I don’t know about you, but when I hear Christmas, one of the first things that pops into my mind is movies. Whether it be Home Alone or Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, who doesn’t love a good Christmas movie. For those who are movie enthusiasts, here are some seriously underrated Christmas gems that for one reason or another, get over-looked.
Trading Places (1983)
When going to watch this film with my roommates, I was surprised to learn that none of them had ever heard of, let alone seen, this comedic masterpiece starring both Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.
In the movie, Murphy plays Billy Ray Valentine, a homeless man who switches identities with Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd) a successful banker around Christmas time.This movie does an excellent job at showing the insanity and decadence of high-culture society, while also finding the simple humour of Dan Aykroyd in scenes like when he has to build a home out of boxes in the alleyway. Makes you think doesn’t it?
Batman Returns (1992)
Before you say anything, this can indeed be classified as a Christmas movie! Featuring countless Christmas trees, presents, carollers and a snow-covered Gotham, Batman Returns has it all; action and suspense, making for a beautifully shot film by none other than Tim Burton.
In this Christmas-meets superhero film, Batman, played by Michael Keaton, goes head-to-head with The Penguin, played by infamous funny-tough guy Danny DeVito, as both fight to be the “hero” of Gotham. Too bad one is only in it for the power.
Christmas, Burton, Batman and Michelle Pfeiffer all in the same movie? Yes this one is good, especially for those who enjoy a less than serious Batman than Christopher Nolan’s interpretation, while not being as hokey as say, Batman Forever.
Trailer Park Boys Christmas Special (2003)
Join Ricky, Bubbles and Julian as their get-rich money making schemes backfire during the Christmas season. This time, Julian is holding his annual Christmas decoration contest and this year the prize is a huge TV. The only problem is, all of the decorations are stolen, everybody is on drugs and nobody is very intelligent.
Featuring the dimwitted yet charming humour of the Trailer Park Boys, this movie actually has a powerful message of family values during the holidays; or, as Ricky says, “Christmas shouldn’t be about presents, it should be about getting drunk and doing drugs with your family”. While the “doing drugs” part may be some of the worst advice you’ve heard for this coming holiday season, the movie does resonate with a strong sense of family and love, showing that it doesn’t matter how much you have during Christmas, as long as you are with those you love.
Joyeux Noel (2004)
Joyeux Noel is a touching French film about World War I that didn’t have much of a North-American release which lead to being almost completely unknown to Canadian audiences. Set in the trenches of France, Joyeux Noel features characters from the German, French and Britain armies. The story is set in the back-drop of Christmas in the trenches, which ultimately leads to an armistice for the night, allowing men from all sides to sing songs, be merry and even play a friendly game of football (no, not the American kind).
A beautifully told story that highlights humanity’s ability to overcome our differences, Joyeux Noel is a film that represents that holiday goodness in us all.