It’s Christmas, again. So, television networks the world over will be regurgitating their standard seasonal fare of old movies, holiday specials, and… well. Old movies.

Santa's Little Helper: Michelle Monaghan, in Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005)

Tinsel and glitter, as brought to you, by Tinseltown.

Here are four of my favorites – thumping good feature films that actually feature Christmas, prominently, in them.

Plus one that shouldn’t have. Really.

First, The Good

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Neo-noir with a quirky edge is writer / director Shane Black’s stock in trade.

This one centers on amnesiac schoolteacher Samantha Caine (Geena Davis), who hires down-at-heel private eye Mitch Hennessy (played by Samuel L. Jackson) to help reveal her true identity.

Turns out Samantha is actually Charlene “Charlie” Baltimore, a kick-ass government hitperson capable of singlehandedly wiping out an entire contingent of her fellow CIA operatives. And making Bond and Bourne look like a couple of cringing amateurs.

Breathtaking stuff, in the best action movie tradition.

Die Hard (1988)

Director John McTiernan’s 1988 thriller was the seminal confined-space actioner.

This had everything: An ultra-cool hero, in Bruce Willis’ cop, John MacLane. An ultra-cool villain, in Alan Rickman’s mastermind, Hans Gruber. Designer terrorists, huge-budget pyrotechnics, and a relentless series of white-knuckle escapes, in the aforementioned confined spaces.

The film “inspired” a slew of imitators, in subsequent years – none of which came close to matching it. The original, and best.

Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005)

Another from the Shane Black stable. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang features aspiring actress Harmony Faith Lane (played by Michelle Monaghan), petty thief turned wannabe actor turned amateur detective Harry Lockhart (Robert Downey, Jr.), and gay private eye turned studio consultant Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), in a convoluted tale of murder, mayhem, mismatched goons, and severed fingers.

I’m a sucker for neo-noir, in any form, Michelle Monaghan is goofy hotness personified, and I do like this film.

Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion (2005)

This 2005 seasonal special introduced the plucky Rose Tyler (played by singer / actress Billie Piper) to the manic genius of David Tennant’s portrayal of the time-traveling Doctor’s 12th incarnation.

Alien spacecraft over London, a homicidal Christmas tree, sword-fighting, and the regeneration of a severed limb. Magic. Pure and simple.

“Six words. Six.”

Now, The Unfortunate

Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

Hard on the heels of Superman: The Movie and its runaway success, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind and director Jeannot Szwarc tried to keep the money train rolling, by reinterpreting another legend.

Bad idea. Terrible.

Not even comedy-icon-of-the-moment Dudley Moore could save this turkey – which should have been roasted, at birth. Twice.

Turkey, indeed.


That’s what we’ll talk about next, I think. That, and reindeer.

Till then.