u'Photo Illustration by Erik Simkins/ The AS Review'

u'Photo Illustration by Erik Simkins/ The AS Review'

By Alex Bacon/The AS Review

Winter break is here again and with it comes time to spend with family and friends.  Watching movies is one of the many things you can do over break, but with so many holiday-themed movies out there, it can be hard to know what to watch.  ASP Films Coordinator Matt Blair had a few suggestions.

For people who like movies that aren’t specifically holiday movies, but want to watch something with a holiday element, Blair suggested movies that take place on or around holidays, but don’t really have anything to do with them, such as “Diehard” (1988). Blair said it’s good for someone who doesn’t take Christmas seriously and likes explosions.

“Home Alone 1” (1990), “Home Alone 2” (1992), “Home Alone 3” (1997) and “Home Alone 4” (2002) are all set at Christmas time but have more to do with Kevin McAllister’s adventures being home alone and fending off burglars.

“It’s always really fun to watch Danny DeVito and Daniel Stern get hit in the face with paint cans and step on nails,” Blair said.

“Gremlins” (1984) is a horror/comedy with Christmas on the periphery.  It’s somewhat of a scarier movie, but hasn’t held up over time, Blair said.  Many people will laugh about the special effects of the ’80s instead of being scared.

“Black Christmas” (1974) is from the first-person perspective of a serial killer.  It is set in a sorority house at Christmas time and, according to Blair, is a unique take on Christmas.

Some people think of childhood or happier times around the holidays.  Many people enjoy the nostalgia associated with the holiday feeling and emphasis on family.  Blair suggested that people who like classic holiday movies such as “It’s A Wonderful Life” should check out the following flicks.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992), with Michael Caine as Scrooge, features the Muppets including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and other favorites.

“Michael Caine is just great in everything,” Blair said.

“Scrooge”/”A Christmas Carol” (1951) was originally released in the UK as “Scrooge” but renamed “A Christmas Carol” for American audiences.  It features Alastor Sim as Scrooge and Blair said it was really well done.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” (1964), “The Little Drummer Boy” (1968), “Frosty the Snowman” (1969) and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (1970) are the classics that appear on television every year.  Blair suggested them because they’re so old, popular and classic.  The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) lists “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” as one of the most popular holiday movies ever.

Nostalgia isn’t for everyone, and many people enjoy humorous movies at any time of the year.  ‘Tis the season for holiday-themed comedy, and Blair suggested the following for those who want to laugh with the holiday spirit.

“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964) is from what Blair called the “golden age of sci-fi” and is good for people who love really bad movies.  He said the Martians are clearly people running around in rubber suits and makeup.  In the movie Santa goes to Mars and combats the Martians using his sleigh as a weapon.

“The Hebrew Hammer” (2003) is a comedy that is paradoxical, Blair said.  It doesn’t want to step on anybody’s toes but it does want to dish it out to everyone.  The movie stars Adam Goldberg as Mordechai, who is a Jewish superhero.  Mordechai teams up with a representative of Kwanzaa and the Jewish Justice League to save Hanukkah from Santa’s evil son Damian, played by Andy Dick, who wants to get rid of all the December holidays.

“Jingle All The Way” (1996) stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a dad trying desperately to find a “Turbo Man” doll for his son.  Blair said the movie is less about Christmas and more about American commercialism.  The lengths Schwarzenegger’s character goes to get the doll include competing with mailmen, cops, other parents and mall Santas.

“Bad Santa” (2003) is about a conman who poses as a mall Santa with his Elf sidekick as they plan to rob a mall.
For more information and reviews of these movies and other movies, Blair suggested looking at www.metacritic.com.  He also said www.rottentomatos.com is a popular site for reviews.