Everyone watches Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life when the holidays roll around -- but if you're tired of traditional Christmas fare, why not pop in a movie that you might not have ever realized was secretly about Christmas all along?
Here's a look at seven of the best flicks you never thought to watch for x-mas, but are full of holiday spirit (in absolutely no particular order)!
A buddy cop story about a veteran detective (who's "too old for this s**t") and his suicidal, flat-out insane partner who have to stop murderous drug smugglers. While this doesn't sound like a Christmas classic, the whole story is set to the backdrop of incongruous holiday cheer -- including a drug bust at a Christmas tree lot and opening credits set to "Jingle Bell Rock."
2. Batman Returns (1992)
Christmas comes to Gotham in Tim Burton's follow-up to his original Batman classic. This time the city is engulfed in Christmas cheer -- and also creepy murder clowns and an overwhelming sense of dread. You know, exactly how you'd imagine Christmas in Gotham would really be!
When you think of Iron Man 3, the first things that spring to mind are likely the awesome robot suits, the massive explosions and the amazing Ben Kingsley. However, Christmas plays a huge role in the film. In fact, the movie is sort of a superhero version of A Christmas Carol! The little boy Tony befriends serves as the Ghost of Christmas Past by representing the kind of kid Tony was growing up. Meanwhile, Killian represents the possible Ghost of Christmas Future, as he's the kind of person Tony could have become if he didn't find his way toward the honorable pursuit of superheroing. Also, Christmas imagery and decor (often distorted in some weird way) is prevalent throughout the film.
4. Die Hard (1988)
Nobody needs to be told whyDie Hard is both the perfect action movie and the perfect Christmas movie at the same time. It just is. You know it is. If you don't know it, go home and watch it again (several times) until you really get it. (Hint: the whole movie is a metaphor for rampant consumerism overshadowing the true meaning of the holiday. Seriously, watch it a few dozen times. You'll see it.)
Tim Burton makes the list again with the movie that put him on the map. This story about acceptance, love, friendship and topiary design sends all the right messages about the importance of the holiday season (just filtered through Burton's unsettling, hauntingly beautiful artistic lens).
6. Gremlins (1984)
This horror comedy classic is just begging to be watched for the holidays. It's the story of a young boy named Billy who gets a pet for Christmas, but it's not like any other pet you could possibly imagine (because it's a gremlin, obviously). Aside from the snowy X-mas setting, the film also contains one of the most traumatizing Christmas tales of all time. Billy's love interest, Kate, tells a chilling, upsetting story about her childhood in which she reveals that her father broke his neck at Christmas when he dressed up like Santa and tried to climb down the chimney as a surprise for the family. So maybe just watch this one with your grown-up friends and family.
This Los Angeles-based neo-noir stars Robert Downey Jr. as a criminal-turned-wannabe-actor and Val Kilmer as a detective and movie consultant. While training Downey, the two stumble into a complex tale of murder and intrigue, all set against the backdrop of a snow-free Hollywood during Christmas.