Now Playing! December 2023

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may be celebrating. Whether you’re looking for a festive classic or something entirely new, this year’s holiday movie guide has you covered. And if you need a break from the holiday cheer? There’s always Die Hard. Read on for the best holiday films to watch and stream this December!

Scrooged

1988, Dir. Richard Donner – Comedy/Fantasy – Paramount+ – PG-13

My personal holiday favorite stars Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a cynical and jaded television executive who lives in New York City. When Frank fires one of his staff on Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past. Can they steer him in the direction of kindness and compassion? You’ll have to revisit this holiday classic to find out! Bill Murray’s performance is a perfect example of his magnanimous talent and comedic charm. This modern retelling of A Christmas Carol has a lot of heart, but it’s also got room for humor and blunt honesty, which Frank, the ghosts, and even Frank’s long-lost love Claire (Karen Allen) give in whopping doses.  

Full Court Miracle

2003, Dir. Stuart Gillard – Drama – Disney+ – Common Sense Rating 7+

This overlooked gem of a film is based on a true story. All Alex Schlotsky wants to do is play basketball, and he’s got big dreams to play in the NBA. The only problem? He and his team, all students at the Philadelphia Hebrew Academy, never seem to win a game. When Lamont Carr, a college basketball superstar out on an injury, agrees to coach the team before a big tournament, their chances suddenly increase. The film is sincere and humorous, with some rather heartfelt and stellar performances from the whole cast. As the team trains over Hanukkah season, Alex (Alex D. Linz) finds new meaning in both his faith and his aspirations. 

Little Women

2019, Dir. Greta Gerwig – Drama/Coming of Age – Hulu – PG

Greta Gerwig’s remake of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel is the perfect comfort movie this holiday season. The story follows Jo March and her sisters as they navigate young adulthood and all of its trials and tribulations. From following their dreams to experiencing heartbreak, the sisters emerge stronger than ever because of their love for each other. Gerwig’s knack for capturing female-centric performances (evident in the ultra-successful Barbie earlier this year) is on full display in this film as well. The movie also includes incredible performances from Saoirse Ronan, Timothée Chalamet, and Florence Pugh, not to mention Laura Dern as the March girls’ mother. 

Krampus

2015, Dir. Michael Dougherty – Horror/Comedy – Peacock – R 

Who says the holiday season isn’t a good time for a horror movie? If you’re looking for a fright this December, look no further than Krampus. When the Engel family invites their relatives and in-laws over for the holidays, the visit quickly descends into chaos. As family disputes new and old emerge, the Engels’ young son Max throws his letter to Santa out the window in a fit of frustration. Little does he know, his Christmas meltdown summons an ancient demon. The film’s premise is based upon central European folklore, which warned children that if they didn’t behave during the holiday season, they would be visited by a half-goat, half-demon named Krampus. Though not for the faint of heart, the film is a uniquely terrifying Christmas tale!

Happiest Season

2020, Dir. Clea DuVall – Drama/Comedy – Hulu – PG-13 

Hulu’s Happiest Season follows Harper, a young woman who invites her girlfriend Abby home for the holidays after a night of stargazing and holiday merriment. The only problem? Harper hasn’t come out to her parents, and she fears what they will think despite how much she adores her girlfriend. The film is loosely based on director Clea DuVall’s own experience navigating the holidays. Its smart writing and sense of humor add a dose of levity to a sometimes heart-wrenching story. Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis are stellar as Abby and Harper, but the film’s supporting cast nearly steals the show. Dan Levy (of Schitt’s Creek) stars as Abby’s best friend, while Aubrey Plaza plays Harper’s ex-girlfriend. Both are able to lend their support, advice, and humor to Abby and Harper in even their most difficult moments. 

The Holdovers

2023, Dir. Alexander Payne – Comedy/Drama – In Theaters Now and Streaming Soon on Apple TV – R

Alexander Payne’s latest film captures the most joyful and difficult moments of the holiday season with sincerity and a dark sense of humor. The film follows Angus, a junior at a New England boarding school, whose hopes are dashed when he learns he must stay at school over winter break. Angus and the other “holdovers” are under the supervision of history teacher Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti), whose no-nonsense demeanor does little to bring any holiday cheer. As the group gets to know each other, both the students and Mr. Hunham himself are changed for the better. The film’s writing is sharp, with biting dialogue that made me laugh out loud more than a few times. Though the whole cast is great, the film’s standout performance goes to Da’Vine Joy Randolph as Mary Lamb, the cafeteria administrator who stays with the group and befriends Mr. Hunham. 

Die Hard

1988, Dir. John McTiernan – Action – Hulu – R 

Though you may be familiar with the legendary action flick, it’s always worth a rewatch this time of year. The film stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York City cop who gets a lot more than he bargained for when he visits his estranged wife for the holidays. As her office holiday party is overrun by a team of savvy villains, it’s soon apparent McClane is the only one with any chance of saving the day. Willis’ talent as a movie star is on full display as McClane, commanding each scene with his usual understated charisma. The film also stars Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, who relishes his role as one of the most famous film villains of all time.

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