Christmas may be less than a week away, but sometimes that christmas spirit is hard to keep hold of, especially when you look out the window to never-ending drizzle rather than a flurry of snow. And let’s face it, any christmas spirit you do have is likely to be killed dead by attempts to encourage it by watching christmas films. There just aren’t any good ones. So here’s a happy medium – great films that are suitable for snuggling down on the sofa, now that you’ve got enough time this holiday to watch them. Take a look, there’s something for everyone here – just like the presents under the tree.
To ease yourself into the winter movie mood, why not a film set against the back drop a snowy New-York city. This is also for me the superior LGBT film, with the male gaze of Blue is the Warmest Color, and the turgid pacing of Brokeback Mountain it’s time to get lost in this classic Hollywood influenced but subversive romance tale with one of the best sex-scenes of recent years. If you need more selling, one critic said about director Todd Haynes’ first film Poison that afterwards he wanted to “bathe in Clorox”.
Here’s the thing about The Thing, it’s perfect. I’ve seen it many times and I can’t find a single flaw with it. So really it should be recommended for every movie list ever, but it’s especially perfect for a winter list, it has snow, it has characters that, like you, do not want to go outside lest they freeze, and I don’t know about you, but when I’m shut in by weather my heart is always warmed by the sight of horrible shape shifting beasties. This film aims for a good balance of emotions and what better way to continue after a romance than a gruelling body horror?
Ok, you’ve just spent 4 hours being frozen by snow films, having your heart broken and your nerves jangled, take a break with this heart-warming new-England coming of age tale of friendship from king of irony Wes Anderson. Featuring an extraordinarily droopy turn from Bill Murray and one of the best Bruce Willis performances maybe ever, the story actually centers around two misfit children trying to find themselves in each other. This is a tale of symmetrical shots shot through with emotion. It’s has a great children’s story, Famous Five sense, and it’s just a joy.
You good? Heart warmed and happy? Good because now we’re in for some typical Paul Verhoeven ultra violence. You know that bit at the beginning of Scanners, with the head explosion? It’s like that. This is no half-baked remake, this is the hard as nails original. A scathing satire of modern consumerism, ‘news porn’ media, and obsession with technology, this funny, violent, and clever action movie foreshadowed the more mature, but still as b-movie-esque , Phillip K Dick adaptation Total Recall, which also has a remake, and before they complete the set with a Starship Troopers remake, feast your eyes on the one, the only, Robocop.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Either version the Swedish original or the English remake is good for this, as long as you can get absorbed in this complex, character drama of a mystery. If there’s one thing that lends itself to long winter nights it’s a good pulpy thriller, and this is no ordinary pulpy thriller and not for the faint of heart. It has important themes of the treatment of women in a supposedly perfect society, very well sketched and three dimensional characters, and depending on which version you see, Elizabeth Shaw or James Bond. Who could ask for more?
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Ok, so the last two could be seen as pretty heavy going, it’s the last film, dawn is breaking on yet another day that’s just too cold to live, and you want to end feeling jolly. Why not this raucous, laugh out loud, actively ludicrous offering from the mad hatters at Monty Python. The best of the Python’s films, this is aided by the sure handed co-directing of Terry Gilliam, and contains some his best animation work. Whilst the Python’s sketch work was infamously hit and miss, this has a much more consistent hit rate. Just don’t get started on the coconuts…
(Image courtesy of Wilson Webb)