Egg Nog is pretty foul stuff (and not just because its French name translates back to "Milk of Chicken") but otherwise Christmas is pretty fun. Trees, gifts and good movies in the theatre. Early press deadlines mean I'm unsure what's happening at the Village 8 next week, but keep your eyes open for Killing Them Softly, the new gangster drama-comedy starring Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta and the always awesome Richard Jenkins.
Katherine Bigelow and writer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) have a new film out called Zero Dark Thirty about the hunt for Bin Ladin. There is a lot of thought put into it and some gnarly torture but it's making a lot of noise and will be worth seeing. Also, Quentin Tarantino's latest drops Christmas day. Django Unchained is some kind of slavery/western/revenge/manhunt flick that sounds like the perfect 2-hour-46-minute Christmas gift to myself. Jamie Foxx, Kristoph Waltz, Sam Jackson and Leo DiCaprio star.
But Christmas is also a good time for not leaving the couch. Everyone loves Bill Murray in Scrooged, Chevy Chase in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and Macauley Culkin in the first Home Alone, but these classics are overplayed. What about the lesser-known Christmas movies? The ones that don't hit you in the face with a snow shovel full of holiday cheer or schmaltzy family messaging?
Here are the red-haired stepchildren of Yuletide films — Five Christmas movies your grandmother will probably hate.
Treevenge (2008) — Always topping the list, this short-film environmentalist masterpiece stars J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens) and was made by the Canadian filmmakers behind Hobo With A Shotgun. It's freely available online and is a standard Christmas-night viewing at my place.
Gremlins (1984) — The "Mowgai" was a Christmas gift gone wrong. Produced by Speilberg, directed by Joe Dante (who made the original Piranha) and featuring Phoebe Cates (the girl from the pool in Fast Times at Ridgemont) delivering one of the best stories ever — "...and that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus." Plus, this one has aged well. The animatronic monsters only look better after almost 30 years.
Beat Street (1984) — It's Christmas in the Bronx and Santa ain't bringin' nuttin' so if you want to make it as a DJ/B-Boy/graffiti artist or promoter, you'd best get your hustle on and make that shit happen yourself. Hip gop culture has always embraced Christmas and this is a classic (plus The Treacherous Three lay down a pretty killer "Santa Rap" to boot).
Go (1999) — The lesson to be learned here is: giant Christmas Rave or not, one should never buy or sell drugs from or to strangers. Go is a comedy of errors with a few extra bumps. Starring a sackfull of now-known actors (Katie Holmes, Sarah Polley, Tim Olyphant), Go was the movie Doug Liman made after his big-time success with Swingers but before the Bourne stuff. It's a gem.
Night of the Comet (1984) — I've actually never even seen this one but it's apparently about a huge, mysterious comet with an orbit that brings it close enough to earth to kill us all! And it all goes down on Christmas Eve 1984 (which is close enough to December 21, 2012 that it makes the list.)
Watch them all with a double Rum and Chicken Milk. Merry Christmas.