‘Tis the season to gather the family ’round the roaring fire, pile the Santa plate with homemade cookies, and warm up a mug of decadent hot chocolate.  Or, if you’re like me, and currently unemployed and living in an apartment without a fireplace, you can settle for a bottle of cheap white wine and raw cookie dough.

That red-hatted bastard doesn't know what's coming…and apparently I'm also preparing to weep.

That red-hatted bastard doesn’t know what’s coming…and apparently I’m also preparing to weep.

Yes, Christmas brings out the best and worst in me. I have a level of holiday cheer that I share with loved ones, and a fat-sack-of-crap waits inside of me to plant myself in front of the TV. And every year, I have a mental list of movies I have to watch leading up to Christmas Day. I figured I’d share them with you. The Internet. Because everything is sacred on the Internet.

HOLIDAY MOVIES I HAVE TO WATCH OR ELSE THE HOLIDAYS NEVER HAPPEN FOR ME

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

At this point, an electrified Chevy Chase would be an improvement.

At this point, an electrified Chevy Chase would be an improvement.

As the title of the post indicates, this one is my immediate go-to film to start my holiday season. It’s the quintessential classic tale of a family preparing their home for the guests from Hell. With a ridiculously talented cast including E.G. Marshall, Juliette Lewis, and Doris Roberts, it’s hard to find any downside. Also, it’s just nice to see Randy Quaid getting work. The poor lunatic only really has Kingpin and Independence Day to help out his acting career, unless you want to count the “much anticipated” sequel to Christmas Vacation. 

Take a moment and think about how a team of writers met to discuss the storyboard for this.

Take a moment and think about how a team of writers met to discuss the storyboard for this.

Santa’s Slay

Wrestling-great Bill Goldberg plays himself with a beard and a knife. That's all I needed to hear.

Wrestling-great Bill Goldberg plays himself with a beard and an icicle. That’s all I needed to hear.

When someone told me this movie existed a few years ago, I’ll admit – I was a little skeptical. Not skeptical to whether or not the movie would be good. It’s a movie about a rampaging, murdering Santa Claus, so it was going to be goddamn amazing regardless. I was skeptical as to how ANY casting agency would be able to land all-star actor Bill Goldberg in his prime. You know. His prime, being the mid-2000’s. Every Goldberg performance is an Oscar performance. Also, Emilie de Ravin out of left fucking field, playing a supporting role with an American accent! Good for you, Emilie. Good to see you taking a quick break from your Emmy-winning show to do brilliant side projects.

It’s A Wonderful Life

Mr. Potter is the best Christmas douchebag of all time. #occupybedfordfalls

Mr. Potter is the best Christmas douchebag of all time. #occupybedfordfalls

GOOD MORNING, BEDFORD FALLS. HERE COMES JIMMY STEWART YELLING AT STREET SIGNS AND TALKING TO GHOSTS. In all seriousness, this is pretty much known as the greatest Christmas film of all time. Frank Capra created a masterpiece story of what-ifs, thankfulness, and an immense distaste for corporatocracy. A guardian angel reminds Stewart that the lives of his loved ones are doomed to…well…just…sort of exist, I guess…which makes Stewart pissed off and want to challenge Potter to a lightsaber fight. Alright, to be honest, I never watched the last 15 minutes.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

That Finnish kid's face is a train wreck…and I can't look away...

That Finnish kid’s face is a train wreck…and I can’t look away…

This one was a surprising addition to the list, seeing as how I just watched it for the first time yesterday, but I felt like it was worth mentioning. Rare Exports is a new take on the “Christmas Horror” genre, by having Santa Claus dug up like a horrifying Encino Man, hellbent on the destruction of mankind and children theft. Throw in some evil elves, and the Finnish equivalent of the Duck Dynasty crew, and you have an interesting movie to add to your instant queue.

Scrooged

Bill Murray plays Bill Murray in "Bill Murray's Christmas Special"

Bill Murray plays Bill Murray in “Bill Murray’s Christmas Special”

I’m in agreement with pretty much the rest of the internet – Bill Murray is a genius, and deserves every paycheck he’s ever earned. This is especially the case with the Christmas Carol revamp, Scrooged, where Murray plays a television executive putting on a somewhat-watered-down live showing of the actual Christmas Carol. Visited by the always hysterical Carol Kane, David Johansen (who looks shockingly like Benicio del Toro), and the irrelevant actor playing the Future ghost, Murray revisits his old relationships with his family, friends, and former lover. There’s also the horrifying scene where Jamie Farr takes Murray by the neck and holds him outside his office window, and it still makes me super nervous.

The Christmas Toy

All I wanted for Christmas was that tiger puppet. God damn you, Jim Henson, for these beautiful characters.

All I wanted for Christmas was that tiger puppet. God damn you, Jim Henson, for these beautiful characters.

Even though this was a made-for-TV movie, it makes my list of must-watch holiday favorites every year. This story is about anthropomorphic toys who hide their living ability from the kids who own them. They’re not allowed to come to life when their owners are around, or else they’re frozen in place forever. And the overarching plot is Rugby the Tiger wants to be the favorite toy this year, but accidentally unleashes Meteora, the alien queen toy, who doesn’t know she’s a toy. Okay. I absolutely butchered the description of this movie. All you need to know is that it was nominated for an Emmy, it’s a Muppet production, and it’s so goddamn good. Also, the stuffed mouse is adorable. I don’t know what else to say. Go watch it? Yeah. Go watch it. Do it.

TO BE CONTINUED…later.

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