If the weather outside is frightful, watching these five contemporary Christmas movies will make you feel delightful. I try to watch all the following Christmas movies at least once during the holiday season. There are of course the classic movies like A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) and It’s a Wonderful Life. I like these films, but I tend to enjoy contemporary Christmas flicks more, maybe because I haven’t seen them quite as often.
5. Trading Places (1983)
Wealthy brothers Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche) Duke make a one-dollar bet, on whether genetics or environment influences a person’s behavior. The pair orchestrate an elaborate plan to send cultured snob Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Ackroyd) into abject poverty and poor street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) straight into Winthorp’s lavish lifestyle.
When Billy Ray finds out what the Dukes have been up to, he and Louis team up with prostitute Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Butler Coleman (Denholm Elliot) to turn the tables on the wealthy brothers.
I’ve been watching Trading Places every Christmas since I was a teenager. It’s hilarious and features some stand-out performances, specifically from Denholm Elliot. And watch for a very young Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul), in a jail cell scene with Eddie Murphy.
4.The Family Stone (2005)
Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings his uptight girlfriend, Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker), home for the holidays to meet his unconventional family. A prude, Meredith feels like Everett’s whole family hates her. So she calls her sister Julie (Claire Danes), asking her to come to Connecticut so she’ll have an ally.
The Family Stone also stars Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson as Everett’s parents Sybil and Kelly, Luke Wilson as his brother Ben and Rachel McAdams as his sister Amy. My favorite line in this movie is when Meredith, upset with Everett’s family, is out at a local bar with Ben. He tells Meredith she just needs to be herself. “You have a freak flag. You just don’t fly it.” Continue reading “The Five Best Contemporary Christmas Movies”