10 Nontraditional Holiday Movies, Part 2


Ah, what the he**; it’s Christmas!

— John McClane, Die Hard 2

Back in 2013 I shared my favorite nontraditional holiday films. These are films for people who either don’t care for It’s a Wonderful Life, or have seen it way too many times. Or if you love A Christmas Storybut are looking for something different this year, then look no further.

Here are 10 more nontraditional holiday films that you can check out and enjoy from the library:

Better Off Dead


If you’re looking for a dark, twisted 1980’s comedy to watch this holiday season, you can do no better than this cult gem. Lane Myer has just been dumped by his girlfriend for the captain of the ski team, and this film chronicles his attempts to win her back or die trying. It also features some of the absolute worst Christmas gifts in film history – frozen TV dinners, and a framed photo of “Little Ricky” (trust me).


Christmas Evil


Poor Harry had a disturbing episode with Santa as a child. He then grows up to become a vigilante Santa, rewarding “nice” children and punishing “naughty” ones. This is apparently John Waters‘ favorite Christmas movie, and depending on your tastes, that’s either high praise or a strong deterrent.


Die Hard 2


John McClane is back to save Christmas, with more explosions and wisecracks.“Just once, I’d like a regular, normal Christmas. Eggnog, a [beep] Christmas tree, a little turkey. But, no. I gotta crawl around in this [beep] tin can.”


Edward Scissorhands


A winter fairytale for fans of Johnny Depp and/or brooding. Edward, a young man with scissors for hands, is taken in by a suburban family after he is found living alone in an old castle. Initially Edward is embraced by his new community, before becoming an outcast and scapegoat for a robbery committed during the holiday season. Will love conquer all in the end? If you’re looking for a double feature, this will pair nicely with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.




For those who prefer partying (as opposed to brooding or fighting crime) this nifty triptych gets the job done. A trio of party seekers become involved with a drug dealer, two soap opera actors and some Las Vegas thrill-seekers after a night of raving and a drug deal gone wrong.


Happy Christmas


A slight but well-observed look at what happens when your irresponsible younger sibling comes to visit for the holidays, and brings their baggage with them. There are some uncomfortable moments in this light comedy, but it’s mostly a sweet tale about family bonding and forgiveness.


Iron Man 3


This movie came out in May of 2013, but oddly enough, takes place during the Christmas season. There’s a lot of holiday ambiance; twinkling Christmas lights, snow, wrapped packages and exploding Christmas tree ornaments. The director/writer Shane Black is known for setting his films during the holidays (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy ScoutThe Long Kiss Goodnight), and some have even commented on how this film is actually an adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Albeit with things blowing up.


Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang


This is like the indie, low-budget version of Iron Man 3. It is also written and directed by Shane Black, and stars Robert Downey Jr. as a wisecracking sort-of actor. Replace the superhero stuff in Iron Man 3 with a twisty noir plot, and that pretty much sums this film up. It’s a lot of silly fun.




Quite by accident, the middle-class Tom Townsend finds himself spending his holidays with a group of well-educated upper-class New Yorkers. If you like talky films featuring cultured, witty and urbane young people trading barbs, then you will enjoy Whit Stillman’s modern comedy of manners.




Are you pining over lost love? Filled with existential dread and regret? If your Christmas Eve plans involve sitting at a bar pondering over recent poor life choices, then boy, this is the holiday film for you!

Happy Holidays and Happy Viewing,


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One response to “10 Nontraditional Holiday Movies, Part 2

  1. Pingback: December Recap | Eleventh Stack

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