Everyone everywhere celebrates Christmas a little differently. Sure, some of the traditions are the same – Christians put a Christmas tree in the living room, Jewish people go to Chinese restaurants, etc. – but other than that we all have our own traditions while celebrating the holiday. Some have massive family gatherings, others like to keep it intimate and small. Some people really like to celebrate, while others couldn’t care less. Regardless of how you spend your time, one way to make sure that you’ll survive is to include at least one trip to the movie theater. It’s in that area that we here at Cinema Blend are happy to help.
Below you’ll find a complete guide to this year’s in-theater movie selection, paired along with your main reason for seeing it, who you should go with, and how the experience will compare to Christmases in the recent past. Feel free to print it out and stick a copy in your back pocket or purse. You never know when it might come in handy and it might even save your life. Read on below for Cinema Blend’s Official Movie Guide To Christmas 2010.
When You Have To Find Something To Distract The Kids From The Presents Around The Tree: Tangled.
Not only will the kids absolutely adore this one (I can 100% guarantee that they will laugh every time Pascal the Chameleon or Maximus the Horse is on screen), but it’s something that the parents escorting them will love too. The film is beautifully animated, has a classic Disney feel and some really great music to boot.
Best for: A house filled with rug rats that have eaten far too many of the cookies that were left out for Santa.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Princess and The Frog last year and regained a taste for Disney versions of classic fairy tales.
When You're Dealing With Teens Who Say They're Too Old/Cool For Tangled: Tron: Legacy.
The reality is that nobody is too cool for Tangled, but there’s something about being between the ages of 13 and 18 that makes you act like kind of an asshole. So instead of waiting for them to throw a hissy fit about not wanting to go to a “kids movie,” buy them a ticket to see Tron: Legacy. With its incredible use of 3D and amazing action sequences, they will be thoroughly entertained and if they like it enough, it could be a goldmine for last minute gift ideas.
Best for: The group of sixteen-year-olds who have isolated themselves from the rest of the family to go play videogames in someone’s bedroom.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Avatar last year and realized for the first time that buying IMAX 3D tickets for a large group is jaw-droppingly expensive.
When The Snow Outside Makes Everything Look To Clean And You Want To Watch Something Dark And Dirty: True Grit.
An entire neighborhood blanketed in white can be beautiful, but, if you’re like me, it can get monotonous pretty fast. You know what a great way to break up that monotony is? Watching blood get sprayed onto the dust in the middle of Indian Territory. Roger Deakins’ cinematography work on the western landscapes in True Grit is nothing short of breathtaking and the movie itself is simply fantastic. The Coen brothers will even remind you of the outside conditions by having some snowfall of their own.
Best for: Fathers who want to use the opportunity to teach their sons about classic westerns and the eternal awesomeness that is John Wayne.
Kind of like that time you all saw…. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003, only instead of massive orc hordes you have cowboys with bad teeth.
When You Want To Look At Pretty Places And Pretty People But Don't Care About Story Or Characters: The Tourist.
The Tourist isn’t a particularly good movie, but let’s face it, most of your relatives wouldn’t know a good movie if it arrived on their doorstep with an Oscar trophy. Instead when you suggest going to a movie, the first question they’ll ask is whose in it. You’ll answer “Natalie Portman” and they’ll respond “who?” Skip their derisive and confused looks as you try to explain that she’s actually pretty famous and just tell them you’re all going to see a movie with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. It isn’t a particularly good movie, but it looks nice and your relatives won’t notice whether or not it’s kind of a mess. (Contributed by Josh Tyler)
Best for: Women who read Us Weekly or The National Enquirer.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Ocean’s 12 in 2004. It wasn’t very good but at least it was pretty and you knew the names of all the actors without sticking around for the end credits.
When You're Feeling Passive Aggressive About Spending Time With Your Family: The Fighter.
As much love an happiness that families can provide during the holiday season, they can also be quite irritating. From the grandpa that keeps telling you that you should get a real job to the clichéd uncle who gets drunk and yells at everybody, it doesn’t take long until your nerves are completely grinded down. This is when you take everyone to a screening of The Fighter. You’ll quickly find yourself sympathizing with Mark Wahlberg’s Micky Ward as he suffers under the weight of his overbearing family. Also be sure to get an end seat and send the occasional glance down the row just to make sure that they understand why you brought them there.
Best for: Right after your cousin Alex finishes telling your mother about his new job with the corner office and she looks at you disappointingly.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Rocky Balboa in 2006. Sure, it didn’t have the same plot about the pressures of family, but it probably helped to watch a couple of guys beat the crap out of each other.
When When You Feel Like Enjoying The Darker Side of Christmas: Black Swan.
If you do decide to take in a viewing of Black Swan this Christmas (and I highly recommend that you do), be sure to leave the kids at home. Swan Lake is certainly a beautiful ballet that’s perfect for the winter season, but you don’t want your little ones waking up in the middle of the night screaming because they dreamed about a giant, black, bird-looking monster coming down the chimney instead of Santa Claus. You’re not going to get the “Merry Christmas… everyone!” feeling walking out of the theater, but you should have known that going in.
Best for: Those family members who feel like they’re suffocating in Aunt Sally’s homemade Christmas sweaters.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2007, only this time around there is more extacy-induced lesbian sex.
When You Start To Realize That There Isn't Enough Nudity On Christmas: Love And Other Drugs.
With thanks to stories about Santa Claus, Frosty The Snowman and the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in the air, Christmas time often feels unbearably saccharine sweet. You need something to help neutralize it and the edited version of Bad Santa on cable is just not going to cut it. The solution? Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway get naked and have sex in between scenes of Gyllenhaal trying to sell boner pills. Once again, though, this is not one for the younger set.
Best for: After little Timmy manages to overcome his insecurity about his lisp and missing front tooth to say grace before dinner.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Closer in 2004 – sure, there wasn’t as much nudity, but it’s still a movie around Christmas time that includes scenes in a strip club. I think it gets a pass.
When You're Feeling Suicidal, But Need Something To Help You Pull The Trigger: Yogi Bear, Little Fockers, or Gulliver's Travels.
First things first, I should say this: I don’t condone holiday suicide. The truth is that this is an anti-recommendation. By now I’m sure you’ve read plenty of the reviews about these films and have recognized a pattern: they are truly awful. As things stand while I’m writing this, these three movies have an average review score on Rotten Tomatoes of 15%. We’re written this feature for the sole purpose of driving you away from these three films in favor of much more positive holiday fare. Do yourself a favor and stay away from Jack Black fart jokes, past-their-prime circle of trust gags and lame animated slap-stick.
Best for: Nobody. These movies are best for nobody.
Kind of like that time you all saw… Alvin and the Chipmunks in 2007, Meet The Fockers in 2004, and Bedtime Stories in 2008. Remember how miserable you were? Don’t make the same mistake a fourth time.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.