriend for the captain of the ski team, and this film chronicles his attempts to win her back or die trying. It also features some of the absolute worst Christmas gifts in film history – frozen TV dinners, and a framed photo of “Little Ricky” (trust me).

A Christmas Tale

A bone marrow transplant, mental illness, self-injury, alienation, general family dysfunction and Catherine Deneuve. It’s a very French holiday film!

Christmas Evil

Poor Harry had a disturbing episode with Santa as a child. He then grows up to become a vigilante Santa, rewarding “nice” children and punishing “naughty” ones. This is apparently John Waters‘ favorite Christmas movie, and depending on your tastes, that’s either high praise or a strong deterrent.

Gremlins

A perfect lesson in why it is never acceptable to give a pet as a gift without the recipient’s consent.

In Bruges

Two hit men lay low in Bruges, Belgium during the holiday season and develop a love/hate relationship with the city. One loves it, one hates it.

Iron Man 3

This movie came out in May of 2013, but oddly enough, takes place during the Christmas season. There’s a lot of holiday ambiance; twinkling Christmas lights, snow, wrapped packages and exploding Christmas tree ornaments.

Some have even commented on how this film is actually an adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, albeit with things blowing up.

Rare Exports

A Finnish film that reimagines Santa as a supernatural creature that punishes naughty children instead of rewarding nice ones.

2046

Are you pining over lost love? Filled with existential dread and regret? If your Christmas Eve plans involve sitting at a bar pondering over recent poor life choices and drowning in ennui, then boy, this is the holiday film for you!