Forget the usual fare, these are the Christmas movies you need to watch

Billy Bob Thornton is one 'Bad Santa'
Billy Bob Thornton is one ‘Bad Santa’

Every year, movie websites list the best Christmas movies ever.  The same movies are always on those lists and at TailSlate we like to do things differently.  So here is our list of some of the best Christmas movies, but only those that were released in the last 25 years.  In alphabetical order (no value judgments about which is best) they are:

Bad Santa – Billy Bob Thornton in this tale about a con man and his midget partner who pose annually as Santa and his helper to commit larceny.

Christmas with the Kranks – Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are a couple who decides to skip Christmas and go on a cruise, since their daughter is away working for the Peace Corps.  The neighbors ostracize them for the choice, but pitch in to help make a Christmas for them when the daughter suddenly announces she’s coming home for Christmas.

Home Alone – Macaulay Caulkin is an eight year old who is forgotten and left behind when his family leaves Chicago for Paris for Christmas.  Two criminals known as the “Wet Bandits” plan to burglarize his home, but he has other plans for them.

Jingle All the Way – Arnold Schwarzenegger is a father on a mission.  He has to find a “Turbo Man” toy for his son, on Christmas Eve.  Sinbad is his main competition in this quest.   

Love Actually – Terrific ensemble piece about love and romance at Christmas time.  Very well-written, directed and acted.


Miracle on 34th Street (1994 version) – A remake of the classic tale, with Sir Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle, the lovely Elizabeth Perkins, Dylan McDermott and Mara Wilson as the wide-eyed little girl.

Scrooged – A modernization of “A Christmas Carol” with Bill Murray in the “Scrooge” role.  Very funny.

The Holiday – Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet are both having trouble in their love-lives as Christmas approaches.  They decide to trade homes for a while to get away from their problems in this romantic-comedy where Eli Wallach steals every scene he’s in.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Christmas.  Animation. Horror.  Fantasy. Tim Burton.  Nothing more need be said.

The Polar Express – Imaginative use of motion-capture animation by director Robert Zemeckis in bringing the children’s book to the big screen.

The Ref – Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis and Denis Leary in a black comedy.  Spacey and Davis portray a couple having trouble in their marriage and it is Christmas Eve.  Leary is the thief who ends up taking them hostage.

The Santa Clause – Tim Allen is an average guy who accidentally causes the death of Santa.  He finds a card on the body that says to just put on the suit and suddenly he is Santa.

Trapped in Paradise – Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey are the Firpo brothers who have just knocked over a bank in Paradise, PA.  But they can’t get out of town before the residents overwhelm them with kindness.

While You Were Sleeping – At the holidays in Chicago, Sandra Bullock is working for the L when she saves the life of the man she dreams about falling in love with.  He winds up in a coma and his family thinks she’s his fiancé.  She goes along with the charade and meanwhile falls in love with his brother.

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