Sick and tired of blowing the dust off Love Actually and The Holiday? Of watching well-acted performances in big budget, highly-produced movies? We don’t blame you. It can all get a bit samey.
Sometimes, when you’re nursing a hangover after the office Christmas party, retreating from arctic temperatures, or simply can’t be arsed with the usual festive TV fodder, the best cure is whacking on something that’s a bit, well, shit. Watching crap films is an indulgent pastime after all – and that’s what Christmas is all about.
There’s something inherently silly about Christmas movies, anyway. For some reason, bonkers storylines with lots of plot holes and dodgy acting feel much more acceptable in the realm of festive filmmaking. And there are plenty of so-bad-they’re-good flicks that deserve their moment in the spotlight. Need a little inspiration? Scroll on…
The Princess Switch (2018)
Chicago baker Stacey Nuovo (Vanessa Hudgens) is gearing up for a lonesome Crimbo as she prepares to compete in an equivalent of The Great British Bake Off in the fictional Kingdom of Belgravia. Instead of Prue and Paul, the cakes need to impress the Royal Family, which is how Stacey runs into Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro. The twist? The pair are identical and both played by Hudgens, with the only noticeable difference being Margaret’s extremely questionable British accent. After becoming pals, Stacey and Lady Margs decide to swap lives for a bit and, it turns out, they kind of like it. It’s no Parent Trap, but The Princess Switch’s cheesy wholesomeness makes up for that.
Streaming now on Netflix
Santa Girl (2019)
When Santa’s daughter gets into university in the “real world”, Mr. Claus isn’t too chuffed. He’d much rather Cassie (Jennifer Stone) stay safe and sound in the North Pole. But he’s got other stuff on his mind, too – namely a merger with Jack Frost (yes, really) to keep the business of Christmas running through an arranged marriage between Cassie Claus and Jack Frost’s son. After finding love among us mere mortals, Cassie decides she actually isn’t up for settling down with someone she doesn’t fancy, even though it might cost her dad everything. Sound a bit nuts? Definitely, and although Santa Girl has the overall feel of a university final project, it’s also kind of in on the joke, low-hanging gags and all.
Streaming now on Peacock
Michael Shannon is usually renowned for playing gritty roles in critically-acclaimed movies such Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals (for which he was Oscar-nominated) and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. In this strange number, though, Shannon plays Maynard Greiger, a local businessman who makes two unfortunate discoveries in one fell swoop. One, his wife is cheating on him. Two, she’s also a furry and poor old Maynard catches her at it in full costume, with Christmas just around the corner. Consumed by hurt and rage, he dresses up as a gorilla (don’t ask) before drunkenly running around his small hometown, screaming his head off. We all process things in our own way, eh? Next thing you know, Maynard’s on the news, with local residents mistakenly claiming to have spotted Bigfoot, who they’re now intent on hunting down. More chaos ensues and a wild time is had by all – especially you.
Streaming now on Netflix
No Sleep ’Til Christmas (2018)
When two insomniacs meet following an unfortunate car crash, they soon discover that the only way they can sleep is by getting into bed next to each other. Lizzie (Odette Annable) and Billy (Dave Annable) soon become indispensable to one another – Christmas is stressful enough without planning it on no sleep, right? But there’s a catch: Lizzie is engaged. And needing to sleep next to a random bloke who isn’t your fiancé can get pretty tricky. In this case, it also leads to romance, raising some moral questions that will definitely spark debates around the turkey.
Streaming now on Disney+
Santa’s Slay (2005)
Not slay as in yas queen! Slay as in: Santa is actually a child-hating demon who’s been pretending to be nice and now can’t take it anymore. Yes, that is genuinely the storyline for this film – and there’s more. In this universe, Santa is actually the devil’s only son. He lost a bet with an angel and, as a result, was forced to spread good vibes and Christmas cheer for thousands of years. Sounds exhausting. When the curse breaks, Santa’s sole mission is now to spread Yuletide fear. Did we mention he’s a murderous maniac, too? It’s good old-fashioned slapstick comedy for all the grinches out there.
Now streaming on Prime Video