Christmas Movies


Great Christmas Movies

Modern-Day (2)

Great Christmas Movies
(chronological by film title)
Intro | Classics (1) | Classics (2) | Modern-Day (1) | Modern-Day (2)

Great Christmas Movies: Modern-Day (2)
(in chronological order)
Title Screen
Film Title/Year/Director, Setting and Brief Description

Jack Frost (1998)

A father named Jack Frost has a second chance at doing something he failed at the first time around - being a parent. He comes home for Christmas one year after his death, reincarnated as a Snowman on his son's front lawn.

A small (fictional) Colorado Rocky Mountain town, Medford

Director Troy Miller's cliched, over-sentimental, contrived 'heart-warming' family film was a 'live-action' version of the classic holiday, half-hour long animated film Frosty the Snowman (1969), narrated by Jimmy Durante.

[Note: This film was not to be confused with the horror film Jack Frost (1997), about a serial killer named Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) who became a mutant killer snowman.]

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

Jack Frost (1997)

This holiday film's tagline described how a deceased father became a 'cool dad' as a snowman:

"Jack Frost is getting a second chance to be the world's coolest dad... if he doesn't melt first."

The title character, the snowman, was created via animatronic puppetry (Jim Henson's Creature Shop) and sophisticated computer graphics (from ILM). Due to its sappy, cliched and sentimental story line and fantasy elements, the manipulative and cloyingly-sweet film was a box-office flop.

Struggling, chronically late, and self-absorbed, middle-aged rock musician Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) lived with his wife Gabby Frost (Kelly Preston) and ignored 12 year-old son Charlie (Joseph Cross) (called "Charlie Boy" by his father) in the Colorado mountains. Frost had already proven that he couldn't keep family promises and parental/spousal obligations. Jack gave his son a golden harmonica (bought on the day Charlie was born) and promised:

"You play that, no matter where I am, I can hear it."

At Christmas time, he cancelled his attendance at the planned family mountain cabin outing to play at a record label executive's party on Christmas Day in Denver with his band - the Jack Frost Band. But then, he changed his mind and began the drive home in a borrowed car, and died in a car accident on his return (off-screen).

A year later, a still-grieving Charlie built a snowman in his front yard, using Jack's battered old hat and scarf. That night, when the boy started to play the "magical" harmonica his father had given him on the previous Christmas (the night before he died), the snowman out on the lawn was taken over by Jack's spirit.

The reincarnated Jack experienced one final chance to make things right - father-son bonding (Jack told Charlie: "Thanks for giving me a second chance to be your Dad") - before being threatened by melting from a warm front and returning to the afterlife as a spirit.

Before departing for the last time, Jack promised his son:

"I will always be there, I promise. As long as you hold someone in your heart, Charlie, you can never lose them, ever. You let me back into your heart, and that took real courage, and you did it. And if you can do that, you can do anything. I'm so proud of you, Charlie. If you ever need me, I'll be right here. You just call me."

Jack Frost (Michael Keaton)

Charlie Frost (Joseph Cross)

Gabby Frost (Kelly Preston)

"Jack Frost" With Son

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) (aka Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas)

Makeup, prosthetics and LOTS of green fur, Jim Carrey delivers as the conniving Christmas-ruining Grinch. The green Grinch vamps around stealing Christmas, and it's as bad for the residents of Whoville as it for us who are watching at home.

The City of Whoville

Director Ron Howard created this aggressively-presented, over-produced, big budget, live-action adaptation of the classic 1957 children's book by Dr. Seuss (aka Theodore Geisel) about a selfish green creature intent on stealing Christmas from Whoville.

[Note: The first version of Dr. Seuss' popular book tale was How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), a 26 minute animated TV special, directed by legendary animator Chuck Jones. Boris Karloff starred as the narrator and as the voice of the Grinch.]

Dr. Seuss' Book (1957)

(Dr. Seuss') How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

Although the blockbuster wasn't altogether received positively, it was a major box-office hit, and became the second highest-grossing (domestic) Christmas holiday film of all time at $260 million, just behind Home Alone (1990) at $285.8 million..

The main role of the detestable and cruel green Grinch with sadistic yellow eyes was played by maniacal physical comic Jim Carrey, covered with layers of prosthetics, makeup and synthetic green fur. He was miserly, grotesque, and generally distasteful of Christmas due to a back-story that was revealed early on.

After he was adopted and raised by two elderly sisters in the peaceful valley of Whoville, the young Grinch (Josh Ryan Evans) at age 8 was ridiculed, shamed and bullied by his school classmates for his strange appearance, especially by the town's arrogant future mayor Augustus Maywho (Jeffrey Tambor as adult, Ben Bookbinder as 8 year old) - and this childhood trauma was the explanation for his current demeanor.

All alone, the Grinch exiled himself to Mount Crumpit (the town's garbage dump) to live in a cave, although he retained a crush and unrequited love for slinky, uppity, Martha Stewart-like Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski as adult, Landry Allbright as 8 year old) who had shown him some compassion and care.

Presently, in the town inhabited by rodent-like creatures (with buck teeth, snouty faces, wacky hairdos and strange costumes), charitable-minded, big-eyed, button-cute 8 year-old Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) took an interest in the Grinch, a former town resident. She was also one of the few to fear that the true meaning of Christmas had been lost: "Where are you, Christmas?"

The demonic Grinch was coaxed down from his mountain hideaway when Cindy Lou nominated him for a special Yuletide honor as Cheer Meister during the town's Who-bilation. After a difficult and humiliating visit to town when he was mocked a second time (and the Mayor proposed to Martha May Whovier in public with the gift of a car), the Grinch decided to sabotage and destroy Christmas and the Whos' spirit forever. He turned the scene into chaos, and burned down the town's Christmas tree.

The Grinch's next plan was to dress as Santa and with a sleigh (pulled by "reindeer" dog Max), to invade the Whos' homes on Christmas Eve while everyone was sleeping to burglarize their presents, decorations, and trees. During his rampage as Santa, in the living room of Cindy Lou's house, he was touched when she appeared and reminded him to not forget to visit the Grinch: "Don't forget the Grinch. I know he's mean and hairy and smelly. His hands might be cold and clammy, but I think he's actually kinda sweet."

On Christmas morning, Mayor Augustus May Who blamed little Cindy Lou for ruining Christmas by trying to extend kindnesses to the Grinch. Although troubled by the thefts, the townsfolk came to the realization that they still had the Christmas spirit, and that Christmas wasn't just about materialistic goods.

As they joyfully sang together in the town square, the Grinch heard their singing from his mountain top. At first, the curmudgeon was frustrated that his plan had failed (Narrator: "He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming!"). He was about to dispose of their gifts wrapped in a large red sack on the sleigh, positioned on a windy and snowy mountain peak. He thought and puzzled to himself:

"It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags....Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas means a little bit more."

His heart painfully and literally grew three sizes when he realized that Christmas still went on in Whoville even after he had stolen all of their presents. He sobbed and sobbed, and then was pleasantly surprised to see Cindy on top of the gigantic sack of confiscated possessions. She gave him heartwarming love and respect:

"I came to see you. No one should be alone on Christmas."

But then the sleigh was positioned to slip off the mountain top and crash to the ground.

With all of his strength, he struggled to save the sleigh (and Cindy on top) from disaster ("I got you, Cindy Lou") by holding the sleigh high above his head. He returned with her to the village to return the stolen goods, where he apologized (or repented), and was forgiven.

Mayor Augustus Maywho (Jeffrey Tambor)

Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski)

He was redeemed, decided to marry his lifelong love interest - Martha May Whovier (after she rejected the Mayor's marriage proposal and returned his ring: "Sorry but my heart belongs to someone else"), and start a new life.

Cindy led the joyful singing of all the Whos (and also the Grinch) in "Welcome Christmas":

Fahoo fores, Dahoo dores
Welcome, Christmas, come this way
Fahoo fores, Dahoo dores
Welcome, Christmas, Christmas Day
Welcome, welcome, Fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome, Dahoo damus
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp

Fah who ray-moo ya-who hee haw
Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer
Fahoo fores, Dahoo dores
Welcome all Whos far and near

The Narrator concluded the film: "So he brought back the toys and the food for the feast. And he, he himself, the Grinch, carved the roast beast." The town celebrated with a community meal.

Jim Carrey as The Grinch

Baby Grinch

8 Year Old Grinch
(Josh Ryan Evans)

Martha May Whovier (Landry Allbright)

Augustus Maywho
(Ben Bookbinder)

Cindy Lou Who
(Taylor Momsen)

Setting the Town's Christmas Tree on Fire

"You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

Cindy: "Don't forget the Grinch"

The Grinch's Sleigh With Burglarized Gifts

The Grinch Carving The Roast with Martha May

Bad Santa (2003)

Adults only! With excessive profanity, sexual innuendo and promiscuity, this movie, one of the most depressing Christmas movies of the holiday season, is the polar opposite of your usual holiday flick. Starring Billy Bob Thornton as ne'er do well mall Santa Willie Stokes.

First in Miami, Florida, then Phoenix, Arizona

The irreverent, tasteless R-rated black comedy, suitable only for adult audiences, had the tagline:

"He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice."

This was an unusual pick for a holiday film, with repulsive foul-mouthed vulgarity, alcohol abuse, promiscuity and armed burglary.

[Note: A similar sequel followed, Bad Santa 2 (2016).]

The film opened with bitter, hedonistic, obscenity-spewing, unshaven scumbag Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) slumped on a barstool. He was wearing a red Santa outfit, while finishing off a whiskey and smoking a cigarette - and noting:

"Hey, can I get another drink down here? I've been to prison once, I've been married twice. I was once drafted by Lyndon Johnson and had to live in s--t-ass Mexico for 2 1/2 years for no reason. I've had my eye socket punched in, a kidney taken out, and I got a bone-chip in my ankle that's never gonna heal. I've seen some pretty s--tty situations in my life, but nothing has ever sucked more ass than this! If I'd known I was gonna have to put up with screaming brats pissing on my lap for days out of the year, I would have killed myself a long time ago. Come to think of it, I still might."

The con-man was joined by ill-tempered, 3 foot tall, 92 pound midget-dwarf ("little people") Marcus (Tony Cox), as they went on regular annual road-trips each holiday Christmas season (they had been successful for seven years) dressed as Santa and Santa's Little Helper, to execute one big scam (that would last until the next year). Their ulterior motive, other than spreading good (and profane) cheer as a shopping mall Santa Claus and Elf in their costumes, was to learn how to circumvent mall security systems in order to rob the stores on Christmas Eve. Marcus would hide in the mall and disable the alarm system, while Willie would crack the safe.

The two were hired as a mall Santa and helper elf, by the Phoenix Arizona Saguaro Square mall's prissy, anxious general manager Mr. Chipeska (John Ritter in his final film role) who soon became suspicious of Willie after meeting him. He heard Willie take offense about what he thought was derogatory talk about his "f--k stick" (penis). Chipeska assigned his scheming Security Chief Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac) to investigate Willie's background.

Part of the job entailed having child-hating Willie entertain young "s--t's" on his lap all day long, wishing he could rush through them: "Make it quick, Santa's gotta pee." And he was forever avoiding the brats brought to him by their mothers: "I'm on my f--king lunch break, OK!" He also took time out to 'fornicate' with a heavy-set woman in the Big & Tall dressing room. When Chipeska found out about the sex allegation, he became really uneasy: "There's something about the guy that makes me uneasy." He questioned Willie in his office: "...Did one of you, uhm, fornicate...with a heavy-set woman in the Big-and-Tall dressing room?" Chipeska was about to fire Willie, when Willie retaliated - he threatened to publicize the firing of "a little black midget. A colored, African-American small person. That's what I'm talkin' about. I'm talkin' about your face all over goddamn USA Today is what I'm talkin' about" - and the meek Chipeska immediately backed down ("I think it's best if we just forget we had this conversation").

'Santa' eventually befriended a precocious, bullied, overweight eight year-old pre-teen that was one of his lap-visitors. He nicknamed the unpopular, bedeviled boy the Kid/Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly). Without parents (his mother was dead, and his father was in prison for embezzlement), The Kid lived with his senile, catatonic grandmother (Cloris Leachman) At first, Santa was contemptuous of the Kid, and took advantage of the annoying boy. He invited himself to stay in the Kid's basically empty lavish home, and then robbed the safe of money and stole a BMW.

In one of the more outrageous scenes from his Santa chair, Willie delivered a maddened tirade at the Kid, giving him fatherly advice when he acted wimpy toward skateboard kids who teased and pulled on his underwear. When the Kid asked for a Christmas gift ("I want a gorilla named Davey for beating up the skateboard kids who pull on my underwear. And he could take his orders from the talking walnut, so it wouldn't be my bad thing"), he was told to defend himself:

"Jesus, kid. When I was your age, I didn't need no f--kin' gorilla. And I wasn't as big as one of your legs. Four kids beat me up one time and I went cryin' home to my daddy. You know what he did?....He kicked my ass. You know why?...It's because he was a mean, drunk, son of a bitch. And when he wasn't busy bustin' my ass, he was puttin' cigarettes out on my neck. The world ain't fair. You've gotta take what you need when you can get it. You've gotta learn to stand up for yourself. You gonna have to quit bein' a pussy and kick these kids in the balls or somethin'...Or don't. S--t. I don't care. Just leave me the hell out of it."

Willie beat up a group of teenagers who picked on the Kid and blackened his eye. He declared: "I beat the s--t out of some kids today. But it was for a purpose. It made me feel good about myself."

'Santa' began a relationship with sexy, kinky, nympho bartender Sue (Lauren Graham), and at first tried to admit his humanity: "I'm an eating, drinking, sh-tting, f--king Santy Claus." She replied: "Prove it" - and they immediately had sex in the front seat of a car parked outside the mall - to the tune of the William Tell Overture, as she screamed out numerous times: "F--k me, Santa." Afterwards, she admitted she had a "forbidden thing" for Santa:

"I've always had a thing for, uhm, Santa Claus, in case you didn't notice. It's like some deep-seated childhood thing...I like you. Don't mothball that suit."

The Kid regularly referred to her as "Mrs. Santa's Sister." Becoming completely enamoured by 'Santa,' the Kid interrupted one of their frequent bouts of sex to give Santa a Christmas gift - a wooden pickle - which he had carved (causing the Kid to severely cut up his hand).

For most of the film, Willie was partially drunk, and half-dressed in a partial 'Santa' outfit, sometimes with a ragged T-shirt or bare-chested showing off his tattoos. Marcus was increasingly impatient and upset with Willie's debauched and extreme behavior, and chastised him. At first, he said:

"You're an emotional f--king cripple. Your soul is dog s--t. Every single f--king thing about you is ugly."

Later in the subplot, Gin decided he wanted to be in on their con game, and insisted on one-half of the money ("We split the dough right down the middle"). To eliminate security chief Gin as a partner and continuing problems with Willie, Marcus (Santa's Little Helper) and his wife/partner-in-crime Lois (Lauren Tom) murdered Gin ("the store dick") with their van.

Then, during their climactic mall robbery, Marcus (and Lois) double-crossed Willie and held a gun on him. Marcus accused Willie of the three B's: "Every year, you're worse. Every year, less reliable. More booze, more bulls--t, more butt-f--kin'." As Willie asked: "Do you really need all that s--t? For Christ's sakes, it's Christmas!", the police arrived, and Willie was shot eight times during flight - but he survived (all of the bullets avoided vital organs except his liver - which was already damaged). He avoided jail time because of a letter he had written to the Kid:

"Thank you for giving that letter to the cops. I forgot I asked you to do it, but it's a good thing you did, or 'Santa's Little Helper' would have plugged his ass. And now the cops know I wrote it, which is gonna keep my ass out of jail. That, plus everyone agreeing that the Phoenix police department shooting an unarmed Santa was even more f--ked up than Rodney King."

The film ended with the arrest of Marcus and Lois, and Sue was given temporary guardianship of the Kid until his father was released from jail in one year and three months. After healing, Willie was to be employed by the police department as a sensitivity counselor. In a strange way, the Kid had taught Willie the true meaning of Christmas, and the young boy also learned how to stand up for himself (Willie had written (in voice-over) to him in a letter from the hospital):

"Don't take no s--t from nobody, least of all yourself. Ho, ho, ho."

In the film's last scene, when the Kid was again taunted by a skateboarder outside his home, who called him a "loser" and a "fat-ass," the Kid kicked the bully in the crotch, and then rode off on his bike.

Willie T. Stokes
(Billy Bob Thornton) with Dwarf Marcus (Tony Cox)

Mr. Chipeska (John Ritter)

Security Chief Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac)

Santa Scratching His Behind (Marcus: "I don't think you should be digging in your ass")

Willie as Santa with The Kid/Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly)

Willie as a Drunken, Really "Bad Santa"

Sue (Lauren Graham)

Willie with Wooden Pickle Present

Marcus With Gun

Lois (Lauren Tom)

Willie Accused of The 3 B's (Booze, Bulls--t, Butt-F--kin')

Film's Ending: The Kid's Retaliation Against a Bullying Skateboarder

Elf (2003)

Both charming and foolish, the loveably naive Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a prime example of a 'fish out of water' as he navigates the North Pole and then Manhattan as a tall 6'3" Elf.

At the North Pole, and in New York City

One of the more hilarious, likeable and light-hearted Christmas movies of all time - it was a fish-out-of-water tale about a naive, good-hearted Elf trying to reunite with his biological family. A baby from an orphanage stowed away in Santa's (Ed Asner) sack during Christmas Eve delivery, crawled out and found himself at the North Pole. He was raised by Papa Elf (Bob Newhart), and named Buddy after the brand name of his diapers.

Thirty years into the future, the baby grew to be 6 foot, 3 inch Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell), a misfit towering over the others. He realized that he was different from everyone else (he was not adept at toy-making or toy-testing for "the show" or "the big dance"), but was unaware of his origins until he overheard two other elves, Foom Foom (Kristian Ayre) and Ming Ming (Peter Billingsley) complaining that he still hadn't figured out that he was "human":

Foom Foom: Well, if he hasn't figured out he's a human by now, I don't think he ever will.

Disoriented, he sought advice from his knowledgeable neighbor Leon the Snowman, and from Santa about traveling to civilization:

"First off, you see gum on the street, leave it there. It isn't free candy...Second, there are, like, 30 Ray's Pizzas. They all claim to be the original. But the real one's on 11th. And if you see a sign that says 'Peep Show,' that doesn't mean that they're letting you look at the new toys before Christmas."

He also learned that his real father was mean: ("Buddy, you should know that your father... he's on the naughty list"). Hoping to find his true identity and his widower birth father and mother (Walter Hobbs and Susan Wells), he bravely took a trip to the human world in New York, where his naivete was both charming and idiotic, as he cruised the busy streets and buildings of Manhattan:

  • entered a coffee shop in NYC: ("You did it! Congratulations! World's best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody! It's great to be here")
  • waved at a man hailing a taxi
  • laughed hysterically as his shoes were shined
  • graciously accepted ad flyers from sidewalk vendors
  • played hopskotch on pedestrian walk lines
  • ate parked bubblegum on a subway railing
  • spun out of control in a revolving door
  • punched all the lighted buttons in the Empire State Building elevator ("looks like a Christmas tree")

He found his birth father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a workaholic at a children's book publishing company, in the Greenway Press offices at the top of the Empire State Building, where Walter sarcastically thought Buddy the Elf was a costumed Christmas-gram. After singing a disastrous song about meeting his Daddy, Elf was escorted to the outside by security guards, who noted:

"You're gonna go back to Santa Land....Yeah, why don't ya go back to Gimbels?"

After Buddy was almost run-over by a taxi while jay-walking, he entered a Gimbels store, and accidentally sprayed Passion Fruit perfume into his mouth, and then spread his legs riding an up escalator. Store manager (Faizon Love) assumed that he worked there, and announced Santa's arrival the next morning at 10 am. Buddy jumped for joy in anticipation:


Buddy spent overnight in the department redecorating, cutting snowflakes, setting up train sets, building a LEGO model of the Empire State Building, and ornamenting trees. At Gimbels, Buddy also met (and fell in love with) costumed co-worker elf Jovie (blonde Zooey Deschanel), a jaded, yet quirky store employee who stacked merchandise.

The next morning, Buddy was dismayed by the imposter-fake Santa (Artie Lange) that showed up, and accused him of being unreal: "You sit on a throne of lies!" and "You smell like beef and cheese, you don't smell like Santa." They had a riotous altercation (in front of a line of gasping and screaming children and mothers) after Elf pulled off Santa's beard, and he was arrested and landed in jail.

Elf was bailed out by his father, and taken to the family's pediatrician Dr. Leonardo (Jon Favreau, the film's director) for DNA testing to prove his identity. In the doctor's office, he screamed when his finger was pricked for a blood test ("My finger has a heart beat").

He was eventually introduced to his extended family - patient and kindly stepmother Emily (Mary Steenburgen) and lonely, 12 year-old half-brother Michael (Daniel Tay).

Earnest Buddy's adventures and escapades also included the following:

  • Buddy's "perfect gift for that special someone" to his Dad - a piece of white lacy lingerie with a red bra
  • Buddy's belching for twelve seconds after gulping down an entire 2-liter bottle of Coca-Cola (he asked Michael seated next to him: "Did you hear that?")
  • Buddy's attack by a grumpy and menacing raccoon in Central Park, after asking the animal ("Does someone need a hug?...I just wanted a hug")
  • Buddy's expert snowball fighting skills in the park to defend himself and Michael against a wintry attack
  • on Christmas Eve, Buddy's instigation of a fight in the Greenway Press office with short, best-selling childrens' book writer Miles Finch (Peter Dinklage) by asking: ("I didn't know you had elves working here...Does Santa know that you left the workshop?...Did you have to borrow a reindeer to get down here?"), and by accepting a dare to call him an elf one last time: "He's an angry elf!"

In the film's conclusion, when Santa's jet turbine-powered sleigh crashed in Central Park, Buddy reminded cynics of the real meaning of Christmas. Jovie assisted by leading people in singing the Christmas carol: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Eventually, with everyone singing (even Walter!), enough Christmas spirit (recorded on the Spirit Clausometer) was raised to partially power the sleigh to again fly on its journey.

The last few moments of the epilogue summarized what happened next - updated by Papa Elf:

  • Walter was rehabilitated and founded his own successful independent publishing company - his first book was Buddy's story (Elf: A Short Story of a Tall Tale)
  • Buddy and Jovie married and visited Papa Elf at the North Pole with their "little one" Suzie

Baby Elf - Buddy

Santa (Ed Asner)

Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell)

"Well, if he hasn't figured out he's a human by now, I don't think he ever will"

Elf In NYC

Elf's Father - Walter Hobbs (James Caan)

In Gimbels

Fake Santa (Artie Lange)

Jovie (Zooey Deschanel)

Emily (Mary Steenburgen)

Michael (Daniel Tay)

Miles Finch (Peter Dinklage)

Love Actually (2003, UK)

A British Christmas-themed romantic comedy and anthology about love between various couples (at all ages and social levels), that endures in ten intertwined stories, in the 4 weeks before Christmas.

At Christmas time, primarily in London

Writer/director Richard Curtis' feel-good ensemble film (his first directorial effort) was dubbed "the ultimate romantic comedy" - with its tale of numerous romantic relationships among its many interlinked characters during one Christmas season in London.

The opening prologue set a hopeful and loving tone for the remainder of the film. The British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant), in a voice-over credits prologue, spoke about how "love is everywhere," with views of the arrivals terminal at London's Heathrow Airport where people were greeting each other, hugging and kissing:

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.

In the first story, aging rock and roll singer Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), after recording a # 1 Christmas single (The Troggs' classic hit "Love Is All Around") and leaving a Sir Elton John celebration, he brought a bottle of champagne to the home of his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher). Mack begrudgingly and sheepishly admitted that he had an epiphany about his love for his long-time chubby partner:

I realized that Christmas is the time to be with the people you love...And I realized that as dire chance and-and fateful cock-up would have it, here I am mid-fifties and without knowing it, I've gone and spent most of my adult life with a chubby employee. And much as it grieves me to say it, it-it might be that the people I love is, in fact, you....It's a terrible, terrible mistake, Chubbs, but you turn out to be the f--kin' love of my life.

After a hug, Mack suggested they get drunk and watch pornography together ("Come on. Let's get pissed and watch porn").

The second story of the ten stories involved the marriage of Juliet (Keira Knightley) to husband Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor), with Mark (Andrew Lincoln) serving as their best man and videographer. However, Mark remained love-struck and heart-sick at Juliet's tying of the knot.

2nd Story: Christmas Placards
Mark (Andrew Lincoln) for Juliet (Keira Knightley)

In the film's most-remembered scene set on Christmas Eve, Mark showed loving, written placards (cue-cards) at her door expressing his love to her, to the sound of a boom box softly playing the Christmas carol "Silent Night." The cards said that on Christmas, one must tell the truth. And to him, she was perfect, and his "wasted heart" would love her until she was old and gone. When he began walking off, she ran into the street and kissed him out of compassion and affection. As he continued on, he muttered to himself that he had to get on with his life: "Enough, enough now."

In the third story, writer Jamie (Colin Firth) discovered he was being two-timed by his girlfriend (Sienna Guillory). He withdrew to France for a short while and became acquainted with his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz) who didn't speak English. After eventually realizing they were suited to each other and on each other's wavelength, he took Portuguese lessons, returned to Marseilles at Christmas, and contacted her family. They took him to a restaurant, where she was working as a waitress.

3rd Story: The Proposal in a Restaurant
Jamie (Colin Firth) to Aurelia (Lucia Moniz)

In broken Portuguese (translated in subtitles), he declared his love and proposed:

"Beautiful Aurelia, I've come here with a view to asking you to marriage me. I know I seems an insane person - because I hardly knows you - but sometimes things are so transparency, they don't need evidential proof. And I will inhabit here, or you can inhabit with me in England....Of course, I don't expecting you to be as foolish as me, and of course I prediction you say 'no' but it's Christmas and I just wanted to check..."

She accepted in a heartwarming way, in her own broken English, in front of an appreciative clapping audience:

"Thank you. That will be nice. 'Yes' is being my answer. Easy question...Yes, of course."

In the fourth story, the most heartbreaking story of all set on Christmas morning, Karen (Emma Thompson) received a Joni Mitchell CD for Christmas from her straying husband Harry (Alan Rickman), instead of the expensive necklace she discovered in his pocket -- and realized tearfully as she listened to Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" that he was having an affair with his new seductive secretary Mia (Heike Makatsch). After weeping silently, she forced herself to put on a happy face when she returned from her bedroom to rejoin her family in the living room.

In the fifth story, the newly-elected British Prime Minister, David (who was Karen's brother), was competing with the US President (Billy Bob Thornton) over the affections of shapely staff secretary Natalie (former UK soap star Martine McCutcheon). On Christmas Eve after receiving a card from Natalie stating her love ("I'm actually yours. With love, your Natalie"), David located her at a school Christmas nativity play with her family. Watching the show backstage with her - during the singing of "All I Want For Christmas" - the two were discovered kissing when the curtain rose. He urged her to smile, bow, and wave back.

The sixth story concluded with a sweet reunion scene at the airport between recent widower Daniel's (Liam Neeson) young, lonely step-son Sam (Thomas Sangster) and his young American classmate Joanna (Olivia Olson). As she was departing into the plane's jetbridge, he burst through airport security and came up to her. After he was taken back to a secure area, she approached behind him and kissed him on the cheek.

In the eighth story, Britisher Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall) realized he was getting nowhere with British girls ("I am Colin, God of Sex. I'm just on the wrong continent, that's all"). He traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to find love, where in a bar, he met three pretty American girls instantly attracted to him: brunette Stacey (Ivana Miličević), blonde Jeannie (January Jones), and Carol-Anne (Elisha Cuthbert). Almost immediately, they invited the obliging Brit to their place to share their bed with him (Jeannie: "This may be a bit pushy 'cause we just met you, but why don't you come back and sleep at our place?...We're not the richest of girls, you know, so we just have a little bed and no couch. So you would have to share with all three of us"). Carol-Anne and the others made the offer even more enticing: (Carol-Anne: "And on this cold, cold night, it's gonna be crowded and sweaty and stuff" - Stacey: "And we can't even afford pajamas" - Jeannie: "which means we would be naked"). Carol-Anne reminded the others: "Oh, the thing that's gonna make it more crowded - Harriet. You haven't met Harriet." Stacey assured Colin: "Don't worry. You're totally gonna like her... 'cause she is the sexy one." In their bedroom (silhouettes seen through the window), there were four figures, and sexy roommate Harriet (Shannon Elizabeth) was soon to join them.

The ninth story was about two body-doubles or stand-in performers, John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) who were completely comfortable with each other while naked during simulated sex scenes, but otherwise tentative and awkward with each other. At the doorstep, after sharing a kiss, Judy told him: "All I want for Christmas is you."

In the closing epilogue - a montage scene of arrivals of all the major characters at London's Heathrow Airport, the split-screen ending featured numerous kisses and greetings, and eventually evolved into the shape of a heart, to the tune of the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows."

Prologue at London's Heathrow Airport

First Story (above)
Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) with Joe (Gregor Fisher)

Fourth Story - Karen (Emma Thompson)

Fifth Story - Natalie (Martine McCutcheon)

5th Story (above) - Natalie with David Discovered Kissing Backstage

Sixth Story - Sam (Thomas Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson)

Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall)

(l to r): Jeannie (January Jones) and Stacey (Ivana Miličević)

8th Story (above)

9th Story (above): John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page)


Tokyo Godfathers (2003, Jp.) (aka Tokyo Goddofazazu)

Three homeless people find an abandoned baby girl in a dumpster, and try to find its parents.

In Shinjuku, Tokyo, modern-day, on Christmas Eve

Japanese anime writer/director Satoshi Kon's third feature film was this holiday-themed, melodramatic film. There were some parallels and similarities between this anime and John Ford’s western classic 3 Godfathers (1948) its premise resembled Three Men and a Baby (1987). The tagline was:

"Meet the ultimate dysfunctional family"

The family drama told about the discovery of an abandoned infant girl in a trash container on Christmas Eve, by three homeless, disenfranchised individuals who were functioning as a family unit:

  • Gin (voice of Toru Emori), a middle-aged alcoholic bum, an ex-bicycle racer and gambler who claimed he tragically became widowed when he lost his wife and daughter (named Kiyoko) years earlier
  • Miyuki (voice of Aya Okamoto), an angry, teenaged runaway who left home after an altercation with her police officer father over her pet cat 'Angel'
  • Hana (voice of Yoshiaki Umegaki), an aging ex-drag queen/transvestite, mother-obsessed and hot-tempered

Hana had just prayed for the miracle of her own baby after attending a Christmas Pageant in the film's opening, and then her wish came true: "This is a Christmas present from God! She's our baby!" Hana was overjoyed:

"Dreams do come true. I always dreamed of being the mother of a little girl. A nice, warm house, a pretty daughter. Even if my husband was no good, I would accept dire poverty as long as I had my child."

At first, Hana argued that the "Christmas miracle" baby should be raised by them, but then they decided to search for the parents and return the baby (named Kiyoko), in the midst of many adventures - with lots of chase and rescue sequences.

With clues, they were able to learn that the baby's mother was named Sachiko (voice of Kyoko Terase).

During their quest and journey, the group came across a crime lord's mob wedding, a gangland assassination attempt, a drag bar, a child kidnapper, and a vicious, bigoted teenage gang. All of the triumvirate characters identified with the child - and in the process became more cognizant of their own estranged pasts.

Infant Girl in Trash Discovered

Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

Chaos ensues after the Kranks' decision to skip Christmas is thwarted when their daughter announces she's coming home for the holidays with a fiancee.

At Christmas time, in a Chicago suburb

Director Joe Roth's somewhat unfunny comedy was adapted by Chris Columbus from John Grisham’s 2001 novel Skipping Christmas.

[Note: There was a similarly-titled romantic comedy Surviving Christmas (2004), released the same holiday season, that starred Ben Affleck as a wealthy Chicago ad executive who decided to buy happiness and relive his happy childhood memories of Christmas traditions, although he had always eschewed Yuletide celebrations.]

It was a box-office success, although it was soundly vilified for its strong Orwellian message of mean-spirited conformity during the Christmas holidays. Its tagline was:

"Their Christmas will turn the town upside down!"

One of the film's redeeming features was the number of holiday standards on the soundtrack - just a sampling below:

  • Jingle Bell Rock (Brenda Lee)
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Eddie Dunstedter)
  • White Christmas (Dean Martin)
  • Frosty the Snowman (Steve Van Zandt)
  • Blue Christmas (Elvis Presley)
  • The Christmas Song (Ella Fitzgerald)

The title's family - middle-aged Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) were a suburban Chicago couple (in the town of Riverside) who had just celebrated Thanksgiving, and had said goodbye to their daughter Blair (Julie Gonzalo) who was beginning to serve a Peace Corps term in Peru. The Kranks decided to forego traditional lavish spending for the holidays (for lights, presents, parties, X-mas trees, and lavish decorations) ("We skip Christmas! We'll go bask in the Caribbean sun") and use the money for a Caribbean cruise vacation.

Immediately, the Kranks were considered Scrooge-like and out-of-synch by their pressuring middle-American neighbors and co-workers, especially their obnoxious neighbor Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) ("Christmas has always been a neighborhood thing around here"). Many were distressed that they wouldn't be partaking of the normal spending or trappings of the holiday season, such as FROSTY FEST (i.e., decorating their home for the annual neighborhood's 'Best Decorated' contest).

Nora called her husband at work - distressed that the neighbors ("Vic Frohmeyer, Wes Trogdon, Ned Becker, and a gang of their kids") were assaulting their home, and demanding their 7 foot-tall Snowman: "We're Here For Frosty!...You and Luther do not have to do anything! Just leave Frosty on the front porch. We'll put him up for you." As Nora tried to escape in her car, Vic caught up to her and grabbed her car window as he kept demanding: "We just want Frosty." Meanwhile, Luther pressured Nora to join him at the mall's Tans Forever tanning salon, where they had an embarrassing encounter with puritanical Father Zabriskie (Tom Poston). Luther also had an extreme Botox treatment to prepare for their holiday vacation that would commence in just a few days.

The newspapers, in a front-page article titled "Skipping Christmas," described the Kranks' reluctance to participate in the season:

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Krank is rather dark this Christmas. While the rest of their neighbors on Hemlock Street are decorating and busily preparing for Santa, the Kranks are skipping Christmas. They're preparing for a cruise, according to unnamed sources. No tree, no lights, and no Frosty up on the roof and the only house on Hemlock to keep Frosty hidden in the basement....Hemlock, a frequent winner in The Gazette Street Decoration Contest finished a disappointing sixth this year. 'l hope they're satisfied now,' complained one unidentified neighbor. 'A rotten display of selfishness,' said another.

And when solicitors came to their door for contributions, they wouldn't give:

"It's that time of year again. Your Police Benevolent Association's out there raising money for the community...You know, Toys for Tots, and we deliver gift baskets for the underprivileged. And ice skating for the handicapped kids. And every year, we deliver presents for the elderly at the nursing homes, and, of course, our war veterans. And our big moneymaker is our calendar and you buy one every year, so here we are."

The Kranks were accused of skipping Christmas to save money for their cruise. They were not in the giving Christmas spirit or showing obvious Christmas cheer, so they hid (as if under assault) when "trespassing," uninvited Christmas carolers from the Lutheran Church arrived at their doorstep. To prevent further intrusions at the Kranks' front door, Luther sprayed his front lawn with water, which froze over like an ice rink and deterred the postman.

The twist came when on Christmas Eve morning, Blair called from the Miami airport, announcing that she was on her way home with her new fiancee from Peru - Enrique 'N-Reeky' Decardenal (René Lavan) ("I'm coming home for Christmas...I'm with Enriqué!"). With only twelve hours until her arrival, the Kranks instantly changed their trip plans and chaotically began to decorate their home with the traditional trimmings, and prepare for their party and homecoming, including installing Frosty on the roof. Nora promised: "We are going to perform a little Christmas miracle. If we pull it off, Blairy is never gonna know about your stupid, ridiculous, childish scheme of skipping Christmas."

The Kranks began to prepare the food for their annual Christmas Eve party (a long segment was devoted to the last-minute, competitive acquisition at the Ranch Market of Blair's favorite - a Hickory Honey Ham, and its squashing by a trailer truck). When the young couple arrived just before the party, the house was blazing with lights, a giant Frosty figure was on the roof, and inside, a dinner was prepared (and cookies had been baked).

In the end after all the frantic chaos, Luther (in the film's final lines) was forced to reluctantly acknowledge to Nora that they shouldn't have skipped Christmas, and should have achieved yuletide happiness in the usual way: (Luther: "Skipping Christmas - what a stupid idea"). Nora replied: "Maybe next year." As the camera slowly tracked backward to view their beautifully-decorated home, a magical Santa sleigh sped by, as Santa proclaimed: "Merry Christmas."

The Krank Family

Caribbean Carnival Cruise - An Alternative to Christmas

Pushy Neighbor Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd)

"We're Here For Frosty"

Blair's Phone Call

The Kranks Hurriedly Get Ready For Christmas

The Hickory Honey Ham

Luther Falling Off the Roof with Frosty

A Traditional Christmas

The Polar Express (2004)

Praised for its milestone special effects, The Polar Express showcases an action packed, magical journey to The North Pole.

At Christmas time, set in the 1950s in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Robert Zemeckis' ground-breaking, blockbuster adaptation of the beloved 1985 illustrated children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, was a journey of self-discovery with a strong endorsement (or sales-pitch) for the belief in the existence of Christmas. The fantasy holiday film was enhanced with memorable performance-capture technology.

It was praised for its milestone special effects, but also criticized for some of its lifeless-looking, unreal humans and animations. However, it was still notable in its claim to be the first major feature-length film to use the process of Motion Capture Animation.

Late on Christmas Eve, a doubting and skeptical 8 year-old unnamed 'Hero Boy' (voice of Daryl Sabara) was introduced (in voice-over), as he lay in bed contemplating that there was no Santa Claus. He was wishing to hear the beautiful sound of reindeer bells from Santa's sleigh:

"On Christmas Eve many years ago, I laid quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound, a sound I was afraid I'd never hear - the sound of Santa's sleigh bells."

He was hoping to believe in everything related to the Christmas holidays, but at a turning point in his life, he was becoming agnostic and doubting with shaky beliefs about the true existence of Saint Nick. He heard noises downstairs, and saw a shadow, but discovered a ruse. It wasn't Santa Claus, but his own father who ate the cookies and delivered the presents. He returned to his room to search in magazines and encyclopedias for confirmation of Santa, but in a description of the 'North Pole' in his World Book encyclopedia, it was only described as "stark, barren, devoid of life."

He then pretended to be asleep when his parents entered his bedroom. They mentioned that their disbelieving son no longer stayed up late listening for Santa Claus's arrival. He was awakened at about five minutes to twelve by a loud whooshing and rumbling sound - a monstrous, golden-lit magical steam train pulled up outside his house. He ran outside in his pajamas, slippers, and torn-pocketed bathrobe.

The conductor (Tom Hanks, who played most of the characters) had announced: "All aboard," and claimed they were bound for the North Pole (and Santa Claus' home). He had also claimed: "Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."

'Hero Boy' joined fellow travelers - all wearing pajamas, including:

  • Hero Girl (Nona Gaye), black
  • Know-It-All (Eddie Deezen), nerdy
  • Lonely Boy Billy (Peter Scolari), from a broken home, sickly and shy, and living on the bad side of town

The hour-long, sometimes out-of-control ride to their fantastical destination was filled with spectacular theme park-like roller-coaster thrills and action sequences. At one point on the journey, a huge herd of caribou was encountered crossing and blocking the path, and the train in steep Glacier Gulch skidded off its tracks and slid across an iced-over lake. Hyperkinetic, white-aproned dancing waiters served hot-chocolate to the young passengers, while the conductor sang the bizarre song: "Hot Chocolate" about the joys of drinking the hot beverage. During one long magical sequence, the girl's golden train ticket fluttered away and was sent through an obstacle course, of sorts, before blowing back into the train.

At Santa's headquarters or workshop, there was a bank of TV monitors that allowed the elves to monitor who had been naughty or nice, while gifts were transported around within pneumatic tubes. With preparations ready for Santa's yearly Christmas deliveries, one silver bell fell off of Santa's sleigh. Hero Boy picked it up and shook it, but couldn't hear it. He then stated his belief in Santa, and saw Santa's reflection in the shiny bell (Santa was standing behind him). He shook the bell again, now heard its sweet sound, and returned it to Santa.

Soon after, Hero Boy was selected to meet the red-suited, white-bearded, pompous Man/Santa Claus (Hanks again) who asked him what he wanted for Christmas ("Now, what would you like for Christmas?"). After whispering his request, The Boy was presented with the silver sleigh bell, held aloft in Santa's hand - "the first gift of Christmas!" Then, Santa told Hero Boy, as a tower bell chimed the midnight hour:

"This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas, as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart. Merry Christmas."

The Conductor advised: "Better keep that in a safe place." After putting the bell in his pocket, Hero Boy readied for his return trip back home on the train. As Santa sped off in his reindeer-pulled sleigh with a sack full of presents, Billy asked Hero Boy: "Could all this be nothing but a dream?" Hero Boy thought otherwise: "No." But during his journey home, he realized the bell was missing (from his torn pocket), and he was saddened.

On Christmas morning, he was awakened by his excited young sister Sarah (voice of Isabella Peregrina) who announced that Santa had visited ("This is the beautiful-est, most wonderful-est Christmas ever"). The last, tiny gift-wrapped present under the tree to be opened was located by Sarah, who said it had Hero Boy's name on it. When he opened it, he found the silver sleigh bell. The two shook it next to their ears and could hear the bell. A note was inside the box:

Found this on the seat of my sleigh. Better fix that hole in your pocket. Mr. C.

After being told that the bell was a gift from Santa, both of their parents shook the bell, but couldn't hear it (and thought it was "broken"). The bell could only be heard by those who believed in Santa.

Hero Boy re-dedicated himself to the spirit of Christmas and in the film's last line (voice-over) stated:

"At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."

'Hero Boy' (voice of Daryl Sabara)

Train Conductor (Tom Hanks): "This is the Polar Express"

Other Children

Santa's Silver Sleigh-Bell, With Santa's Reflection

'Hero Boy' With Santa: "What would you like for Christmas?"

Santa Announcing: "The First Bell of Christmas!"

'Hero Boy' With Silver Bell Present

Joyeux Noel (2005, Fr./Ger./UK) (aka Merry Christmas)

Even on the battlefield, opposing sides come together for a few moments to celebrate Christmas.

During WWI at Christmas time, in Europe

Writer/director Christian Carion's anti-war drama was based upon a true event that occurred during World War I. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (subtitled in French), losing to South Africa's Tsotsi (2005).

Its tagline succinctly described the plot:

Christmas Eve, 1914
On a World War I Battlefield,
A Momentous Event Changed the Lives of Soldiers
From France, Germany and England

On Christmas Eve in 1914, a truce or cease-fire was called during the war (between German, French and British soldiers) on the French battlefield. French, German, and Scottish officers met in no-man's-land and agreed on a cease-fire for the evening. Flares were shot into the air and the soldiers cheered and applauded, and then tentatively crossed the battleground to the enemy's side.

The soldiers from opposing sides:

  • exchanged Christmas greetings in their native tongues: ("Joyeux Noël", "Frohe Weihnachten", and "Merry Christmas")
  • shared native foods (bars of chocolate) and drink
  • showed family photos
  • listened to bagpipe music, sang carols
  • and participated in a brief Christmas mass together
  • listened to the singing of a Danish soprano singer.

The story was seen mostly through the eyes of these four individuals, divided into two sides:

Allies - French, British, and Scottish
Lt. Camille René Audebert (Guillaume Canet), a French Lieutenant Private Nikolaus Sprink (Benno Fürmann), a German tenor, with his fiancee Anna
Father Palmer (Gary Lewis), a Scottish Anglican priest and stretcher-bearer Anna Sørensen (Diane Kruger, dubbed by singing voice of Natalie Dessay), a Danish soprano

Cease-Fire and Crossing Sides

Celebrating Christmas - Bagpipes

Anna Sørensen (Diane Kruger) - Danish Soprano

Get Santa (2014, UK/US)

A paroled father reestablishes a relationship with his son by working together to break Santa out of prison in order to save Christmas.

In modern-day London during Christmas-time

Writer/director Christopher Smith's family-friendly Christmas caper movie was about father-son bonding while serving as a British comedy (with lots of similarities to Miracle on 34th Street (1947)). Other borrowed plot elements came from:

  • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) (silhouettes flying across the moon)
  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (a tunnel hole concealed by a poster)
  • Braveheart (1995) dialogue: "Let it be known, for the record, that Steve and Thomas Anderson have saved Christmas for the world entire. You can't take that away from them, even if you can take away their freedom."

Farting Reindeer - To Communicate

Santa Shooting Reindeer Pellets (Poop) at Police

Silhouetted By Moon

Tunnel Hole Covered by Poster

Some of its out-of-place rude elements included Santa mistaking small-statured jailbird Sally (Warwick Davis) for an elf, reindeer who communicated by farting, Santa's gun that fired reindeer pellets (poop) at police cars during a madcap car chase, and other slapstick humor. Highlights included an Elf postal service (a tower) and 'Santa Letters' that were magically attracted to him, a ride down a slide to Elf City in Lapland, Santa's magical elf workshop, and a night-time sleigh-ride over London.

The film opened with two unrelated news reports (later revealed to be connected):

  • Reindeer running loose across London and its bridges: "No one knows where they came from, so let's just hope they're not Santa's reindeer, or there'll be a lot of disappointed children this Christmas."
  • The arrest of a Santa look-alike: "A man in his 60s, claiming to be none other than Father Christmas, broke into Battersea Dogs Home, where the reindeer are being housed, and tried to catapult them over the fence."

Meanwhile, prisoner Steve Anderson (Rafe Spall), a former robbery getaway-driver who was caught two years earlier ("the getaway driver who didn't get away"), was released on parole, and sought to reconnect with his estranged young 9 year-old son Tom (Kit Connor) after a divorce. Tom was living with Steve's ex-wife Alison (Jodie Whittaker) and her new husband. Steve met his merciless, toad-loving, mince-pie-eating parole officer Ruth Mawbury (Joanna Scanlan). She ordered that for the next two months under strict conditions, he had to report in every day at the office at 5 pm: ("Miss an appointment and I'll assume you're stealing and I'll send you back to prison").

As reported, white-bearded Santa (Jim Broadbent) had just crashed his sleigh into power lines during a test-drive a few days before Christmas, and was hiding out in a garage shed behind Tom's stepdad's house while his reindeer ran loose in London. He was arrested for trespassing while trying to rescue his reindeer from the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Santa complained to the authorities: "You have to let me out of here, or Christmas will be cancelled."

Steve became involved in the plot - to break Santa out of Lambeth Prison and save Christmas by having Santa complete his annual rounds. First, he had to be convinced that Santa was real. While meeting him in the jail, Father Christmas told Steve that they had to rescue his head reindeer, Dasher, who would then lead them to his new magic sleigh, and then with the other reindeer fly it in and rescue him from prison. Steve was convinced of Santa's authenticity when Santa told about how his gift of a Rubik's Cube was on the occasion of "the last family Christmas" that he had before his parents divorced.

In the meantime, Steve used his inside connections - for example, the Barber (Stephen Graham), to help Santa survive by getting him to act tough and mean (he also braided his hair and beard and gave him a gangsta name: "Mad Jimmy Claws...a veteran safe cracker, bank robber, all-round bad guy"). One of the most endearing sequences was of Santa reciting, from memory, the presents that three hardened fellow criminals received on Christmas when they were children - a silver bike, a painting set, and a request to have a mother return home.

After a successful rescue, Santa spoke with young Tom:

Santa: About your letter - you asked me to stop your dad from letting you down. That's not the sort of wish I can grant.
Tom: But my wish was granted.
Santa: But not because of me. It was because of you. Sometimes adults aren't quite as grown up as you'd hope. But what children teach them is love.

Before flying away, Santa praised brave Tom and his father to the threatening authorities, including Ruth Mawbury:

Let it be known, for the record, that Steve and Thomas Anderson have saved Christmas for the world entire. You can't take that away from them, even if you can take away their freedom. Don't worry. Sometimes adults find it hard to accept the magic of Christmas. But when they experience it with their own eyes, even the coldest of hearts warm. (To Steve) She won't send you back to prison.

As Santa ascended and magically flew away into the night sky, he shouted to everyone: "Merry Christmas to you all. Merry Christmas." Even the astonished Ruth responded:

"Merry Christmas!"

Steve (Rafe Spall)

Santa (Jim Broadbent) Hiding Out in Garage-Shed

Santa's Mug Shot During Arrest

Tom (Kit Connor)

Parole-Officer Ruth
(Joanna Scanlan)

Finding Santa's Crashed Magic Sleigh

Santa as Gangsta "Mad Jimmy Claws"

Santa's Parting Words to Tom and Everyone: "Merry Christmas!"

A Christmas Horror Story (2015, Canada)

Four Christmas-related horror tales, semi-connected and interwoven together, and supplemented by the narration of a radio DJ.

In the fictional community of Bailey Downs (a town in the province of Ontario), Canada

This anthology Christmas-holiday horror film, co-directed by Brett Sullivan (the first story), Grant Harvey (2nd and 3rd stories), and Steven Hoban (the 4th story) consisted of four different stories - all interconnected by the character of radio DJ Dangerous Dan (William Shatner) broadcasting during Christmas Eve from Bailey Downs.

The film opened with DJ Dan's voice-over and introduction in a radio broadcasting studio, and his sharing of a secret:

Merry Christmas, Bailey Downs. It's Christmas Eve - the most wonderful time of the year. And I'll tell you what, listeners. Dangerous Dan is gonna tell you a secret. I love Christmas! There, I said it. And I don't care who knows it, 'cause I love tinsel, I love Rudolph, I love cranberries, I love baby Jesus! Before he went all hippy with the sandals and long hair.

Then, he announced a food drive at the mall:

And speaking of reminders, it's almost time for the big charity food drive at the mall this afternoon. Our very own weatherman of action, Stormin' Norman, is gonna be down there helping out like the true Christmas angel he is. (pause) Norman, is there any truth to the rumor that a very special guest is gonna be making an appearance at the food drive? Norman? Oh, hey Norman, he's writing me a little Christmas card.

The charity event would eventually have deadly consequences - hinted at when the station's angry weatherman Norman (unseen) wrote the DJ a note that spelled out in large letters: "F--K CHRISTMAS."

The four stories (with haphazard intercutting back and forth between them) were:

  1. Filming a Student Investigative Documentary
    While Filming a Story About Two Homicidal Christmas-Eve Ritualistic Murders of Two Students (Connor and Jenna) Committed a Year Earlier in the Basement of St. Joseph's Academy - A Convent/School, High School Teens Were Confronted and Terrorized by a Spirit or Ghost (One of the Transformed and Possessed Teens); the Ghost was Revealed to be Jenna - an Unmarried Pregnant Teen at the School Who Was Forced to Submit to a Lethal Surgical Abortion; The Ghost Only Wished to Have Someone Give Birth to Her Child - Sole Survivor Molly (Zoé De Grand Maison), Who Was Impregnated Was Allowed to Live

  2. Acquiring the Perfect Christmas Tree
    After A Middle-Class Family of Three Illegally Obtained a Christmas Tree on "No Trespassing Land" During a Trip to the Forest, They Returned Home Where the Family's Son Will (Orion John) Was Turned Into a Murderous 'Changeling' (A Creature in the Form of a Human Child) Inhabited and Controlled by Angry "Big Earl" (A.C. Peterson) Who Owned the Land Where the Tree Was Cut Down, Who Was Eventually Killed to Free the Son

  3. A Visit to Aunt Edda Led to an Attack by a Krampus
    After a Last-Minute, Disastrous Visit to See Estranged Aunt Edda (Corinne Conley) on Christmas Eve and a Car Accident, Two Bratty Kids with Their Family Were Terrorized by a Krampus in a Church (A Demon from German Folklore: "He's like an anti-Santa Claus, a demon who punishes the naughty. He whips them, chains them up, throws them in a sack, stuff like that"); the Krampus (Who Transformed into the Aunt's Caretaker - Gerhardt (Julian Richings)) Was Killed by Sole Surviving Teen Caprice (Amy Forsyth) By Fire, But Then the Teen Transformed into the Krampus Herself and Attacked the Aunt

  4. Santa Attacked by Undead Elves and the Krampus
    At the North Pole (Lapland), Santa Was Forced to Fend Off His Sick, Infected, and Undead Zombified Elves and Defeat Krampus (the Christmas Demon)

The film culminated with a major battle between Santa (George Buza) and Krampus (Rob Archer), "the vile enemy of Christmas," to crown the true king of Christmas. Suddenly, a plot twist occurred.

Krampus or Gerhardt
(Julian Richings)

Caprice Transformed into Krampus

Krampus (Rob Archer) vs. Santa/Norman

The Santa was revealed to be Norman (aka Stormin' Norman, the weathercaster on the DJ's radio show), working as a Mall Santa, who had gone psychotic and went on a bloody rampage during the major Christmas Charity Food Drive - believing that he was fighting the Krampus. He terrorized the Mall Manager, Mr. Taylor (Jeff Clark), who begged for his life:

"What the f--k is wrong with you, Norman?"

He had also killed other mall patrons with an axe, and was ultimately confronted by police: "Freeze! Put your hands up now!" - and shot to death.

The Film's Plot Twist

Cowering Mr. Taylor
(Jeff Clark)

Santa Mall/Norman with Bloody Axe

Norman - Confronted by Police and Shot Dead

In voice-over during a closing epilogue before the end credits, DJ Dan offered advice to everyone to stay put in their homes, and value the real meaning of Christmas:

What the hell is it about Christmas in Bailey Downs? Are we cursed or something? Why does this season of love and peace and goodwill keep ending in blood and death and horror? You keep the spirit in your hearts, you hear me, people. You hug your loved ones and you keep them close and you treat 'em every Christmas like it might be your last.

Dangerous Dan on the Radio (William Shatner)

Norman's 'Christmas Card'

Students Filming a Documentary in a School

Hunting for a Christmas Tree in a "NO TRESPASSING" Area

Visiting an Estranged Aunt

Santa (George Buza)
at North Pole

Crazed and Undead Elf

Will - The 'Changeling"

'Big Al' - The 'Changeling's' Master

The Ghost of Teen Forced to Undergo Abortion

The Night Before (2015)

The story of three friends reuniting and celebrating "the night before" (Christmas Eve) with a wild night of drugs, carousing, sex, and attendance at a Nutcracker Ball, helped by the intervention of an angel (earning his wings).

Christmas-Eve in NYC in modern times

Co-writer/director Jonathan Levine's R-rated holiday-buddy comedy film, filled with racy and vulgar dialogue, debauchery and rampant drug usage, was about a trio of best childhood friends who had annually celebrated "the night before" for the previous decade.

[Note: There were a number of similarities between this film and the stoner comedy A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011), directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson.]

  • Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen) - Jewish, with expectant wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) for their first child together
  • Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - a failed musician, a hotel cocktail waiter (dressed as an elf), whose previous love interest was Diana (Lizzy Caplan)
  • Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie) - a fame-seeking, past-his-prime, steroids-using, celebrity pro football player, chauffeured in a large limo sponsored by Red Bull

Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen)

Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie)

The threesome had originally been brought together to party due to a tragedy, when Ethan's parents were killed in a drunk-driving accident on Christmas Eve in 2001.

Now, the thirty-somethings have decided to celebrate the end of their boozing tradition with one last blow-out Christmas Eve together in New York City. They planned to attend a legendary and exclusive party (invitation-only event) known as the Nutcracker Ball (Ethan snagged tickets) where they were surprised by a performance of "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus (as Herself)). Chris also purchased marijuana ("the weed from Christmas Present") from their high-school weed-dealer Mr. Green (Michael Shannon), allegedly to impress his star quarterback, Tommy Owens.

[Note: In the film's plot twist, it was revealed that Mr. Green was the host of the Nutcracker Ball, and also an angel earning his wings -- plagiarizing It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - who was attempting to make the lives of the three friends better - the film's "Christmas Miracle."]

Their misadventures included:

  • dancing on a keyboard at FAO Schwartz (homage to Tom Hanks' scene in Big (1988)), to the tune of Kanye West's "Runaway"
  • Isaac's overdose from a mixture of drugs (in a box given to him as a gift by Betsy), causing hallucinations, and panic about soon being a father for the first time (on a cell phone, he recorded a rant: "This baby's a mistake")
  • flirtation between Chris and idolizing sports fan Rebecca Grinch (Ilana Glazer), a Christmas-hater ("I f--king hate Christmas, OK? Sorry to be like a Grinch") - although she promised: "I'm going to teach you a Christmas lesson, you naughty boy!" - before having bathroom sex with him
  • Isaac's fantasy time-travel strip club sequence, where he saw his unborn daughter performing as a stripper
  • the confusion about switched cellphones (with a dic-pic) between Isaac and Diana's friend Sarah (Mindy Kaling)
  • a horse-drawn sleigh ride after marijuana-thief Rebecca Grinch had stolen Chris' weed, that dragged Isaac by a chain down the street
  • after talking to a life-sized Nativity scene in front of a church, Isaac's nauseous vomiting in front of everyone during the Midnight Mass service

In the end, it was revealed that the "Christmas story" of the three friends was being read from a book by Santa/Narrator (Tracy Morgan), who was sitting with his elves and his son Mr. Green. After Green's intervention as an angel, Isaac and Betsy realized they had each other in the raising of a child, and Ethan and Diane reconciled and "ended up together."

The Ending: A Christmas Miracle

Three Reflective Friends

Mr. Green With Angel Wings

The Three Buddies

Mr. Green (Michael Shannon) - Marijuana Dealer

Isaac's Wife Betsy (Jillian Bell)

Rebecca Grinch (Ilana Glazer)

Sarah (Mindy Kaling)

Diana (Lizzy Caplan)

Giant Keyboard Scene

Sleigh-Ride Chase

Midnight Mass Service Vomit

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