We all know and love the classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Carol, and my personal favorite – It’s a Wonderful Life. But there are some real holiday gems out there that you may not know about or have forgotten. This list of Christmas movies is not going to include those traditional classics that everyone should watch. No, it won’t even include The Nightmare Before Christmas. Nope. This list will include Christmas specials that you may have never heard of or have forgotten were even tied to Christmas.
The Star Wars Holiday Special – All the stars are here: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, James Earl Jones, and yes…Bea Arthur. Bea plays Ackmene, the hostess of the Mos Eisley Cantina. In this masterful holiday special, which aired in 1978, Han Solo and Chewbacca are trying to find their way to Kashyyyk in time to celebrate Life Day with Chewbacca’s family: his father Itchy, wife Malla, and son Lumpy. Yep. This was America’s first indication that Lucas will sell Yoda’s soul for money. I am also pretty confident that Harrison Ford was as uncomfortable filming this special as he was the last Indiana Jones movie.
As fantastically terrible as this television special is, it is also a Star Wars nerd’s gold mine. It has stock footage from Star Wars: A New Hope, as well as the first official appearance of Boba Fett in a cartoon where Darth Vader hires him to hunt down Luke Skywalker. It also provides crucial evidence that Lucas planned to have Wookies in Return of the Jedi instead of Ewoks. Chewbacca’s family lives in a tree house that is eerily familiar to those the Ewoks reside in five years later.
And if you want to see Princess Leia sing the words of Life Day to the Star Wars theme song in front of a bunch of Wookies dressed in comfy red robes, you’ll have to find it online. This Christmas special will never be re-aired nor will it be released on DVD or Blu Ray. Frankly, I’m shocked since it seems Lucas will do anything to milk his fans for their last dime. Maybe he’s just forgotten about this little gem. Let’s all petition Lucas to release it in 3-D and digitally replace Bea Arthur with Jar Jar Binks.
Here’s a link to the ending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXcb7VPw59s
Horrible Holiday Cheer – Invader Zim, in one of his crazed plot’s to take over the Earth discovers that the Earth monkeys inexplicably worship a jolly fat man in a red suit. Who was this Santa? And why does he smell of ham and vomit? Somehow Zim must find a way to impersonate Santa so that the masses will build him a device that will transport them all to their dooooooom!
This Christmas special has all the trimmings. A robot snowman narrator. Mini-moose. Robot elves. A giant, evil, mutated Santa suit that terrorizes the Earth for years to come. The greatest Santa song ever (“Bow down before the mighty power of Santa or be crushed by his jolly boots of doom!”) A Jingle Jail for nonbelievers. And the Easter Platypus.
Batman Returns – Yep. This sequel was set during Christmas. Its holiday message is “Don’t employ penguins with rockets on their backs to exact your revenge.” Oh, and don’t a push young, attractive, driven woman out a window when she discovers your plans to drain the city’s energy or she might just dress in a cat suit with a whip and kiss you with a taser. Oh, and Batman is in it too.
Die Hard – All corporate Christmas parties should have this many explosions. The second most quotable line from this movie is “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.” Yes, the sequel is also set during Christmas, but only because that movie couldn’t come up with anything new. So just watch the original.
The Muppets Christmas Carol – Michael Cain’s portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge rivals George C. Scott’s in this Muppet parody that leaves all the other forgettable ones on the shelf. My favorite part is Sam the Eagle telling Scrooge not to tip the driver. Listen for it carefully because it’s in the background.
Scrooged – Bill Murray. I don’t need to keep writing.
Creature Comforts Christmas – What is funnier than random, drunk British people contemplating the twelve days of Christmas, reminiscing about Christmases past, and spreading holiday cheer? Why, having them portrayed as claymation animals. Duh.
So now that I have introduced or reminded you of some of the nerdiest Christmas movies ever, curl up with some hot cocoa, your Santa shaped cookie that you decorated to look like the Hulk, and watch as many of these as your family will allow.
What’s your favorite nerdy Christmas movie?
I love the Invader Zim Christmas special and you can’t go wrong with Die Hard. Awesome list Jason.
Thanks, Tim. I also should have included the rarely seen Venture Bros. Christmas Special. It’s on the Season 1 DVD.