While there is no universal arbiter of categorization, sometimes it can be fun to have a bit of fun debating categorization with friends. Sometimes people debate things like whether a taco is a sandwich. Sometimes they debate whether a book or film is a thriller or horror. And sometimes they question whether Die Hard is simply an action movie that happens to be set at a Christmas party, or whether it's a Christmas action movie.
Here are a few titles that are a matter of opinion: Is it a winter holiday film or not?
A perpetual argument stems from this action film. Is it a Christmas movie or not? Set in the high-rise LA headquarters of the Nakatomi Corporation, an office Christmas party provides the setting for our hero, John McClane. I don't want to spoil anything if you haven’t seen it, but McClane (played by Bruce Willis in one of his most iconic roles) kicks some serious butt, and lead villain Hans Gruber (played by the wonderful Alan Rickman) is definitely a memorable foe.
A big portion of the film takes place well before the holiday season, but the final scenes of the film make Edward Scissorhands hold a place in my mind (and my heart) as a winter holiday film.
Don’t ask me why, but many people enjoy tearjerkers for the holidays! And this musical is definitely a tearjerker. Sure, the storyline takes place over the course of 525,600 minutes, but Christmas begins and ends the film, making it (kind of) a holiday movie in my book.
Iron Man 3
Wait, Iron Man 3 takes place during the holidays? With so many Marvel films out there, it can be easy to forget details of the setting of the third installment of a movie focused on one of Marvel’s many heroes. But yes, it is indeed set during the holidays, and the holidays feature in the film a little bit. I don’t know that I’d say it fully counts, but it’s your opinion that counts!
Recommended for this list by fellow blogger Sarah G., I admittedly haven’t seen this one, though it’s been on my watch list for some time. I’m a fan of both film director Todd Haynes and author Patricia Highsmith, whose novel The Price of Salt served as inspiration for Carol. The film is set around Christmas and New Year’s Eve and tells the story of two women who fall in love despite their differences and the difficulties of their lives.
Though they're not available at HCPL, you can place a hold to check these out from our partner libraries!
While not available in our catalog, Gremlins always makes me think of the winter holidays, and it is available through some of our partnering libraries. I’ve wondered if other people think of it as a Christmas film – there are so many hijinks that have to do with the holidays and so many hijinks that don’t. Either way, it's a great, classic 80s movie.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Both a Halloween movie and a Christmas movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas is delightfully spooky. I admittedly remember seeing the trailer as a kid and being thoroughly creeped out. What can I say? Times change and people grow. It’s a stunningly beautiful film and always makes me think about how we endow the traditions of various holidays with meaning.
Yes, a third Tim Burton-associated film is gracing this list. Also available from our partner libraries, Batman Returns shows us the dark Gotham we know and love set against the backdrop of the Christmas season. It may very well be my favorite Batman film to date.