NOTE: As always, this is for Netflix in the US. Hopefully the international choices fair a bit better.
The weather is outside is frightful, but watching Netflix inside is so delightful. And when there is no place to go, The Stream Machine’s picks make it snow, make it snow, make it snow. That’s right, Christmas is right around the corner ready to make families come together to unwrap gifts, sit around the table at dinner telling stories of Christmas’ past and watching a couple of classic. The glory that is Netflix has blessed the Holidays with some classics worth watching on the Holiday, so let’s not delay with these six Christmas picks.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Families can be dysfunctional, but the Griswolds see that statement and follow through with it Christmas Vacation. Not so much a vacation as they stay home this time around with Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold having to deal with Cousin Eddie’s family, a cat that won’t shut the hell up, Christmas going down all around him and his boss being a complete cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit of a person he is. If you have seen it, then do not be afraid to watch it once more. If you have yet to see it, prepare for the happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
A Christmas classic that is also a Halloween classic that many do not forget to watch every year, this Henry Selick directed masterpiece takes the story written by Tim Burton and brings it to life in beautiful stop motion that Ray Harryhuesen himself would deem worthy. It still is a marvel 20 years after it’s intial release with music that makes you sing as Danny Elfman’s booming voice echoes the walls. Personally, not only is it one of my favorite holiday films, but one of my favorite animated films. Do not forget to watch as Jack Skellington of Halloween Town takes on the holiday of Christmas to become jolly old Saint Nick and delight (or is it terrify?) local children on Christmas night.
Jingle All The Way
First off, this movie is in no way a great movie, nor is it a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite juvenile, but why does it still get watched every year on Christmas? Because it is an over-the-top and goofy as hell ride with everyone’s favorite action hero of the 80’s and 90’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger taking on the jerkass mailman of mediocrity known as Sinbad. Whether Arnold is fighting a band of kung-fu Santas, getting harassed by a reindeer or flying through the air as Turboman, the cheese is laid on thick trying to win the love of a son while being a unique satire on the modern consumerism that plagues the holidays every year. If you feel like killing a good 90 minutes, this is worth watching to experience the goofiest Arnold has ever been.
Speaking of Bing Crosby and Danny fucking Kaye, White Christmas is also available for streaming and, sadly, I have never seen it. I do not know whether that is a good or a bad thing, but it’s considered a holiday classic with the music of Irving Berlin setting the tone. The only thing I know about this one is the title song and the fact that Bing Crosby is one hell of a singer. The duo of Kaye and Crosby sing along side a sister act in order to save an inn from failing miserably or at least that is what I got from IMDB. Maybe I will give it a watch alongside you readers this year.
Nutcracker: The Motion Picture
It would not be Christmas without seeing a performance of the magnificent ballet that is Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in the aptly titled Nutcracker: The Motion Picture. Yes, I am a bit of a sucker for the work of Tchaikovsky and enjoy a great performance set to the beauty of his masterpiece with the imagination of sets and costumes created by illustrator and author Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame. Those familiar with the story of The Nutcracker would be delighted by this darker telling of the tale by the Pacific Northwest Ballet and is a feast for the eyes for the whole family and music lovers.
The Polar Express
Like most viewers watching this film, I was quite skeptical at first of the borderline uncanny valley animation and taking the beloved children’s book and stretching it out to feature length. Luckily, my skepticism was proven wrong and one gorgeous as hell movie was born. The Polar Express manages to capture the wonder and joy many of us experienced reading the book growing up by taking the wonderful illustrations of Chris Van Allsburg to a whole new level and giving a true heartwarming and profound experience. Tom Hanks as The Conductor seems to be having a ton of fun and it shows in his characters he plays. Seriously, give this film a chance and you will be taken on a trip to the North Pole you won’t soon forget.