the nice guys

Seven alternative Christmas movies to keep Scrooge happy

Fancy an alternative Christmas movie that doesn't require Bruce Willis to take his socks off? For anyone in need of some seasonally-appropriate viewing without the sleigh bells on, here's seven alternative Christmas movies to keep you properly out of the festive spirit. 

The Nice Guys

the nice guys

Credit: Warner Bros

What’s Christmas without a changeable climate? There’s a whole series of California-set and Christmas-adjacent films set partly or wholly in the festive period, from La La Land to LA Confidential, and there’s not a flake of snow to be found in any of them. But The Nice Guys, though you might not remember it, is indeed set in the days running up to Santa’s big night out, and has the tinsel-bedecked bars to prove it. It’s also a brilliantly witty take on the classic detective buddy movie, with enough shoot-outs and dead adult film stars to let you escape from the Christmas spirit if you fancy it. And Ryan Gosling has never been better, before or since.

The Poseidon Adventure

poseidon adventure christmas

Credit: Disney+

Around this time of year, movie protagonists are under a lot of pressure to ‘save Christmas,’ and frankly, it’s about time Christmas returned the favour. The Poseidon Adventure should be praised for its most practical demonstration of the spirit of the season: using a giant Christmas tree to escape from an inverted cruise liner. Gene Hackman’s unresolved crisis of faith might jar a little with the festive vibe, and the tiny pool of survivors may bring the mood down a little, but enough people comically fall to their deaths that it’s hard to take it too seriously for too long. It was also nominated for eight Oscars – highbrow.



Credit: Studiocanal

The name might give it away, but this acclaimed LGBTQ period piece is pretty Christmassy, actually. It’s set in New York (crucially, at Christmas), a lot of the plot revolves around buying people presents, and everyone falls in love. Alas, sadly, it’s not Love Actually, so people tend to give it a miss. Rectify that with a good-old family blub-along to a really charming period love story. Not quite alternative Christmas, but a cracking film regardless.

Knives Out

knives out group shot

Credit: Lionsgate

What’s Christmas without family, right? But what if someone in your family was murdered? That wouldn’t be very festive, would it? Wrong! While Kenneth Brannagh’s Murder on the Orient Express might have more snow and absurd moustaches than Rian Johnson’s whodunnit revival, Knives Out embraces everything that makes Christmas special: strangely-decorated houses, family arguments about money, and Chris Evans in a fetching woollen jumper. Bonus points for the rest of the cast’s coat and scarf game, which is universally excellent.

The Green Knight

The Green Knight

Credit: A24

We all have to do things at Christmas we don’t really want to, but agreeing to have Ralph Ineson cut off your head before you even get to the turkey really takes the biscuit. David Lowery’s adaptation of a 14th-century poem, while definitely, absolutely, 100% is set over the course of two Christmases, is probably one of the least festive films ever made. It is absolutely beautiful though, and adds another film to the acclaimed ‘Barry Keoghan plays a weird little guy’ collection. The days between Christmas and New Year can often be a bit of a slog, so why not spend them tripping on forest mushrooms with a fox?

In Bruges

in bruges

Credit: Universal Pictures

If your family doesn’t mind a spot of (very) sweary hanky-panky and has a lethally dark sense of humour, then treat them to Martin McDonagh’s directorial debut this holiday season. Again, taking place over the Christmas period in the delightfully festive-looking Belgian city of the title, it’s the perfect film to get you in the Christmas spirit—providing your interpretation of the Christmas spirit involves a lot of Catholic guilt and people being extraordinarily rude to each other. It’s also handy as required reading before putting on the team’s reunion film, The Banshees of Inisherin, which is receiving a lot of Oscar-buzz and handily drops on Disney+ December 21.

Eddie The Eagle

eddie the eagle

Credit: Lionsgate

Cool Runnings might still be the definitive Winter Olympics movie, but Dexter Fletcher’s feel-good modern classic might soon be giving it a ski-run for its money. Britain’s favourite and most famous underdog, played joyfully by a post-Kingsman Taron Edgerton, can’t help but put a smile on your face, and despite the proliferation of snow, it barely mentions Christmas at all. For a cockles-warming family film without the over-abundance of Maria Carey, look no further.

Leave a Reply

More like this