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elbanditoroso's avatar

Why are Christmas movies so unbelievably sappy? Is there such a thing as a good Christmas movie?

Asked by elbanditoroso (33061points) 2 months ago

I was flipping through the cable channels yesterday. It seems like Christmas movies are (a) sappy, (b) plotless, (c) predictable, (d) not credible.

The best Christmas movies are the old ones –
– the original Miracle on 34th St
– Bruce Willis – in Die Hard (I)
– The Family Stone
– It Happened on Fifth Avenue (seasonal, not really Christmas)

Hallmark channels are the worst for sappy movies, but the networks are a close second.

Why can’t they make decent holiday movies, with a plot?

[Side observation: Current Christmas movies – 99% of the time – have caucasian protagonists, with a handful of token Asians and Blacks thrown in. Also not reality.]

‘Tis the season to NOT watch movies.

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26 Answers

janbb's avatar

I’m still a sucker for “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Going to see it on the “big screen” next week.

Entropy's avatar

Same reason Christmas music sucks. Christmas ends up being as much about creating a feeling of nostalgia for your youth as anything else. Which is why the same 15–20 songs play on a loop and it’s so hard to break into that rotation. Because no matter how good your song/movie is, it’s not nostalgia.

This is why A Christmas Story won the Christmas movie jackpot because it came HARD with the nostalgia for boomers at a time when they were having kids. I mean, it’s a solid movie, but there is no more overplayed movie ever.

Also, in terms of being predictable and ‘not as good as in my day!’, honestly…isn’t that ALL movies? Sure, there are exceptions, but I feel like the average quality of movies is down, but the quality of episodes of TV/Streaming shows is WAY up from when I was growing up.

chyna's avatar

Yes. A good Christmas movie is Die Hard. Another is Lethal Weapon.
You’re welcome.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Who cares about the movies?! It’s the music.

There is no better Christmas album than Barbra Streisand’s “A Christmas Album”. Her cover of “Silent Night” is iconic.

Fight me.

flutherother's avatar

The old ones are the best. A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim is the perfect Christmas film.!

SnipSnip's avatar

Of course:
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Jesus of Nazareth
Journey to Bethlehem
The Nativity Story
The Star
Ben-Hur
Chasing the Star
The Heart of Christmas
The Christmas Candle
A Charlie Brown Christmas

jca2's avatar

I love The Family Stone. I see you mentioned it.

jca2's avatar

Also, Home Alone is a fun movie and has some funny parts, and is good for the whole family. It’s not really thought of as a Christmas movie, but it does take place during the Christmas season, so it should count, the way Die Hard does.

JLeslie's avatar

Watching Elf now. I have never watched the entire movie, and even this time I came in 20 minutes late. It’s funnier than I remember.

Christmas is mostly funny and sappy movies because Christmas is marketed as a special time when everything bad gets healed. Santa is full of magic and happiness.

canidmajor's avatar

Desk Set with Tracy and Hepburn. My fave C(ristmas flick, ever.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I liked scrooged. Was funny.

cookieman's avatar

For Marvel fans (like me), I recommend Iron Man 3 and the Hawkeye TV Show. Both Christmas themed.

I second @chyna’s choices of Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

I also remember M*A*S*H having some good Christmas episodes.

Don’t forget the Muppet Christmas Carol. I also love the musical Scrooge with Albert Finney.

And, of course, Elf.

filmfann's avatar

My favorite Christmas movies:
It’s A Wonderful Life
A Wish For Wings That Work
Miracle On 34th Street
Bad Santa
Scrooged
A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart)
Home For The Holidays (actually a Thanksgiving movie)
Elf (and I hate Will Ferrall!)
Christmas Vacation
You’ve Got Mail
Home Alone

Lightlyseared's avatar

They’re not. You may just be suffering from holiday season lachrymosity syndrome.

canidmajor's avatar

Ooh, @cookieman, Iforgot about Muppet Christmas Carol! Thanks for the reminder!

zenvelo's avatar

One of my all time favorites (hard to find these days) was A Christmas Without Snow

And what about Love, Actually ?

filmfann's avatar

Love Actually is wonderful! Should have put it on my list!

I haven’t seen it in years, but I recently found a DVD of Prancer. I am hoping it’s as good as I remember.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Don’t forget White Christmas.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I like almost all versions of A Christmas Carol, including the Muppets one! Also, I really love the original Miracle on 34th street, but I think the remake was pretty good too.

It just seems like there’s this expectation nowadays that everything is going to be sunshine and happiness and the older movies were more realistic, even if they had a happy ending. They just don’t feel real anymore.

zenvelo's avatar

One excellent Christmas movie that takes some understanding of America’s racist past is Holiday Inn , an excellent vehicle for Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.

rebbel's avatar

I second Die Hard.

chyna's avatar

Hi @rebbel Haven’t seen you in ages!

smudges's avatar

Christmas with the Kranks is good, too.

rebbel's avatar

Hi @chyna!
I’m irregularly around.
It’s not in my rhythm any more, visiting, but every now and then I come upon the tab and I’ll have a look.
Sweet of you to say hi <3

janbb's avatar

I saw “It’s a Wonderful Life” in a theater last night and to my mind, it is the best Christmas movie. You could call it sappy because of the angel and the ending, but Jimmy Stewart’s character really conveys frustration, depression and despair and there is definitely an anti-capitalism message embedded in it. The message that every life affects others is an often overlooked one. Love it!

chyna's avatar

^It is the best movie!

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