In December of 2013, I wrote about a Christmas movie a day for twenty five days. It was both the best and worst project I had ever attempted. I tested the limit of how many words I could actually come up with for each one. I barely scraped by in the end, but it was tons of fun. I would’ve never made it had it not been for Netflix Instant’s library.
As Flixist’s resident expert in Besteverology, I think a list celebrating Netflix Instant’s offerings for the holiday season is in order. Couple of rules: The films have to be available on Netflix Instant as of the time of writing (otherwise this list would’ve been Jingle All the Way ten times), and they have to involve Christmas in some way.
With all of that said, wear your warmest onesie, brew your finest hot chocolate, listen to Jingle Bell Rock again, and read this list of The Ten Best Christmas Movies on Netflix Instant.
Honorable Mentions: The Preacher’s Wife, Santa Paws, Santa Paws 2, Codename Kids Next Door (S5, E5) – Operation: N.A.U.G.H.T.Y.,
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
This movie’s such a great comedy in its own right, you could watch it outside of the holiday and not feel weird. A film that set the stage for the “Road Trip” comedy, Planes, Trains and Automobiles features a memorable performance from John Candy (which means it’s an automatic winner already), and lots of awesome anti-Christmas spirit.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
There are tons of different versions of A Christmas Carol out there, but The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because the Muppets themselves are great, or maybe it’s the musical numbers, or maybe it’s the fact it’s one of the few stories that features a timeline in which Kermit and Miss Piggy actually get married and conceive children. It’s just got lots of cute moments that are really hard to pass up. The two Marley ghosts are still my favorite bit.
I actually have no idea why Love, Actually works as well as it does. What should be shmaltzy holiday fodder clicks due to its well selected cast, hidden darkness (Rick Grimes straight up stalks a girl), and snappy dialogue.
I don’t have fond memories of Bad Santa mostly because I saw the second cut, Badder Santa first. Turns out the slightly cleaner cut was much better. It’s not a holiday classic for most, but it should be. If you can get passed all of the jackassery and gross kids, it’s got a lot of heart. Takes the poop out of the Christmas myth.
This may be yet another version of A Christmas Carol, but it’s far darker than most things on this list. With a skewed vision of pop culture and advertisement of the time (and thus dissecting the commercialism of the holiday season), Scrooged is a mix of cartoonish and bleak. It’s like a holiday film your cranky old dad would enjoy. Both of you can watch and go “dern TV today.”
The Nightmare Before Christmas
What’s this? What’s this? It’s a movie everyone’s seen.
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
This pick is a little more personal. The first non-Rankin/Bass Christmas film I got was Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas. It’s pretty special as it introduced me to stories like Gift of the Magi and Groundhog Day. It’s a perfectly harmless, imperfect Disney direct to home video film. You should at least check out the first segment where Huey, Dewey, and Louie wish it were Christmas everyday. It’s fun, depressing, and full of laughs.
The Prince of Egypt
The Prince of Egypt might be more of an Easter film, but it’s the only pure religious film I’ll ever acknowledge. When Dreamworks Animation was focused on challenging Disney, they churned out their best work during a golden era: The Prince of Egypt, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, The Road to El Dorado, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. It was hit after hit after hit as they put so much money into turning out the best products. The Prince of Egypt is one of the best retellings of Exodus I’ve ever seen. Concise but full of information, stupendous musical numbers, stellar voice cast, and gorgeous animation. If you’re thinking about the “Christ” part of Christmas, check this one out. It’s religious without being super in your face about it.
American Dad S5, E9: Rapture’s Delight
So this one’s a bit of a cheat, but I’ve made it a tradition to watch every American Dad Christmas special each year. The later ones (featuring Krampus and Damien) aren’t that great, but the first four or so are true gems. The highlight of all these for sure is “Rapture’s Delight.” A Christmas special that suddenly turns into a send up of every great 80s action film with Mad Max-style visuals, Andy Samberg with his most annoyingly great voiceover work, and “Later world, smell my ass!” can’t be beat.
Fireplace for Your Home
What do you think Flixist community? What are your favorite holiday films on Netflix Instant?