Christmas tends to take over most things come the last month of the year, (and its even creeping its way into earlier months). Most TV programming will have a Christmas or Holiday theme to it and many of the stations that air full length movies will be running some holiday movie staples such as "Miracle on 34th street," "A Christmas Story," National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation" and many more.
While these are great, time-honored traditions, here are a few movies (in no particular order) that are often recognized as Christmas movies that really have nothing to do with Christmas or the holidays.
Die Hard © 1988 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Gordon Company
Many say that "Die Hard" is their favorite Christmas action movie. While a very good action movie, and to some one of the best, "Die Hard" has little claim to Christmas other than simply taking place during the holiday.
For those who haven't seen this film, (you need to watch it!) here's a quick synopsis:
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a New York cop in Los Angeles visiting his estranged wife. McClane stops by his wife's office where the company Christmas party is taking place. The festivities are cut short when a group of terrorists take over the building holding everyone in it hostage. John McClane finds himself being the only one capable of saving all of hostages.
While being there for a Christmas party does help the story progress by filling in various questions like why the whole company is there and why John flew to L.A., the party could have easily been the company having a good quarter and celebrating about it. Also, does anyone really need too much reason beyond they love someone and want to work things out to fly across the country?
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Die Hard © 1990 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Gordon Company
A common theme (besides being good action movies) shared between the first two "Die Hard" films is that they both are set around Christmas Eve.
A quick synopsis of Die Hard 2:
Set a year after the original, John McClane (Bruce Willis) gets caught up in yet another terrorist plot, this time at Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport. McClane is waiting for his wife to arrive so they can spend Christmas together with her family. A treasonous Col. Stuart (William Sadler) seizes control of the airport, threatening to crash all inbound flights.
Once again, had the airport itself not been decorated for Christmas, and had there not been lines giving credence to the holiday, then the viewers never would have known the film was set during the holiday. McClane's wife could have been getting back from a business trip, or flying in for a wedding, or any numerous amount of reasons that would mean a person is at an airport to pick up another person.
Gremlins © 1984, Warner Bros., Amblin Entertainment
Commonly associated with Christmas simply because it takes place primarily around Christmas, this film is much more a horror film than Christmas flick. While cutesy at times, it is also surprisingly gruesome.
A quick synopsis:
A salesman in search of the perfect gift for his son stops by a store in Chinatown. The shopkeeper reluctantly sells the man a "Moqwai" (think of something like a Furbie but much less annoying). With the "Mogwai" comes a list of instructions such as don't expose him to bright light, water, or feed him after midnight. One thing leads to another and you have a gang of mini green monsters terrorizing the town.
Even in my synopsis, I was able to tell the story (although extremely summarized) without mentioning Christmas. While having Christmas as part of the plot does allow for some cutesy holiday-themed moments, its not a necessary plot point. The movie could have just as easily taken place during Halloween and the "mogwai" been a birthday present instead of a Christmas present.
Home Alone © 1990 Hughes Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Another series commonly tied to the holidays is the "Home Alone" series. With everyone traveling for the holidays, the fear of leaving someone behind is understandable. (This is the main premise of the movie.)
A quick synopsis of "Home Alone":
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) gets into a scuffle with his brother the night before the family trip to Paris and is sent away to his room. In the confusionof trying to make it to the airport in time, the McCallisters manage to leave Kevin behind on accident. Kevin awakens to an empty house. He enjoys the privacy, at least until two burglars try to rob the McCallister residence. It's up to Kevin to stop them.
This is yet another synopsis without a single mention of Christmas. Aside from the family saying it's a Christmas vacation and the movie being set in winter, this could have taken place at any other time of the year. Some alternate plot devices to give reason for the family vacationing include, spring break, summer vacation, a honeymoon, or a relative's wedding.
Home Alone 2
Home Alone 2: Lost In New York © 1992 Hughes Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Yet again, Kevin manages to get himself lost while his family leaves for their Christmas vacation. He mistakenly boards a plane destined for New York City while the rest of his family flies to Florida. Once in New York, Kevin cons his way into a hotel room and quickly gets up to his usual antics. He discovers the Sticky Bandits (the same two goons Kevin disposed of in the original "Home Alone") are loose and have intentions of robbing a toy store. Kevin takes it upon himself to stop them before Christmas.
Aside from taking place during Christmas and there being Christmas decorations about, there is little tying this movie to the holiday. This could just as easily taken place during any other family vacation throughout the year. Instead of robbing a toy store on Christmas, it could have been a candy store on Halloween or a chocolate store on Valentine's Day.
Batman Returns © 1992, Warner Bros.
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
This film is associated with Christmas because it takes place during the holiday, it even features a tree lighting scene. This aside, little else ties the movie back to Christmas.
A Quick Synopsis:
The Penguin (Dani DeVito), who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham joins up with businessman Max Schreck (Christopher Walken) to take down the Batman (Michael Keaton). Schreck's business assistant Selena Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) finds out about their plans and Shreck tries to kill her. She then transforms into Catwoman and teams up with the penguin. After a violent run in with Batman leaves catwoman laying in a truck full of kitty litter, she seeks revenge on Batman but sparks fly unexpectedly when she finally confronts the caped crusader.
While it does help to have the movie take place during Christmas with the main villain being a penguin (they like it cold), its not a necessary plot device. This could have taken place at any other time of the year and still would have worked.
Reindeer Games © 2000, Dimension Films, Marty Katz Productions
This one actually ties into Christmas a bit more than the others, as it both takes place during Christmas and has a cute Christmasy name to go with it. Going off of the title and the movie's poster, you'd think the film would center around some kind of Christmas heist.
A quick synopsis:
Freshly released from prison, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) assumes the identity of his recently deceased former cell mate and meets up with his cellmates pen-pal-girlfriend. With his new identity comes some trouble as he finds himself a participant in a casino heist.
Aside from the gang of bandits using Santa suits as disguises and the movie taking place during Christmas there little to tie it to the holiday. As an alternate idea to the Santa Suit disguises, the gang could have easily dressed as casino employees.
So there you have it, Christmas movies that don't have anything to do with Christmas.
Can you think of any more? Leave them in the comments below!