Retrospective: Top 10 Best (Unconventional) Christmas Movies | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Retrospective: Top 10 Best (Unconventional) Christmas Movies

It's Christmas Eve! And no Christmas would ever be complete without watching a couple of Christmas movies, right? After all, it's a part of everyone's family tradition during this joyful season and among the common picks are those unforgettable classics including IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947), contemporary classics like HOME ALONE (1990) and THE SANTA CLAUSE (1994) and recent ones like this year's ARTHUR CHRISTMAS. But for those who wants to break away from watching the same old traditional Christmas movies, why not watch something different? Here's my pick for "Top 10 Best (Unconventional) Christmas Movies" below:

Forget about the good ol' jolly Santa Claus. Here you see Ben Affleck and Gary Sinise pulling off a daring casino heist dressing up in Santa suit, armed with loads of attitude and guns. On the plus side, you get a sexy and naughty Charlize Theron in the mix as well.

In my personal opinion, this is the last best (if not heavily flawed) action movie Finnish director Renny Harlin has ever made since his DIE HARD 2 and CLIFFHANGER heydays before his directing resume becomes gradually awful from time to time. Geena Davis, Harlin's then-wife, was a real sport here, playing a convincing action heroine with an amnesiac past. The final sequence was the movie's most memorable scene -- a spectacular showdown at the suspension bridge. Oh, wait... did I mention Davis also rides atop the overturned truck skidding across the slippery road like a surfboard? Yup, it's a pure guilty pleasure at best. Add that with an always-reliable Samuel L. Jackson and a smirking villainous turn by Craig Bierko in the mix.

Hideously-looking bad and naughty gremlins wreck havoc at a sleepy small town of Kingston Falls in Joe Dante's cult classic GREMLINS! With an adorably cute pet Mogwai in the mix, this is an essential horror comedy to watch for during Christmas season!

It's heartbreaking to see that the late great director Stanley Kubrick never lives to see his final masterpiece, EYES WIDE SHUT, succeeds as his biggest box-office hit ever (to the tune of $55.6 million at the U.S. box-office). Despite mixed reviews, EYES WIDE SHUT remains the kind of movie that is hard to ignore at all. After all, the movie stars the then-popular, husband-and-wife team Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at their slithery best and of course, for those who have watched this movie, the most memorable set-piece was none others than the infamous orgy scene.

If you don't know Shane Black, he's a once-acclaimed screenwriter who dominated the late '80s and early '90s with blockbuster hits like LETHAL WEAPON (1987), THE LAST BOY SCOUT (1991), LAST ACTION HERO (1993) and THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996). In his first directorial debut, Black pays a loving tribute to the old-fashioned, hard boiled detective fiction peppered with his trademark snappy and profanity-filled dialogue. KISS KISS BANG BANG is no doubt a catchy title, and it got a rejuvenated Robert Downey Jr. delivered one of his most entertaining performances yet in his career. Top that along is the usually bland-looking Val Kilmer in a surprisingly best turn as a sarcastic gay detective and up-and-coming Michelle Monaghan playing an eye-catching sex symbol.

In my personal opinion, Tim Burton-produced and Henry Selick-directed THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS remains among the best stop-motion animated feature ever made. This classic got all the trademark dark humor and gothic twist that characterized the best work of Tim Burton, and who can forget the iconic character of Jack Skellington (voiced by composer Danny Elfman)?

LETHAL WEAPON needs no introduction. But here goes anyway: it's one of the landmark action movies that established the buddy-cop genre, and launched the ultimate Hollywood career for Mel Gibson as the suicidal cop Martin Riggs. Oh yeah, it got Gary Busey playing a great villain here as Mr. Joshua who hates Christmas ("Goddamn Christmas!") -- particularly when he got really pissed off towards the end of the movie.

Poor John McClane (Bruce Willis). He already suffered a bad night during Christmas in DIE HARD (1988), stranded at the Nakatomi Plaza with a bunch of terrorists and now here he is again -- How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice? This time, he's trapped in Washington Dulles International Airport with even more high-tech terrorists, and ironically, it's also during Christmas season. More attitude, bigger action, bigger explosion and everything that spells "more" -- DIE HARD 2 is an ultimate action blockbuster to watch this Christmas season.

Billy Bob Thornton is a bad motherfucker. A bad Santa who likes to cuss, drink, smokes and fucks around (women, of course). Featuring the sweet-looking Lauren Graham of TV's Gilmore Girls, who gets all naughty and fetish here. ("Fuck me, Santa. Fuck me, Santa").

Here you are -- the numero uno -- DIE HARD! It's Christmas, and it ain't pretty or jolly for New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) coming down to L.A. to visit his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at her workplace in Nakatomi Plaza. He's clearly on his own to fight against a bunch of terrorists lead by Hans Gruber (an incomparable Alan Rickman), relying mostly on his streetwise attitude. Speaking of streetwise attitude, here's the most memorable one: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho." (watch the famous clip here).

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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