As we head into the most sentimental time of the year, nothing sounds better than curling up with a holiday classic.
5. The Green Knight
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen this movie. I have, however, read the poem a couple times and can confirm that this is one of the best stories to enjoy during Yule. They say that Charles Dickens started the trend of Christmas ghost stories, but this beautiful poem fell upon ears centuries before he was born. I hear the Dev Patel adaptation has a bit more lewd content than the original written work, but if anything remains of the themes on willpower and composure, the movie certainly suffices. Any iteration of this piece should do the trick for a holiday selection.
4. Eyes Wide Shut
The last work of a legend, this film saw director Stanley Kubrick die before the theatrical release. If you plan to watch any of these with family though, make sure it isn’t this one. The whole movie explores topics of infidelity and marital contentment with graphic nudity and sexual imagery. I would definitely recommend mentally preparing yourself for a movie like this: it does not affect the palate lightly. The Christmas aspect seeps through in the setting, which adds to the theme an interesting nostalgic feel that makes the movie read like a modernist masterpiece. This one takes some maturity, but it is a solid choice.
3. Batman Returns
The second of the Tim Burton Batman films, and arguably the better of the two, is an often forgotten Christmas classic. With the holiday providing the means of the first scorn to send the villain, the Penguin, on a spiral toward iniquity, a bittersweet atmosphere forms around the holiday as a centerpiece. One of the most memorable images (and definitely one of the most fitting for Burton) comes at the end of this film with penguins carrying their dead caretaker into the water. If you’re looking for a superhero movie to watch this year, this is the one for you.
2. Edward Scissorhands
Hot take: this is one of the most beautiful films ever created. I have no qualms about double dipping and taking two Burton movies for this list, especially as this movie is so different from his take on the Batman universe. The pastel world he creates screams suburbia and the collective crime of the town against the protagonist makes for a semi-sweet, melancholy ending that makes its viewers appreciate their loved ones just a bit more. I love this movie with my whole heart and would suggest it to anyone for a holiday film, no matter their taste.
1. Rocky IV
Easily the greatest Christmas film and perhaps the greatest film in general of all time, the fourth contribution to the Rocky film franchise never ceases to amaze. The Italian Stallion becomes the poster child for American patriotism as he seeks to go into the Soviet Union and beat their machine of a boxer. The premier himself, modeled after premier of the time Mikhail Gorbachev, presides over the match from a darkened seat that looms over the ring like the superpower over a multitude of developing countries and neighbors. Rocky trains in Siberia during late autumn to fight Ivan Drago in this Christmas Day fight. I could watch this movie every day for the rest of my life.