The holiday season is wrought with obligations, overeating and over stimulation. What better way to relax than watching a movie? But don’t waste your time with one of those cliché feel-good films. Sure, there is some joy to be found in watching a Christmas Story only to see Santa kick that nerdy kid in the face, but there are other options out there. Pour a little whiskey in your coffee and settle in — here are five flicks for the anti-Santa in all of us. Rest assured, these films contain no elves who want to be dentists and no one’s on a mission to return a silk hat to a creepy snowman.
Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr are closeted boyfriends, Sarah Polley is an amateur ecstasy dealer and pre-TomKat Katie Holmes is just some chick sitting in an apartment — all set against the backdrop of the holiday season. Directed by Doug Liman and comprised of three interconnected story lines, Go is definitely an underrated gem of the ’90s. Watching Nathan Bexton trip out or Wolf and Mohr discuss the head they received from a dude they work with should make anyone feel all warm and happy inside. Polley’s performance alone makes the film worthwhile.
“They wouldn’t evict you on Christmas; you’d be ho-ho-homeless!”
It would be easy to confuse the Gremlins with greedy kids on Xmas morning. Both start out cute then morph into monsters. But while kids want to shred wrapping paper off gifts, the Gremlins want to shred you into tinsel. The film is festively filled with luscious greens and reds — in the form of scales and blood. Through the mogwais and gore the darkest scene comes from Phoebe Cates’ father who — acting as Santa — slips down the chimney and breaks his neck.
“He died instantly. And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.”
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski’s film concerns the birth of a special child with a very powerful father. Although Mia Farrow doesn’t give birth on the 25th of December, there are some spectacularly filmed scenes set in the Big Apple around the holidays, like when you see Rosemary doing some window shopping while strolling down Park Avenue. The film is also a helpful resource for the chefs in the audience — serving raw liver to a pregnant party guest is not recommended.
“God is dead! Satan lives!”
Less Than Zero (1987)
Adapted from the novel by Bret Easton Ellis &mdash the same guy who wrote American Psycho — Less Than Zero is all about cheating, cocaine and Christmas cookies. Andrew McCarthy plays Clay Easton, a privileged guy who returns to Beverly Hills for the holidays, only to learn that his girlfriend has moved on and his best friend is falling fast. Art imitates life as Robert Downey Jr is perfectly cast as a coke-head turned rent boy intent on having a very “white” Xmas and James Spader plays — what else — an asshole.
“Do you know that you girls have televisions between your legs?”
Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Loathing relatives who come calling during the holiday season is common practice. Bashing their heads in with bricks is not. Peter Jackson’s biopic of real-life lovers/murderesses Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme is here for you to vicariously live through. Set in New Zealand in the early ’50s, Pauline receives the same diary every Xmas. It’s in these diaries that she pens her tales of fantasy and madness, which ultimately became the narration for the film. Features Kate Winslet’s first ever screen kiss, which she shares with costar Melanie Lynskey.
“Daddy says the Bible’s a load of bunkum!”