Our Favorite Top 10 Non-Christmas Christmas Movies

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It’ll be the 25th of December in a few days and as 2015 draws to a close for Cult Classics, we start to think of Top 10 lists. And on Christmas, we think of the standard fare for the Holiday; 24 hours of A Christmas Story, Elf, Home Alone, or if we’re being edgy, quirky or clever Die Hard or Lethal Weapon.

But if you want to impress the friends and family with some deep cuts from your movie collection next week, here’s some of our favorite alternative Christmas movies. All of these movies are set at least in part during Christmas or have a scene featuring a connection to the Holiday. You may be surprised at some of these picks!

10. TRADING PLACES (1983)
– While the first Christmas movie that may hop to mind that has Dan Ackroyd in it may be GHOSTBUSTERS 2, Trading Places is probably the film you should seek out if you like unorthodox Christmas movies and are a fan of Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy. Murphy and Ackroyd had a long standing comedic friendship leading back to their days on SNL, Murphy was even supposed to be the 4th Ghostbuster prior to Ernie Hudson.

Trading Places has Ackroyd play a well-off stock broker who is about to be married and has a successful job at Duke and Duke. As a joke, the Duke Brothers place a bet whether one is born to be well-off or if someone from a lower class can make it in a higher social caste of given the chance. Ackroyd is framed for selling drugs and loses his life and fortune, while Murpohy a street hustler is given his job. Ultimately, the message is very Christmas-y about appreciating what you have and not taking your life for granted, but its also hilarious as the photo above suggests.

9. AMERICAN PSYCHO (2000)
– And we have our first Bret Easton Ellis appearance on the countdown. In a lot of ways, American Psycho is a Christmas film in the same way Trading Places is. Both are set in the 1980’s. Both have Wall Street stock brokers as the protagonists. But while Ackroyd’s Louis Winthrope III doesn’t start killing to alleviate the ennui of his life, Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman does (or doesn’t, depending how you read the film). The most memorable Christmas scene is seen above, where Bateman and his fiancee played by Reese Witherspoon have a Christmas get-together, where Patrick Bateman is disgusted by Paul Allen and sets his plan to kill him by inviting him to dinner at Texarkana.

Merry X-mas, Patrick!

8. THE RULES OF ATTRACTION (2002)
– And Bret Easton Ellis makes his 2nd appearance on this countdown with the sort-of sequel to AMERICAN PSYCHO. This film follows Patrick Bateman’s brother Sean (played by James van der Beek) and his friend Paul (Ian Somerhalder) and love interested played by Shannon Sossamon. The film follows their sexual escapades throughout Camden College through a series of parties set at Christmas break.

7. LESS THAN ZERO (1987)
– And the last Bret Easton Ellis movie on the list. Less Than Zero is entirely set during Christmas break. Clay (played by Andrew McCarthy) comes back to visit his friends and family in L.A. on break from Camden College (the same one from Rules of Attraction) and his best friend Julian (Robert Downey Jr.) is now a junkie with a failed record label who is caught in the thrall of drug addiction and has also sucked Clay’s ex Blair into his abyss. One notable Cjristmas scene is a party thrown by Rip, a drug dealer friend of theirs played by James Spader that sets the tone for the film

6. INSIDE (2007)
– What goes together more than Christmas and babies? Nothing right? Well, this movie set during Christmas is all about a woman trying her best to get a baby anyway she can. Intense and relentlessly gory, Cult Classics actually showed this film as one of our first Reel Horror secret screenings in 2011. Worth a watch, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the squeamish.

5. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2011)
– While David Fincher’s remake of the Swedish original only performed modestly in the United States, it’s slick presentation, strong performance by Rooney Mara and excellent score by Trent Reznor are bound to make it a cult classic in years to come. While both films are set in a snowy backdrop, the remake makes its connection to the Christmas holiday more blatant by having Lisbeth buy Mikael a biker jacket in the end that she throws away after being spurned.

4. GREMLINS (1984)
– The quintessential Christmas horror film. When a boy gets the greatest gift of all, an eldritch creature that is cute but can spawn unlimited asexual replicas of itself that mutate into reptilian demons, and then has to give it back. Even though it’s cute! Sad, but teaches us the lesson that getting a pet for the holidays is a great responsibility not everyone can handle. Also teaches us the meaning of family and not to climb down a chimney in a Santa suit, because you might die and grow up hating Christmas.

3. EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)
– Teaches us the meaning of family and love during the holidays and how a life without love would result in a world without snow or ice sculptures during the holidays. Edward Scissorhands was Cult Classics holiday screening in 2011 and played to a sold out house in Mesa!

2. EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)
– EYES WIDE SHUT plays like a dark fucked up version of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Tom Cruise and his wife smoke pot and in the world’s most unrealistic drug trip scene, she confesses she has fantasized about sleeping with other men. He has a crisis of faith in his marriage and two nights before Christmas, he almost has sex with a hooker and goes to a private orgy in a mansion and is kicked out. His ennui continues through Christmas Eve when he breaks down and confesses his almost adultery and his wife’s answer is for them to fuck the pain away, to quote Peaches. One of those be grateful with what you have Christmas films, but dark, dark, dark.

and number one is …

1. KISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)

It wouldn’t be a non X-Mas X-Mas list without Shane Black popping up. From Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, to even Iron Man 3, Shane Black has made a career of making action movies set during Christmas. But Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a neo-noir buddy cop murder mystery that’s also a satire of Hollywood culture. Robert Downey Jr. plays a cat burglar turned reluctant actor playing at being a private eye as he investigates a possible murder. This is the movie that cemented Robert Downey Jr’s comeback to Hollywood and he is hilarious in this. Plus Val Kilmer has a star turn as his bad-ass homosexual detective sidekick Gay Perry. Michelle Monaghan plays a great damsel in distress/girl with moxie. Definitely an underrated great Hollywood comedy/murder mystery.

I hope you enjoy the list. Let us know what your favorite unorthodox Christmas movies are in the comments or on Facebook.

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