I recently wrote a post about the best (imaginary) Christmas movies. I realize now that I left out a few absolute classics. I’ll also pop a few TV shows on the list for those who want to imagine some really great viewing experiences.
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SWEARING AND SOME FRANKLY HORRIFIC IDEAS. READ SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD.
Friends and Family
A Richard Curtis joint. This moving, funny, tragic, comic, inspiring, touching, sexy, smutty, vigorous, magical, sickening movie is a must see for fans of posh people, cheeky poor people, outrageous old people, quirky artsy people and genteel swearing. The film follows the trials and tribulations of a host of eccentric characters as they spend Christmas with friends and family. Look out for every British actor ever and a few token Americans, just to get the box office sales going (mostly white people, please). Featuring, amongst many others, Bill Nighy as an apparently sexy art teacher, Emma Thompson as a woman who sells scented candles and Stephen Fry as a foul mouthed but lovable Grandmother (yes GRNADMOTHER! Crazy!). SPOILER: someone has AIDS.
Stop that Santa!
Due to a sequence of unfortunate coincidences, Santa finds himself in possession of a music box that contains the Nuclear Codes for North America. Mistaken for an international spy, Santa must try to put everything right while delivering Christmas presents to all the wealthy children in the world while dodging the CIA, the FBI, the KKK and some hilarious Mexican stereotype cartel members. Can Santa save Christmas AND avert thermonuclear war? SPOILER: He can’t. The film is produced by Raymond Briggs and that bastard hates a happy ending.
Catch those Santas!
Not to be confused with the previous movie. This film attempts to recreate the Ealing Comedies of old by casting every British comedian you’ve ever seen in a crime caper. A gang of… Christ, I don’t know…. probably forty of them… a gang of quirky criminals are brought together by a jovial criminal Mastermind (played by Stephen Fry) for one giant heist. The twist? The heist takes place at Christmas, at dozens of famous London shops (it’s half movie, half advert to be honest). Watch out for James Corden as ‘Chubby’ Cheekichap, David Walliams as “Groper” Bellend and the inimitable Michael Mcintyre as “Fuckwit the Chuckler”. The police officers are played by female comedians, but they only get about ten minutes of screen time. SPOILER: Startling and unforgettable prison shower scene.
Arrest that Santa!
An ITV made for TV movie about a sex offender who dresses as Santa to commit his crimes. Featuring that chubby one out of ‘League of Gentlemen’. I googled him. Steve Pemberton. This is the sort of thing that Daily Mail readers watch so they can be simultaneously upset, furious and (secretly) aroused. Expect strong feelings to be expressed in the Letters section. SPOILER: if you watch this, you’re worse than Mugabe.
Confessions of a Santa
Not to be confused with the hilarious, misogynistic “Confessions…” films of the seventies. This tale explores the tortured inner life a department store Santa. He smiles for the families at work, but stares at a blank wall at home. This Santa manges to be the life and soul of the Christmas party, but his lonely house is a shrine to his dead wife. Jim Broadbent, in possibly his finest role, will move you to tears as you watch the paradox of Christmas played out in the life of one desperately depressed old performer as he puts on his final show. SPOILER: watch out for Benedict Cumberbatch during the suicide scene in a cameo as “Long-Faced Satan”.
The Darkling Yule
BBC TV series from the eighties, apparently aimed at children. Beowulf Yaldings-Harker is returning from boarding school for the Christmas Holidays. Imagine his surprise at finding his family’s Manor House is empty and his parents gone. The ancient and terrible Holly King is to blame and Beowulf must use all his courage (and his magical book of carols) to defeat the pagan menace before the whole of England is plunged into an endless winter. Expect Norse mythology, Christian imagery, pagan themes, poor special effects that are somehow more disturbing than CGI, chilling puppetry and a theme tune that will make young children flee the room. SPOILER: it was all a dream. MY DREAM. AND YOU ARE TRAPPED IN IT!
A change in direction for National Treasure and type-cast performer Judi Dench. Dame Judi plays underclass matriarchal harridan Granny Ashworth, known to her hideous brood of criminals and ASBO wielders as Gash. Watch in horror as Dame Judi, unrecognizable in bald-cap and heavy prosthetic make up, organizes dog fights, abuses her immigrant neighbours and injects drugs into her love places. Written by Ken Loach, directed by Shane Meadows and filmed on a real Nottingham housing estate, using bemused locals as extras, this harrowing exploration of poverty and evil will make Guardian readers gasp and Daily Mail readers chortle. SPOILER: Watch out for Maggie Smith in blackface as a Yardie. Ban this sick filth!