Have you got your Christmas watching thought out yet? Tradition is to buy a copy of the Christmas RTE Guide and a big marker, staking out your claim on the tv for whatever is on. However, as network television can be a little lacklustre at this time of year at times, Netflix is to the rescue. If you’re looking for movies to chill out with as a family, Christmas specials to enjoy with the kids in bed or simply something to pass the hours lazily, here’s a guide to what you can check out.
The quintessential family Christmas movie, child abandonment and hijinks galore. Macauley Culkin, last seen on those rather odd insurance ads in the UK, plays Kevin McAllister, who is left home alone when his family heads off on a vacation to Paris. Not ideal, as you’d imagine, especially with burglars trying to break into the house. However, this kid gives as good as he gets, so in using some seriously violent tactics he staves off their advances on the house – you’ll laugh, you’ll reminisce, you’ll wonder how Child Services didn’t remove him. Enjoy!
Frank Cross runs a US TV station which is planning a live adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Frank’s childhood wasn’t a particularly pleasant one, and so he doesn’t really appreciate the Christmas spirit. With the help of the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, Frank realises he must change. As retellings of Dickens go, it doesn’t quite give the feel-good spirit of the Muppets Christmas Carol, but it’s a decent festive watch.
I’ve seen this described as the ultimate Christmas film. Personally it’s not my idea of the ultimate in festive, but it’s got that reputation for a reason. The original (there are MANY) sequels, revolves aroundÂ John McClane, officer of the NYPD, who tries to save his wifeÂ Holly GennaroÂ and several others that were taken hostage by German terroristÂ Hans GruberÂ during a Christmas party at theÂ Nakatomi PlazaÂ in Los Angeles.You know, the normal quiet Christmas Eve celebrations. If you’re into action movies, this is for you. It’s got Bruce Willis and the late great Alan Rickman, so I’d stick it on the list for when the smallies have gone to bed.
Jingle All The Way
I remember going to see this in the cinema as a child on our yearly excursion to the cinema with my grandmother. Arnie, in his pre-governor, post-action hero days, is a dad who just canâ€™t get it right, but is trying his best this year to make Christmas perfect for his son. Parents who were looking for aÂ Hatchimal thisÂ year will relate a lot to this movie. Itâ€™s funny, itâ€™s festive, itâ€™s feel good and itâ€™s suitable for all the family, ticks all the boxes for a good Christmas film.
Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. Perfect for kids who start doubting the scientific possibility of Santa’s great overnight work – this should set them on the right path as well as giving giggles galore.
Primary school teacher Paul Maddens is charged with producing the school’s nativity play. Competing against the posh rival school for the honor of best reviewed show in town, the stakes are raised when Paul idly boasts that his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, a Hollywood Producer, is coming to see his show with a view to turning it into a film. The only trouble is – they haven’t spoken in years. With eccentric assistant Mr Poppy fuelling his ‘little white lie’, Maddens suddenly finds himself a local celebrity and at the center of quarreling parents and over-excited children desperate in their bid for fame and fortune. Maddens’ only hope is to get back in touch with Jennifer and lure Hollywood to town so that everybody’s Christmas wishes come true.
Black Adder Christmas CarolÂ
Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is a one-off episode of Blackadder, a parody of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is set between Blackadder the Third and Blackadder Goes Forth, and is narrated by Hugh Laurie. In 1850, EbenezerÂ Blackadder’sÂ loathsome relatives pay him a visit onÂ ChristmasÂ Eve.Â The incredible comic timing of Rowan AtkinsonÂ andÂ Tony RobinsonÂ make this a fantastic watch.
Dreamworks Holiday Classics Collection
The people who brought you Shrek and Madagascar have put together some shorts to get the festive season off to a good start â€“ the perfect length to amuse little kids, long enough for you to enjoy that coffee by yourself without distraction, not so long that the guilt about how much screen time theyâ€™ve had today kicks in.
Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special – AND The Behind The Scenes
I’ve mentioned the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special before as one of my favourite Christmas watches, but this year has been made even more special. Netflix have included a Behind The Scenes episode (Ep 2 of Season 3) showing all the backstage gossip and goings on. You can tell it’s a set full of love and comradery, and really adds to the viewing experience. Also, James Corden and Matt Horne kicking off the festive season with this is just fab.
Movie Night Madness
Sleeping Beauty – from the other side. Angelina Jolie plays the eponymous character, misunderstood Malificent, the villain of the tale from Sleeping Beauty’s point of view. It is to SB what Wicked is to The Wizard Of Oz. As well as that, it’s a beautiful cinematic watch, suitable for all the family.Â A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal – an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces a battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom – and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.
Into The Woods
I love musicals, so it’s no surprise that this is on my festive watching list. A jam packed star-filled cast, including James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and more, this is a joy to watch. Just be careful the songs don’t get stuck in your head.
This smash-hit movie starring Ireland’s own Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson is a beautiful story.Â An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.
This seems to be on every Christmas at some point, or rather it was for years and now I associate it with Christmas. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 18 years, Titanic is a love story set on the Ship Of Dreams between privileged Rose and Jack, a man on Titanic by sheer chance. It’s got class snobbery, Leo at his peak cute youth face, and of course, Celine Dion. Sure, you might as well stick it on while tucking into the Roses tin….
That should be enough to keep you going over the festive period. What are you looking forward to watching? Do you have any traditional watches each year? Let me know your favourites in the comments below or over on Facebook!
Disclosure:I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and received a Netflix subscription and an iPad Mini in return for posting Netflix updates and reviews, however, all opinions are my own, and I already had a personal subscription before joining the Stream Team.