By: Movie Snurb –
Let’s be honest, those mushy holiday films that end with everyone learning a lesson or learning to love are not for everyone. Though I’ll admit, there’s a place deep down where Love Actually and White Christmas still reach me in my cynical years. However, sometimes these heartwarming films are too much and you want to watch an action film, or a family drama, or a brilliant crime thriller, but you still want to watch a Christmas film. This Six Pack is for the people who don’t like or are just tired of traditional Christmas films. These are what I call Fringe Christmas Films, movies that aren’t considered Christmas films but take place during the holiday.
Was this list going to start with any other film? This is a life-long debate that will never end. Is Die Hard a Christmas film? Well, I am here to end this debate and my answer is… it doesn’t matter. If you want to watch this film on Christmas rather than A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life, then go ahead and watch Die Hard. Something I’ve learned in my short 30 years of life is to do whatever you want and not let others’ perception of you dictate your actions. If you want watch Bruce Willis be a bad ass after eating Christmas dinner every year than make that your tradition.
Anderson Valley Brewing Co. – Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale
Enjoy this nice holiday brew with hints of coffee and caramel. It’s brewed in sunny California, so you can enjoy this Cali brew while John McClane comes to the West to save Christmas, essentially.
This film is not for every, much like many of Todd Haynes’ films. They are slower, but they pack a punch and look gorgeous while doing it. Two women begin a love affair in the 50s in New York when while Carol is Christmas shopping, she spots Therese working there as she aspires to become a professional photographer. I have my issues with this film, but I do think it is a very good movie and another great film for the holidays. It’s sincere and about love, though it is a sad film. So if you decide to watch this film just know that you’ll want to grab a box of tissues and maybe some spiked eggnog to help get you through the emotional weight of the film.
Dark Horse Brewing Co. – Dark Horse 4 Elf Winter Ale
With as cold as this film looks I wanted to pick a nice dark holiday brew. It has a nice hint of cinnamon perfect for the season. I hope that this beer will keep your heart warmed more than a lot of this film will.
The Lion in Winter
What says the holidays more than arguing with your dysfunctional family? Who knows better than the people you grew up with how to push your buttons to the absolute limit? No matter what the arguments are about, as long as you can ruffle the feathers of your family members Christmas dinner will be a success. This film is as witty as it is hilarious; Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn each give brilliant performances. As King Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine get ready for Christmas with their three sons, they must decide an heir to the throne. Things get out of hand, as everyone is attempting to backstab everyone else. This is the perfect holiday film if you want to feel better about your dysfunctional family.
Avery Brewing Co. – Old Jubilation Ale
Hark! It’s time for celebration and jubilation! Only one problem, we hate our children. Well, we can still celebrate the season with this Old English-style brew. Or at least you can drink enough of this delicious brew to help you tolerate your family.
Three Days of the Condor
Here is a lesser-known thriller that is a Christmas film. Robert Redford works for the C.I.A. stationed in NYC and after he submits a report to headquarters, while awaiting a response from them he goes out to get the team lunch and while he is out his entire team is murdered. Redford seeks refuge, forces a woman to take him in, and holds her hostage while he figures out what to do. Faye Dunaway plays the woman. Christmas plays an integral part of the story as well as being the backdrop of the whole film, especially in its use of Christmas carols. A great thriller keeps you guessing right until the end. Tarantino also agrees with me; while doing research I discovered that at his New Beverly Theater he used to do a double feature around Christmas of Die Hard/Three Days of the Condor. I hope that through Tarantino, people will discover this Fringe Christmas classic.
Troegs Independent Brewing – Mad Elf Ale
In doing my research for this, I found a Christmas beer called Mad Elf Ale. Thought it’d be perfect for this film. You can enjoy your Mad Elf brew while watching Robert Redford running around NY, pissed trying to figure out why his whole team is dead.
This film is hard to put into a category. It has humor, moments of true drama, and has the backdrop of Christmas. Jack Lemon is a real go-getter who wants to become an executive at his company. However, in an attempt to climb the corporate ladder he lets his bosses use his little apartment for their extramarital affairs. Complications arise as Baxter falls in love with one of the women, played by Shirley MacLaine. They also see other complications that are best left unsaid if you haven’t seen the film. Quite progressive for its time, it’s kind of a shock this film won Best Picture at the Oscars. It’s another film that that definitely not your typical Christmas film, so if you’re looking for something new to watch this Holiday season here’s a perfect choice.
Evil Twin Brewing – Christmas Eve at A NYC Hotel Room
Here’s another holiday brew that I picked based on the name. Since most of this film takes place in Jack Lemon’s apartment, I thought a beer with A NYC Hotel Room in the name would be a perfect pairing, now shut up and watch the movie.
This is the perfect film if you’re tired of those sweet emotionally touching films and want a smart thriller you can really dig your teeth into. Corruption seems to be mounting inside the L.A. Police Department and three officers take it upon themselves to figure out who is behind it all. With Christmas carols playing and Christmas lights in the background of scenes, the film also opens with a scene inspired by true events in which on Christmas Day in 1951 officers beat up seven men in custody. The papers labeled it “Bloody Sunday”. This is a brilliant film perfect for any time of year, but if you don’t want a “Christmas” film but rather an adjacent one, this one is for you.
Harpoon Brewery – Winter Warmer
Though I assume LA doesn’t get too cold during the holidays, you could still use this Winter Warmer to keep you nice and warm while you watch this scorcher of a film.