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Holiday Must Sees: Spend Christmas At The Movies

Last week I called my mom to ask what we would be doing in the days leading up to Christmas, thinking of a cousin's upcoming birthday or Christmas Eve festivities with the family. "Well, we have to go see the movie," she replied, forcing me to instantly rack my brain to think of what she'd be interested in seeing-- It's Complicated? The Blind Side? Nope, I'm far luckier than that: she wants to see Avatar.

But even if your mom and other family members are more interested in light comedy or (god help you) singing chipmunks, there are tons of options out there to keep you and yours entertained once you're done tearing through the wrapping paper and are ready to tear into each others' throats instead. Movies are the great social unifier, yes, but they're also great for helping us ignore each other too. However you want to do it, here's a guide for your best bets for moviegoing on Christmas Day and beyond.

New releases

Sherlock Holmes (3,600 theaters)

The pitch: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Guy Ritchie make Holmes and Watson tougher, grimier, and sexier than you ever possibly imagined.

Best for: Everyone, but particularly those with a man-crush/actual crush on Downey Jr. (but really, isn't that everyone?)

Kind of like the time you all saw: Catch Me If You Can in 2002, but wished it had more violence and shirtless people.

It's Complicated (2,800 theaters)

The pitch: Middle-aged women, live vicariously through Meryl Streep as she slouches around a beautiful apartment and sleeps with Alec Baldwin.

Best for: The obvious target audience, plus those with a penchant for guilty pleasures and a high tolerance for whiny rich people.

Kind of like the time you all saw: Something's Gotta Give in 2003, and thought it was just too self-deprecating about the charmed wealthy lives its characters lead.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (3,656 theaters)

The pitch: This inexplicably made money the first time around, and thsoe of you too unoriginal to seek out something new will be sucked in again!

Best for: Very young children and parents willing to leave those very young children in the theater alone while they go see something real.

Kind of like the time you all saw: Uh, Alvin and the Chipmunks in 2007, but Fat Albert in 2004 was probably a similarly soul-crushing experience.

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (in limited release)

The pitch: Step inside Terry Gilliam's wild imagination, and see Heath Ledger's final performance as an added bonus.

Best for: Gilliam fans, Ledger fans, stoners, and those willing to just nap if they can't follow along.

Kind of like the time you all saw: Vanilla Sky in 2001, and wished it were a little harder to follow.


Up in the Air (1,895 theaters)

The pitch: You just finished being miserable on an airplane to get wherever you are for the holidays, so watch George Clooney fly around a lot to work up the energy to fly back home. Plus: this movie will probably win some Oscars, so you may as well see it first.

Best for: Anyone who can handle an f-bomb and a naked Vera Farmiga, but especially that uncle who came home for Christmas for the first time in 5 years.

Kind of like that time you all saw: About Schmidt in 2002, and didn't find it quite glamorous enough.

Nine (1,500 theaters)

The pitch: More Oscar winners than you could possibly count, plus some songs and sexy outfits too.

Best for: Musical theater queens and anyone who wants to see something shiny and plotless but doesn't have Parnassus playing in their town yet.

Kind of like that time you all saw: Chicago, but wished it didn't have so many characters and sideplots and meaningful scenes.

A Single Man (34 theaters)

The pitch: Beautiful cinematography, beautiful clothes, beautiful actors, and sob-worthy melodrama.

Best for: Non-homophobic grown-ups undergoing early-60s style withdrawal during the Mad Men hiatus.

Kind of like that time you all saw: The Pianist, because Christmas is just too damn happy.

Already everywhere

Avatar (3,452 theaters, and maybe more)

The pitch: It's a Western and a war movie and a romance and a fantasy and a sci-fi-adventure... and it looks like nothing you've ever seen before.

Best for: Literally everyone.

Kind of like that time you all saw: The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, taking a gamble that not everyone would be into fantasy Orcs and made-up Elf languages, and getting rewarded greatly for it.

Did You Hear About The Morgans? (2,718 theaters)

The pitch: Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant make fun of life in the middle of the country and get attacked by a bear as payback.

Best for: Romantic comedy fans who literally don't care at all what happens so long as the couple gets together in the end.

Kind of like that time you all saw: The Holiday instead of Children of Men in 2006, or Two Weeks Notice instead of Gangs of New York in 2002. I still don't know how you can forgive yourselves.

Invictus (2,125 theaters)

The pitch: Morgan Freeman is Nelson Mandela-- no, literally, they are interchangeable. Also don't bother going in knowing anything about rugby, because Clint Eastwood doesn't understand it either.

Best for: Saps and rugby fans and those mysterious people who love everything Clint Eastwood has ever made.

Kind of like that time you all saw: Gran Torino and decided to give Clint Eastwood your money every Christmas from now on.

The Blind Side (3,407 theaters)

The pitch: Sandra Bullock saves a young black man from the streets while simultaneously clutching her future Oscar.

Best for: Everyone with a sentimental streak and a high tolerance for saintly white people.

Kind of like that time you all saw: We Are Marshall, despite the fact that you loathed McG so much.

The Princess and the Frog (3,475 theaters)

The pitch: 2D. Animated. Disney. Princess. Musical.

Best for: Everyone, particularly those who were under the age of 10 between 1988 and 1995 and know all the words to "A Whole New World."

Kind of like that time you all saw: Charlotte's Web in 2006, but wished all the songs from Dreamgirls could have magically found their way in there too.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (3,035 theaters)

The pitch: Team Edward, Team Jacob, shirtless werewolves... do we really need to go over this again?

Best for: Twihards, obviously, though is there anyone left on the planet who is interested in this movie and hasn't seen it yet?

Kind of like the time you all saw: A Series of Unfortunate Events because one person in your family was a fan of the books, and once you were there, you stopped speaking to that person for a year.

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend