Movies You Don't Think Of When You Think Christmas Movies

yeah, yeahIt's A Wonderful White Christmas Carol Story On 34th Street instantly springs to mind whenever somebody says "Christmas Movie" but here are a few you should give thought to as alternative programming for the season

Hell's Heroes

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Hell's Heroes is the first sound version of The Three Godfathers, most famously filmed in 1948 with John Wayne.  Based on the novel by Peter B. Kyne, Three Godfathers has been filmed officially six times (2 silent versions, 3 talkies, 1 TV movie) and unofficially more than can be counted (see below).  Hell's Heroes is my favorite take on the tale, a story of three doomed desperadoes who sacrifice themselves to bring an infant to safety across the trackless desert.  It pops up occasionally on TCM so tell your DVD-R to look for it.

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Tokyo Godfathers

Tokyo Godfathers

So how in the world does a novel set in the American West translate into an animated feature set in 21st century Tokyo?  Very well, thank you.  The time and setting and characters have changed but it remains essentially the same story:  The desperate, the doomed, and the damned prove their humanity by saving an infant on Christmas Eve.  Highly recommended.

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Die Hard

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Oh, yeah, like you didn't see this one coming...

 

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

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The only James Bond movie with a song about Christmas trees.

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The Junky's Christmas

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Now, I know what you're thinking: You're thinking "Buzz has finally lost his pea-pickin' mind.  A story about a petty criminal drug addict trying to score a fix is his idea of a Christmas story?!?!?"

As a failed veep candidate would say:  "Hew betcha."  'Cuz The Junky's Christmas is William S. Burrough's meditation on the act of compassion even when it runs contrary to one's own self-interest.  It's the story of a jonesin' user who has the choice of feeding his addiction or helping a total stranger who needs his fix even more than he does.  Read the original short story, then watch the marvelous animated puppet film.

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Christmas On Mars

Christmas on Mars

No, this is the film where I finally lose my pea-pickin' mind.  Christmas On Mars is an indie sci-fi feature by the Oklahoma alt rock band, The Flaming Lips.  It's a clever, well made, intelligent, thoughtful, and ultimately uplifting tale of human colonists on Mars just trying to get through their daily routines without collapsing into despair and depression.

You see that Parental Advisory on the disc cover?

PAY ATTENTION TO THAT!

I recommend Christmas On Mars highly, but if you are among my many friends who are easily offended (and remember, if I think something might be a little iffy you can guess how far on beyond zebra it must be) take heed:  The aliens are modeled on something that's incredibly NSFW.  Santa Claus Conquers The Martians this ain't...

 

Honorable Mention: L.A. Confidential

LA_Confidential_Newspaper_Display_2Say what you will, the LAPD knows how to throw one helluva Christmas party...

 

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