‘Tis the season for all things colorful (red and white are popular around this time), sweet (anyone like gingerbread?), and merry (everyone is cheerful or at least pretending to be). Every Christmas brings certain traditions; one of those is plopping your fanny in front of the TV and watching movies.
Now, there’s a lot of Christmas movies out there. How does one decide which ones are worth watching? Well, you read a list like this one. For those lucky millions with a Paramount+ subscription, here’s a list of the five best movies to stream this Christmas.
Need more holiday viewing suggestions? Then please check out the best Christmas movies to stream right now, the best Christmas movies on Netflix, the best Christmas movies on Hulu, the best Christmas movies on Max, the best Christmas movies on Disney+, the best Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, 7 great Christmas movies you can watch for free, and 7 best funny Christmas movies you should watch this season.
Scrooged is my favorite version of A Christmas Carol ever. Gone is the Dickensian dialogue and Victorian setting; this version is modernized and played more for laughs with Bill Murray in the leading role as Frank Cross, a Scrooge-like network executive at the IBC Television network. On Christmas Eve, Frank forces his employees to work on A Christmas Carol broadcast while giving them chintzy gifts for Christmas.
In other words, Frank is a perfect candidate for some Christmas Carol magic to find any humanity under his sleazy exterior. The Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane, hilarious), and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Robert Hammond) are really going to have their hands full trying to convince Frank to change. Do they succeed? You’ll have to watch and find out.
Everyone’s favorite White Castle-eating duo is back! And where Harold and Kumar go, a drugged-out Neil Patrick Harris can’t be far behind. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas takes place six years after the original, with the once-tight best friends having grown apart. A mysterious package brings them together and propels them on a festive journey in and out of New York City.
Anyone who wants light fun and cheap laughs will get it with A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, which is only marginally based in reality. It’s so far out there that the movie can slip in a stop-motion sequence like those old Rudolph and Frosty specials and it doesn’t seem out of place.
Bad Santa is the Christmas movie for the cynical and sarcastic person in your life. Telling the story of a con man who runs an annual con in which he poses as Santa, the movie is really a redemption story about whether a man who uses Christmas to get over on other people can be saved.
Billy Bob Thornton is superb in the central role, and Bad Santa benefits from being much more clear-eyed about the nature of Christmas than your typical holiday fare. It may end happily, but at least it’s willing to acknowledge the holiday’s seedier underbelly. For those who can’t get enough, there’s the inferior but still decent Bad Santa 2.
It’s debatable to consider Bridget Jones’s Diary a Christmas movie; only a part of it is set during Christmastime, and it’s not terribly bothered with Santas, sleigh bells, or candy canes. But I think it qualifies as it begins and ends with Christmas being a crucial setting. How can anyone forget Mark Darcy’s ugly Christmas sweater or that romantic, snow-swept finale?
Anyway, who cares? This is a good movie to watch any time of the year. The movie, about the romantic trials of a young London career woman (played by the very Texan Renee Zellweger), is the definition of British charming, and it started Hugh Grant’s second career as the silver screen’s most popular bastard.
After the success of Elf, you would think Ferrell would appear in a Christmas movie every couple of years. That wasn’t the case, as Ferrell didn’t star in another Christmas film until 2017’s Daddy’s Home 2. After the success of Daddy’s Home, Ferrell and Shooter’s Mark Wahlberg reprised their roles as Brad Whitaker and Dusty Mayron, respectively, for the sequel.
Brad and Dusty are on good terms, having developed a friendship since the events in Daddy’s Home. With the holidays approaching, Brad and Dusty decide to have a “together Christmas” and spend the holidays as one blended family. It sounds like a good plan on paper, but the proposal goes out the window with the arrival of Dusty’s tough father, Kurt (Mel Gibson), and Brad’s overprotective dad, Don (John Lithgow). Now, the four men must learn to coexist or risk ruining Christmas for the family.
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