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Hollywood Christmas


When the December holidays roll around you can be sure that Christmas movies will be getting some serious replay time. There are the cockle-warming classics such as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, The Holiday and of course Love, Actually, and then they are the glut of never-ending Xmas spirit-wielding movies that threaten to tear a hole in the space-time continuum.

The biggest creative decision when it comes to making one of these heartwarming, predictable and low-hanging baubles is whether to include the word 'Christmas' in the movie title. This is a surefire way to keep your film relatively accessible when it comes to search during this holiday season, although based on the sheer number of results these days, the word 'Christmas' is probably becoming more trouble than it's worth.

Hollywood Christmas

Being able to distinguish your Christmas movie from the lot takes some doing. While jigging the Christmas title can help a bit, especially if you don't have a recognisable cast, it's even safer if you can compel some name stars of yesteryear to scrape the barrel in a bid to coast on their former glory. Look no further than < a href="https://www.splingmovies.com/2021/11/movie-review-father-christmas-is-back/">Father Christmas is Back to see the likes of Kelsey Grammer, John Cleese and Elizabeth Hurley throwing it around. The formula is so strong and predetermined that embroidering the ensemble with a few trinket actors simply adds to the nostalgic pull.

Typically centred on cheesy romance where one couple (or several) happen to rekindle the flicker of undying passion through a cute-meet of some sort, the posters are often just as uninspired as the titles. Featuring two people, usually bejeweled by Christmas d├ęcor of some sort and giving off a plastic feel, it's quite easy to spot these cheap and cheerful bland-to-oblivion romcoms. There is a decidedly vanilla aspect, trying to instill a degree of smarminess that signals to the prospective viewer what they're in for without leaving any margin for unpredictability.

The joy of watching these Christmas movies is usually expressed in being able to completely shut off your mind and fall in love with falling in love. While romcoms have a similar ambition, celebrating the giddiness of the "will they, won't they" ritual, Christmas romcoms literally take the fruitcake. Chock-full of glazed ingredients you can be sure to reach the bliss point in seconds flat, making the alignment of a sugary high and dreamy romantic fantasy seem like serendipity (you may have seen it - the one with John Cusack).

Whether it's about granting a Christmas wish in the pursuit of goodwill and peace on earth, or sealing the deal when it comes to the promise of an eggnog-fueled rendezvous, it's difficult to avoid becoming overly sentimental. Thankfully, the sky's the limit, not just for Santa and his prized reindeer but almost every character provided you're not watching A Christmas Carol with Scrooge. It's an opportunity to reach impossible new heights of humanity, a few magical days for characters to be as other-centred and altruistic as the alien being known as Superman... probably the only one who could realistically deliver gifts through chimneys at the speed of light.

Christmas isn't all shiny baubles and snow angels for everyone. A tricky time for those who may not be near family or friends, it can invoke feelings of loneliness amid all the festivity. Perhaps all this holly jolly cheer is the reason that some films have gone for the complete opposite effect. Die Hard is described as one of the greatest Christmas movies ever, finding a barefoot John McClane rattling off a number of choice expletives in order to subvert a terrorist attack from an iconic Alan Rickman and his cronies at a high-rise building.

Taking this grittier approach, we can also understand why dark comedies have come to embrace the Christmas motif. The Ice Harvest (another John Cusack film) runs rampant with it. Taking matters a step further, we can look to Billy Bob Thornton in the cult comedy Bad Santa or more recently another Christmas actioner in Violent Night starring David Harbour.

Armed with a full spectrum of Christmas movies to suit anyone's mood come the "happy holidays", you get to decide how you want to usher in the festive season. Decking the halls, ringing the sleigh bells or foiling a terrorist plot... there's something for everyone. One thing's for sure, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the pure excess of tissing the season to be jolly... whatever that means, in style.