A Holly Jolly Netflix Our top 6 movie tips for the holiday season

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Gene Wilder and Peter Ostrum in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Image source; Paramount Pictures, via Photofest

BJ Quinn

It’s that time of year again! A time for love and joy, for family and friends. But most importantly, Christmas is a time when we have the opportunity to sit down, watch a bunch of movies, and mock all the foil-wrapped goodies that are within reach. And while we can’t provide the goodies, here is our list of the top 6 Christmas movies currently streamed.
NETFLIX
Klaus (2019)
When Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) distinguishes himself as the worst student at the Postakademie, he is exiled to Smeerensburg, a remote village on an icy island above the Arctic Circle, where grumpy residents hardly exchange words, let alone letters. Jesper is about to give up and giving up his postal duties when he meets the local teacher Alva and Klaus (JK Simmons), a reclusive toy maker who lives alone in a shack full of handmade jewelry.
Klaus is the perfect way to start the Christmas season. It’s beautiful to look at, really funny, and has the potential to make you cry the happiest tears. The film also explains all of Santa’s myths – from flying reindeer to his little helpers – in a unique and clever way. Well, history isn’t reinventing the wheel; In fact, it’s openly reminiscent of Disney’s 2000s-era 2D animations. But we are in safe and competent hands: its director Sergio Pablos created the phenomenon that I am simply incorrigible.

Krampus (2015)
When his broken family falls apart over the holidays, Max (Emjay Anthony) is disaffected and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, however, that this lack of festive mood unleashed the wrath of Krampus: an ancient evil force aimed at punishing unbelievers.
Forget the beautiful – Krampus is as naughty as it gets and is an unholy joy! When you’ve had enough of all the Christmas festivities and family-friendly classics, this is for you. Although heavily inspired by Joe Dante’s magnum gremlins, Krampus unleashes his very own kind of terror. It’s got jump scares, suspense, and tons of creepy creations. The creatures on display are a mix of terrifying practical and CGI effects, and the result is pure nightmare fuel. While arguably the funniest movie you will find this holiday season, you better wait until the kids are hidden before inviting Krampus into your living room.
Disney +
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Bored of scaring people with the same old tricks every Halloween, Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the beloved Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, plans to kidnap Santa and take on the role for himself. But as Christmas approaches, Jack soon discovers that even the best plans of mice and (skeletal) men can go seriously wrong.
This film has the unique ability to be a crowd puller on both Halloween and Christmas. With catchy melodies and beautiful, nightmarish images, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a macabre masterpiece. Directed by Henry Selick, with a script by Tim Burton and songs by Danny Elfman, this film has no shortage of powerhouses. The visuals will follow you as well as ‘This is Halloween’, ‘What’s This’ and ‘Making Christmas’ will keep you buzzing for weeks: “Boys and girls of all ages, wouldn’t you like to see something weird?”

Die Hard (1988)
For the uninitiated: NYPD cop John McClane’s (Bruce Willis) plan to reconcile with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) is disrupted when a few minutes after arriving at their office, the entire building was heavily accentuated by a group Terrorists run over people. With little help from the LAPD, the clever McClane sets out to single-handedly bring down the bad guys, no less barefoot.
Where should I start? Yes, it’s a Christmas movie. Yes, it is one of the greatest action films of all time – the two things are not mutually exclusive. However, I take no pleasure in saying Die Hard has aged into a lost art. It has a completely original, unpredictable script, funny dialogue, and Willis has never been better, cooler or sexier. But Die Hard not only made Willis an international star, it also gave us one of the most memorable film villains of all time in Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). Merry Christmas and a Yippee Ki-Yay!
Prime Video
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
If you happen to have no childhood and therefore don’t know this classic at all, here’s an overview: Dandy candy man Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) causes a stir around the world when he announces that five of his candy bars will be hiding golden tickets happy owner into his secret pastry shop. But this isn’t just any chocolate factory, Wonka’s is filled with chocolate rivers, oompa loompas and crazy inventions.
Another Christmas dinner, unfortunately, but this one has aged well – better than most Dahl adaptations, that’s for sure. The performances are great, especially Wilder, who weaves a sense of enigmatic mystery through the procedures. Depp didn’t stand a chance, his performance (in Tim Burton’s 2005 remake) brought all the whims but no emotion, and if Wilder had anything, it was emotion. He could fill it up or let it crack! What I love about the original version is how the meanness of Dahl’s world shows through. The kids here are absolute brats and it is very satisfying to watch them get their reward. I mean, even Charlie is too much sometimes, but at least he’s got a good heart – just stay away from those fizzy lifting drinks, boy.

Mandarin (2015)
It’s Christmas Eve in Hollywood and our heroine Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the streets. When she learns that her pimp has not been faithful in the 28 days of her detention, the worker and her best friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) go on a mission to investigate the lewd rumor.
Tangerine is the real deal! When it was released, critics made a lot of the fact that the film was shot entirely with an iPhone, but it’s a lot more than that – it’s proof that independent films don’t have to be drab, artistic and filled to the brim with static footage to be they suggest cheap Bergman or Ozu. This film breaks all the rules and is a lot of fun. Sure, it might be set up like a Jim Jarmucsh movie, but it has all of the raw energy of a Cassavetes joint. But most of all, it’s the way the film centers the lives of colored trans women with complexity and humor that makes it an extremely rewarding trip around Tinseltown.


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