Here comes the holiday season when you walk into the malls and hear the Christmas carols on-loop. It’s also the time where you see the DVD section of the mall is displaying Hollywood blockbusters that normally tell a drama in snowy New York that involves romance, comedy, tears and finally a big happy ending ever after. Are they good? Yes, especially if you happen to like Huge Grant, Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock very, very much. In my humble opinion plus the possibility that you want a change for once, there are a lot of family-oriented, (relatively) festive and wonderful films to choose from for your summer Christmas with friends and family. Instead of cuddling in front of the fireplace (air conditioner) sharing hot chocolate or mulled wine, make these home movie sessions jolly with our list and perhaps a cup of coffee or tea!
We came up with four main types (not to be mixed up with genres) of films to offer some outside-of-the-box thinking. They don’t drift far from the theme of the holidays, family and jolly endings mostly.
Road Trip Films
Being in Australia during the summer holiday that calls for an over-due road trip, or at least we could wish for one or watch other people’s journey at home. Yes, the first category is “road trip movies.” Out of the many adventure movies of the same genre, for a lovely, lighthearted and happy option, I’d suggest Little Miss Sunshine (2006).
Warm colour-tone, well-paced and amazing plot transition all make this film easy to watch while enjoyable for its heartfelt, light yet profound storyline. For the hectic time you could have during the Christmas holidays, what we all need less is the nerve-wracking or intense (but still great) road trip films like The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), Into the Wild (2007), Easy Rider (1969), Captain Fantastic (2016). Given the higher chance that you would spend the screen time with the younger audience, let’s keep it safe with age-appropriate ones. Most importantly, Little Miss Sunshine tells a story about family and the connection with the loved ones in your life.
Aussie Summer Films
Speaking of sunshine, Australia is one of the luckiest places to have the Christmas in summer. Despite the traditional Christmas scene that is based in the northern hemisphere where the snowy landscape is all if not blinding in EVERY CHRISTMAS FILM, let’s not overlook the representative, authentic Aussie summer Christmas vibe in Red Dog (2011). Is it Christmasy? Maybe not. Does it have a dog in it? Bloody yes. Bonus points also for being a family-oriented comedy.
Indeed, in the category “summer/Aussie” film, our pick is Red Dog (2011) that is a charming and engaging story of the Australian outback. Unlike a lot of animal personification films that often get cheesy or childish, Red Dog manages to not represent a too cutesy animation. The clever story-telling of the film rather creates the connection between the audience and the characters surrounding the dog. This helps the audience to be more invested in the plots and emotions, while the Aussie outback landscape scenes often take your breath away.
To make things even more Aussie, the Red Dog in the movie is an Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue Heeler. There aren’t many reasons to skip this classic Aussie film unless you have a toddler or young-teen that have been bugging you about having a pet.
Speaking of dogs, combined with witty comedy comes the next recommended film Best in Show (2000). For us this comes to the comedy category because laughter is best shared with the friends and family during the holidays.
Best in Show (2000) is an improv comedy featuring a talented cast that gives lives to each of the characters. Its low-key, seemingly plain yet brilliant sense of humour gives the film spontaneous and heartfelt comic effects that only create the long-lasting resonance of its ridiculous and hilarious elements. As far as the mockumentary goes, each character and their stories have a relatively happy ending to each’s own.
On the other hand, films where a distinct line between justice and injustice is drawn, where the audience can expect the bad guys receiving the brutal and very funny consequences of their misconduct, can be seen in Home Alone (1990). This classic Christmas comedy (and we are finally back to what this article is about) almost needs no further introduction. Yet once in a while, it’s great to revisit the OG and relive the childhood Christmas shenanigans with your beloved family members.
Now since we’ve come to watching films with a large group a people, it’s also the great time for those weakhearted people to finally take a sneak peek at the horror genre.
Thanks to the geographical advantage, Australia enjoys much longer sunshine during the Christmas, making it less scary for horror movies. However, Gremlins (1984) still gives me the chills just thinking of those evil-looking green nasty b*stards. Happened to be based on an ill-considered Christmas pressie, Gremlins serves you well as a Christmas fright with a relatively light taste for the genre. Originally rated PG, it’s been changed to PG-13 (thankfully, because I’m still suffering from the childhood scar after watching it way before that age) thus suitable for young teens and it’s probably telling them a warning that is “to always follow the instructions of products!”
Shift to the more adult horror films for the thrill seekers, The Thing (1982) also fits the snowy scene with great and chilling suspense that give you the delusion of a less heated summer Christmas cramming with your family.
Combining three types of the films mentioned above and the fact that it’s a great film on its own, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2006) is definitely due for a revisit. A road trip comedy with amazing Aussie scenery, the film is not only a great suit for movie choices with friends and family, but it’s also a profound story that deals with a lot of domestic, social and cultural causes.
What is your Christmas to-watch list? Share with us in the comments!