The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


The Student News Site of Berkley High School


Unconventional Christmas Movies to Watch This Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching! With the snow and the hot chocolate comes the annual holiday movie season. This year, however, instead of doing a traditional movie guide, I am going to be bringing you five unconventional Christmas movies for everyone to enjoy.

Batman Returns (1992) (Warner Bros. Pictures)

“Iron Man 3” & “Batman Returns” 
This is a little bit of a cheat, but I packaged “Iron Man 3” and “Batman Returns” together. If you want to add some superhero flair to your holiday season, these are the films for you. “Iron Man 3” is the final solo “Iron Man” film, and, due to being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a sequel to both “Iron Man 2” as well as “The Avengers”. This thrilling third adventure with Tony Stark is both the darkest and most hopeful chapter in the “Iron Man” franchise. Without the Christmas element, this film would feel like a relatively generic Marvel blockbuster, but the addition of some holiday spirit sprinkles a bit of magic into the final “Iron Man” film in the trilogy.

“Batman Returns” is the 1992 sequel to the original 1989 “Batman” starring Michael Keaton as the titular Dark Knight. Returns follows Batman as he battles the likes of the evil Penguin and the seductive Catwoman. This film is directed by Tim Burton, and that is apparent throughout the film. Burton is known for his gothic style in films such as “Edward Scissorhands”, “Beetlejuice”, and even the 2005 “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and that same gothic style is brought to the world of Batman in this film. The Christmas element here is less joyful and more eerie, elevating the creepiness and weirdness of the Gotham that Burton builds. For those who enjoy Tim Burton movies, “Batman Returns” is a good holiday watch. For those who want a fun, spirited Christmas movie, steer clear of “Batman Returns”.

Die Hard (1988) (20th Century Studios)

“Die Hard”
Widely regarded as the greatest action movie ever made, “Die Hard” was released in 1988 and has stood the test of time. One of the biggest debates surrounding the film, however, is whether or not it is a Christmas movie. In my opinion, it absolutely is. An unconventional Christmas movie (hence its appearance on this list), but a Christmas movie nonetheless. The holiday action classic follows New York cop John McClane as he visits his wife in LA for a Christmas party. The party soon becomes a nightmare when a group of terrorists led by the cunning Hans Gruber takes the attendees hostage with the exception of McClane, who is able to escape from the terrorists. What follows is two straight hours of non-stop thrills and action with incredible performances from Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman. While this may seem like it would be a typical cheesy 80s action film, “Die Hard” actually manages to muster up a good amount of emotion and even connect back to the Christmas spirit as John tries to reunite with his wife. Regardless of whether or not you are an action fan, everyone should watch “Die Hard”. It is a solidified holiday and action classic.

Violent Night (2022) (Universal Pictures)

“Violent Night”
“Violent Night” was last year’s headline Christmas movie, but since it was released in theaters, it has fallen off the map. The film has “Stranger Things” star David Harbour as Santa Claus, but he’s not your typical St. Nick. “Violent Night” is about a family who is held hostage by a group of burglars on Christmas Eve until Father Christmas himself shows up and starts killing these burglars “Die Hard”-style. This is a fantastically fun action comedy with a surprising amount of heart to it. It manages to throw in tons of blood and gore while also maintaining the magic of the Christmas spirit. If you are an action fan but also want a good holiday movie and are tired of rewatching “Die Hard” over and over again, “Violent Night” is a viable option. If you don’t like blood, though, do not watch this movie.

Gremlins (1984) (Amblin Entertainment)

This is definitely an unconventional Christmas film. “Gremlins” is a 1984 “horror” movie about a kid named Billy who receives a special Christmas gift from his dad: a box of strange creatures with a very specific set of rules. When Billy breaks one of the rules, the titular gremlins begin to wreak havoc on Christmas Eve. Whereas Die Hard seems like it would be 80s cheese and isn’t, “Gremlins” seems like it would be 80s cheese…and is. This film is an entry-level horror film for younger kids who may get scared by cheap-looking effects and the concept of the gremlins. The Christmas spirit is not as present as it should be in this film, with more emphasis being on the slapstick humor involving the gremlins. Some people enjoy these relics of the 80s. If that’s you, this is a solid holiday watch. If you are more like me and cheesy 80s movies don’t always work for you, watch something else this Christmas.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (RKO Radio Pictures)

“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Okay, hear me out: “It’s a Wonderful Life” is barely a Christmas movie. That is why it’s on this list. This movie is often considered the greatest Christmas film of all time, but people fail to realize that Christmas is a very small part of this film. Regardless, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a timeless classic full of incredible characters and a powerful, emotional story. Yes, it’s old. Yes, it’s in black-and-white. But everyone should watch this movie. It is the definitive holiday classic, but it’s also a deeply personal and powerful character study that will make you feel happy and hopeful about life. While “It’s a Wonderful Life” does not involve Christmas much in its story, the reason it is considered an essential Christmas movie is because of the feeling it conveys to its audience. It has this warm, hopeful, happy feeling that is so associated with the holiday season. Whoever considers this the greatest Christmas movie of all time is correct. It is a must-watch for everyone.

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About the Contributor
Aiden Aronoff
Aiden Aronoff, Copy Editor
Hey everyone! My name is Aiden. I’m so excited to be your copy editor this upcoming year! I am a senior and this is my third year on the staff of the Spectator. I’m a huge movie nerd and Detroit sports fan! I have my own movie blog, Sweet n' Sour Movie Blog, where I do movie reviews. I love hanging out with friends, watching movies (obviously!), being active, and reading/writing. Can’t wait for this year!

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