It’s just a few more days until Christmas and, if you’re like me, you probably have been binge-watching a ton of Holiday themed films for the past few days. You probably included the classics like Home Alone, A Charlie Brown Christmas or the hundred versions of a Christmas Carol. Maybe you’ve also added a few modern ones like Elf and Spirited, both films that were reviewed for this year’s Holiday-Palooza.
Of course, if you’re tired of all that drivel, you might want to sink your teeth into some alternative Christmas movies. You know, the films you might have actually forgotten that take place during the so-called vaunted most wonderful time of the year. A couple of years back, I wrote up a list of five films that you may have forgotten that take place during the holidays. Well, it’s time to update that list with a few more! So, here are five more Christmas movies that you may have forgotten that take place during the time period!
Die Hard 2
It’s the sequel to one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time!
The original Die Hard is one of my favorite movies of all time. It also has the recognition of being my most favorite holiday themed movie of all time! It’s because of this that I’ve been a staunch advocate of calling it a Christmas movie. However, because all of the focus and energy gets devoted into proving that fact, its sequel, the aptly titled Die Hard 2, does get lost in the shuffle when it comes to Christmas movies.
It’s still a pretty darned good movie and, like its predecessor, Die Hard 2 is still a Christmas themed film, with the plot revolving around a bunch of terrorists holding an airport hostage in order to free a drug cartel’s leader during the holiday season. The Christmas trappings are not as evident as the first movie but it’s definitely still there. Sadly, the Die Hard franchise would abandon making their films set during Christmas. Guess they couldn’t take all the debates asking if the movies are supposed to be holiday themed.
If you don’t think this movie is a Christmas film, then you have a big argument with the people of Italy.
Believe it or not, Trading Places is practically a Christmas tradition in the country of Italy. It’s kind of that country’s It’s a Wonderful Life as the movie has been broadcast on television during the holiday season for the past couple of decades! You can kind of say that it’s Italy’s version of It’s A Wonderful Life, I guess.
There is a lot to like about Trading Places. From the ensemble cast featuring Dan Ackroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis to the wonderfully twisted premise of a couple of wealthy brothers making a bet to see what would happen when a rich and poor person switch their lives. There are a good number of Christmas trappings, most notably Dan Ackroyd’s character dressing up as Santa Claus and brandishing a gun. Yep, that’s Christmas alright!
Iron Man 3
Apparently, Iron Man 3 beat the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special in being the first Christmas product of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I haven’t re-watched Iron Man 3 because I just think it’s an okay movie. Nothing great. Nothing terrible. It’s just fine. It’s because of this that I myself forgot this was a Christmas film. Even the trailer doesn’t show any hints that it’s set during the holiday season. And it certainly doesn’t help that Iron Man 3 was released in May. Still, there are somewhat subtle hints that it’s set during the time period.
This is especially evident during the time when Tony Stark is on the run and hides out in a small town. There are Christmas decorations liberally scattered in the shops Tony Stark fights in. There are a couple of scenes where Stark talks about giving a Christmas gift to Pepper and even exclaims to Rhodes how it’s Christmas when he summons all of his remaining Iron Man suits during the final battle. So, in retrospect, yeah, it does happen during the holiday period.
Okay, it’s only during the final minutes of the film. But it still counts!
Okay, Rocky IV is a little more “Christmas-adjacent” because a lot of the film doesn’t actually take place during the holiday. You have to go through a lot of story, like Drago killing Apollo Creed in the ring (Sorry… Spoiler alert for a very old movie), a couple of montages and and training scenes before you get to the actual Christmas part of the movie. In fact, it’s not even mentioned that the fight will happed on Christmas Eve until something like the third act.
Still, it’s still there and Rocky’s kid is seen cheering on his father during the live broadcast boxing match in a room decked out with Christmas decorations. So, yeah, it happened on Christmas. Can’t argue with that.
While You Were Sleeping
I’m talking about the 1995 romantic-comedy, not the K-drama, okay?
Among all of the movies on this list, I would say While You Were Sleeping is probably the one most people forgot takes place during the holidays. It’s actually quite integral to the entire plot as Sandra Bullock’s character is forced to work during Christmas and this leads her to save her crush from getting run over by a train. After this, a comedy of errors occur when she’s mistaken for the man’s fiancee but she’s afraid to correct this mistake partially because it’s Christmas.
While You Were Sleeping isn’t exactly on a lot of people’s list of favorite “alternative Christmas movies” because it’s a romantic-comedy. But I say give it a chance. There’s probably a reason why a lot of people remember this film… even thought they don’t remember it as a Christmas movie.
BONUS: Jingle All The Way
Oh, you know this is a Christmas movie, right? That’s precisely why this is only a bonus entry.
Jingle All The Way is a fun movie. It’s also wrapped in all of the trapping of a Christmas movie. So why is this even a bonus entry? Well, for a couple of reasons.
First, most people tend to forget all about Jingle All The Way during the holiday season. At least, no one I know comes up with the idea of popping it in to watch, despite it actually being a silly fun time. It’s more known for being a meme machine with likes like “put that cookie down” and the like. I just want to call attention to how crazy fun Jingle All The Way Is.
Second, it’s actually kind of the “anti-Christmas” film as it’s all about the commercialism of the holiday. Even the climax of the film, where Arnold’s kid gives the Turboman doll to Simbad, his nemesis. He doesn’t give it because he learned the true meaning of Christmas. It’s because his dad is Turboman! What does he need a crappy doll for when he has the real thing? And isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas, boys and girls?
What other movies can you think of that are set during the Christmas period? Let me know in the comments section below!