Much has changed in the last two years when it comes to holiday traditions. But one thing does not have: to gather around the TV to watch new and classic movies with family and friends. The problem, if it can be called a problem, is that with each new streaming service comes a shift in which streamers offer which movies. We are here to help – and give you a quick and practical guide to a few holiday gems you may have never seen before. Below are 15 titles that will surely get even the most grinning party-goers in the Christmas mood.
Home for vacation
If you feel guilty about not reaching your parents for Thanksgiving this year, this ode to dysfunctional family reunions – directed by Jodie Foster – can serve as an overly realistic reminder of what it is. really like when your relatives reunite under one roof. Holly Hunter plays a newly unemployed single mother who travels from Chicago to Baltimore to spend Thanksgiving with her family – only to immediately regret the decision. (Yes, we have all been there.) Hunter’s character perhaps sums up the feeling best when she asks, “When you go home, you look around and wonder: Who are these people? Where did I come from at all?” A very pre-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. costs.
Where to stream it: Amazon Prime, YouTube
Given the increased output of original products released by the major streaming networks like Netflix and Amazon Prime, it was only a matter of time before they all caught the Christmas bug. Last year, that honor went to Hulu, which put together an impressive cast of actors that you would not necessarily expect to see in a holiday room com (see: Kristen Stewart) for Happiest season. When Harper (Stop and Catch Fire‘s Mackenzie Davis) invites her boyfriend Abby (Stewart) home for Christmas, she fails to tell her one thing: Harper has never told her ultra-conservative family that she’s gay. Although it’s a setup that sounds like it can be easily accessed Sixty Company levels of slapstick and double talent, the seriousness with which it is played by its star cast – which includes Dan Levy, Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Mary Steenburgen – pushes it nicely into the enjoyable space between farce and family drama.
Where to stream it: Hulu
The Best Man Holiday
Holidays are by and large only the backdrop to Best Man Holiday, but when a movie features Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau and Morris Chestnut making a New Edition dance-and-lip-sync number, does it matter? Almost 15 years after they were all gathered for Lance’s (chestnut) wedding (and almost 15 years after the release of The fiancé), a group of old friends gather in New York to celebrate Christmas together. As with all dating, everyone remembers their closeness and long-term problems at the same time. It is not necessary to spoil this, but suffice it to say that the laughs are deeply felt and the drama – cancer diagnoses, pregnancies, marriages – is loud. The perfect movie for your Friendsgiving.
Where to stream it: Peacock
OK, so we will not pretend ThanksKilling—A slasher movie with a silly-mouthed turkey that uses the slogan “Gobble, Gobble, Motherf * cker” —is the most family-friendly of Turkey’s Day shows. But since Christmas movies are far more than Thanksgiving movies, it seems important to note that this movie actually exists, especially for those who do not mind a little itch with their pumpkin pie. If you like what you see here, there is a sequel, ThanksKilling 3 (do not ask what happened to part 2), which can be rented at Amazon Prime.
Where to stream it: Amazon prime
Miracle on 34th Street
Natalie Wood is the epitome of hasty as Susan Walker, the wise daughter of Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara), a single mother director at Macy’s, who has always discouraged her daughter from buying into the macros. But when a Santa Claus who looks (legally) like Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) enters their lives, he challenges their common aversion to adventure – for the better.
Where to stream it: Disney +
The Preacher’s Wife
This remake of the 1947 film Bishop, directed by Penny Marshall, stars Denzel Washington as an angel named Dudley who is sent to help a priest (Courtney B. Vance) who is struggling to keep his church in New York afloat. What happens, though, is that he ends up crushing, yes, the preacher’s wife, a one-time nightclub singer who became a chorus star, played by Whitney Houston. Comedy and heartache and ultimately redemption follow. If all that heartwarming content is not enough, it also has a part of Houston’s eternally impeccable voice.
Where to stream it: Amazon prime
The nightmare before Christmas
No, Tim Burton did not instruct The nightmare before Christmas (Henry Selick did). But he invented the stories and characters and produced it, and his stop-motion animation-loving fingerprints are everywhere in this masterpiece that works as well as a Halloween movie as a Christmas movie. When Jack Skellington, Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, accidentally discovers Christmastown – a place less about scaring people and more about comfort and joy – he makes a plan to kidnap Santa and bring him back to Halloweentown so his fellow citizens can experience Christmas joy. Perhaps not surprisingly, the hijacker does not go out as Jack had hoped. Even today, almost 30 years after its original release, The nightmare before Christmas remains a masterpiece that shows the true magic of stop-motion animation.
Where to stream it: Disney +
Eventually, there are few people who do not know it Home alone story, but we give you a summary anyway: The night before the McCallister family goes to France to spend their holidays in Paris, Kevin is annoyed that he has to share a room with his bed-sweating cousin, not to mention someone ate his pizza – would wish his family would just disappear. While that is not exactly what happens (they just kind of forget that he sleeps up in the attic when they wake up late for their flight), it does mean that an 8-year-old is left to fend for himself at Christmas time. Among the problems he is forced to confront? A neighbor, he thinks, may be a serial killer and two tumultuous burglars who are set on searching his family’s home. Lucky for Kevin, he has a seriously sadistic side that allows him to find in all sorts of inventive ways to almost murder these uninvited guests as he learns to value his family a little more. (The same goes for them.)
To see what happens when a family leaves their little son alone second time, Alone at Home 2: Lost In New York also streams on Disney +.