Underrated Christmas Movies

By Christopher Crown

October 1, 2020 5 min read

Every family has their own set of classic holiday movies to check off the list when the season approaches. There's nothing more nostalgic than watching your favorite holiday movies by the fire, quoting memorable lines and reminiscing about fun from holiday seasons past. Staying in, social distancing and smaller gatherings will definitely change the feel of this holiday season, but why not channel some of this extra time and seclusion toward finding some new cinematic favorites? Although there are innumerable holiday movies to choose from, I have found the following to be festive and enjoyable.

*'Jingle All the Way'

Although favorite '80s/'90s action star and former "Governator" of California Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this light film with slapstick Christmas antics, you and your family will be yelling, "Put that cookie down!" instead of "Get to the choppa!" This 1996 family-fun classic is often overlooked as a Christmas movie but proves to be a delightful evening escape. Howard (Schwarzenegger) travels through hilarious trial and turmoil as he chases down an elusive Christmas gift for his son, learning a bit more about commitment to family along the way.

When to watch: great for movie night with the kids or as a throwback quotefest

Where you can find it: Prime Video or Hulu

*'Just Friends'

The vastly overweight and awkward high schooler Chris (Ryan Reynolds, in top form) faces rejection from his longtime crush. Flash-forward many years to when the now-devilishly handsome Reynolds comes back home for Christmas and is forced to come to terms with his dysfunctional family and insecure past as he tries again to woo his crush. Unfortunately, a chiseled physique and riches don't seem to be enough to overcome Reynolds' bumbling mistakes and rampant womanizing. Full of laugh-out-loud moments and light but meaningful personal growth, this underrated 2005 rom-com is sure to get some laughs.

When to watch: perfect for date nights

Where you can find it: Netflix

*'Christmas with the Kranks'

This one is a go-to in my family's house, but very few people seem to know about it! Based on an uncharacteristically light John Grisham novel called "Skipping Christmas," this 2004 comedy showcases fantastic chemistry between Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis as husband and wife Luther and Nora Krank. The Kranks were famously festive in previous years but are now dogmatic in their approach and decide to forgo ALL holiday traditions to take a cruise instead. They attract the bitterness of their entire neighborhood, and hilarity ensues. With only a 5.4/10 rating on IMDB, this one might seem a longshot, but when you see Allen with botched Botox or Curtis' tactics for stealthily sneaking out of Christmas traditions, a la Navy Seals, it'll all be worth it.

When to watch: This one hits home for all occasions. The third act makes it quite suitable right near Christmas, however.

Where you can find it: Prime Video and Vudu

*'The Night Before'

This film is without a doubt the most edgy movie on this list (and the most recent -- released in 2015). Popular comedian Seth Rogen stars with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie in this raunchy rollercoaster ride that chronicles three best friends' attempts to get to a Christmas Eve party. The three are about to transition into more adult responsibilities and vow to experience one last hurrah. It's a wild quest that brings them impactful realizations along the way. Although this movie lacks the consistency to be a true classic, the conglomeration of funny skits, Rogen's hysterical acting and elaborate set pieces all leave you with many belly laughs.

When to watch: This one is not for kids or conservative parents. Think more about guys/girls nights.

Where you can find it: Hulu Premium or Sling Premium for free

Take the opportunity to watch a few new-to-you holiday movies this season for some refreshing laughs. Who knows? They might end up on your must-watch list next year.

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