Avid (adjective) – having or showing a keen interest in or enthusiasm for something. It’s more than just our company’s namesake. Passion for our work and for the things we love is part of our core values. In this recurring series, we’ll share some of the things we’re Avid Fans of with you.
The winter holidays, much like Halloween or Valentine’s Day, have garnered their own ever-expanding cinematic subgenre. From animated classics like How the Grinch Stole Christmas or A Charlie Brown Christmas to live-action favorites like A Christmas Story or Elf, these films (and many, many more) often help set a festive tone and provide wonderful, end of year entertainment for viewers of all ages. This month the Avid Core team looks back at some of our all-time favorite holiday live-action and animated films.
Alex – Die Hard (1988)
John McTiernan’s classic action thriller Die Hard is probably no one’s first choice for holiday movie night. Following the hair-raising adventures of New York cop John McClane as he attempts to stop a team of ruthless thieves in an LA office building on Christmas Eve, Die Hard is a masterpiece of action cinema. While it doesn’t have much in the way of Christmas miracles, carols, or impactful life lessons, Die Hard provides an exciting, holiday-adjacent cinematic break in between all those back-to-back-to-back A Christmas Story reruns on TBS, as well as ample humor, character, and practical special effects.
Sarah – Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)
We all know the story. Scrooge, three ghosts, Tiny Tim, epiphany, redemption. Dickens’ novella is infused into the Christmas season for good reason — it reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas (clue: It’s not greed, consumerism, or apathy) and it shines a light on our responsibility to care for those in need, especially children. What could possibly improve this 179-year-old classic? Drumroll… Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo, and award-winning actor Michael Caine. That’s right, the Michael Caine plays Scrooge with great conviction, opposite dozens of Muppets. Dickens himself is also woven into the film as the first-person narrator, embodied in Gonzo, which is genius. This feeds us some of the best unspoken lines from the book and Dickens and Rizzo have some giggle-worthy side conversations. The Muppets are hilarious and endearing and somehow the story doesn’t lose any gravity. Oh, and the music is amazing.
Ashley – The Holiday (2006)
No one makes a cozy rom com quite like Nancy Meyers and The Holiday is my ideal blend of holiday sweetness, love stories, and beautiful settings. The casting is SPOT ON – Cameron Diaz! Kate Winslet! Jude Law! Jack Black! And there is a storyline for everyone. I giggle at Mr. Napkinhead. I tear up as Arthur finds the strength to walk down the aisle and be honored. I swoon as the leads fall in love. I sing along to “Mr. Brightside” as well as all of the holiday musical favorites. I try to have the self-control to save my annual rewatch for Christmas Eve but sometimes the season calls for an earlier holiday home swap!
Steph – The Grinch (2018)
I can never look at whipped cream in an aerosol dispenser the same after watching Illumination’s version of The Grinch. My daughters and I laughed so loud that we probably could be heard in the theater lobby. The hysterical scene where Fred, the lovable, wild moose, discovers the magic of whipped cream will forever live rent-free in my brain. It’s the reason why we went back to the theater to watch the movie a second time and have since purchased it, streamed it and laughed until tears were shed. Recently, we’ve had to limit the number of times my youngest daughter can watch it in a day. She’s that addicted to Fred and Max the loyal dog. We’re all fans of the animation, the narrator (Pharrell Williams), the hip-hop music created by Tyler, the Creator, and obviously the valuable lessons learned about acts of kindness and compassion.
And since I had a really difficult time deciding, I had to add in an honorable mention for A Christmas Story. As a Jewish kid with immigrant parents, this was my Christmas reference guide. I was shocked when I learned that my college roommates didn’t get bunny suits and BB guns for Christmas.
Rossana – Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
This was a hard one to answer. I’m really big on Christmas and Halloween movies because they are very STACKED genres. Though I have a list longer than a CVS receipt for favorite holiday films, I will say Home Alone 2 is up at the top. What makes me love this movie most is that it was actually the first movie I got on VHS when I came from Cuba to the US. At the time, I didn’t know how to speak English except maybe a handful of words, but you don’t need to understand all of it to know what’s going on with Kevin. When I watched it as a kid, I began making makeshift traps to catch burglars in my family’s apartment (though it ended up just annoying everyone in the house). The day my family put up their Christmas tree, I watched Home Alone with my little sister and partner. It felt like a warm hug directly infused into my soul.
Amanda – Scrooged (1988)
Although it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed this Bill Murray classic, I have fond memories of watching this movie as a child with my father during the holidays. I loved the fairy (Ghost of Christmas Present) and was scared of the bullet-ridden corpse of his old boss (even though it was kind of funny when he tried to drink and couldn’t… you know, cause of the holes). This movie may not be a traditional Christmas heart-warmer, but it embodies my family’s quirky sense of humor.
Susan – Winter Sonata (2009)
For holiday movies, I never really sat and chose a movie to watch. They were always on cable TV, so I watched what was on. However, I watched this film called Winter Sonata which is an anime based on a Korean Drama; a must-watch that came out in 2002. It’s not a traditional holiday movie but it is one I really enjoyed watching. The movie is beautiful, sweet, and really grasps the melodrama genre. It makes the audience appreciate sharing and receiving love during the holidays. I’m a sucker for romance and drama, so anything in those genres will always be in “my watchlist.” I know a romance movie gets me glued when I want to watch clips of the movie again right after I watched it, which is what I did with this film. Everyone should give the film or show a chance because they are both great.
Virginia – The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Two words: Whitney Houston. If I had to pull together a soundtrack of my pre-teen and teen years, the best of and even the not-so-known Whitney Houston ballads would be a staple. A closer runner up is Home Alone, the first movie I saw in the theater and one of the few movies I know almost word-for-word. It’s a classic!
Bre – Almost Christmas (2016)
Who doesn’t love a good wholesome movie that encompasses family, drama, comedy, and a good love story all in one dysfunctional family? Almost Christmas is a movie that reminds me that no matter how much a family goes through, they can always find the happiness, love and joy that melds them together.