Christmas is nearly here, which means you've got only a few weeks left to binge-watch all the fun holiday fare your computer and the Hallmark Channel has to offer. Though some of us prefer to spend the Yuletide season watching family-friendly masterpieces like Orphan or the Saw series, others like to celebrate Baby Jesus's birth with movies that feature a Christmas tree somewhere. Here are our favorite Christmas films streaming on Netflix right now; illegally download Orphan here.
BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY: In addition to being a great way to understand the basic plot of Pride and Prejudice without reading it, Bridget Jones is one of those rare magical films that manages to be about love, sex, Colin Firth's face, and the power of Spanx without succumbing into saccharine Love, Actually-ness. It is also bookended by Christmas, a fact one forgets until one sees the aforementioned Colin Firth in his sexy reindeer sweater.
EYES WIDE SHUT: When you've had your fill of feel-good, nutmeg-scented visions of Christmas sugarplums, it's time to chase down the happy vibes with Eyes Wide Shut, one of the creepiest holiday-timed films. Set in NYC (but filmed on soundstages in England) during the holidays, Kubrick's final film begins at a holiday party with a dead prostitute (and a shirtless Sydney Pollack) and ends with an incredibly awkward dirty-talk scene in FAO Schwartz. In between, Tom Cruise gets thrown out of an orgy and Nicole Kidman gets stoned. This was filmed back when they were a couple in real life, and their on-screen chemistry is intense. See it with someone you love and respect and with whom you have zero issues to work out. (Or watch it alone with Full Metal Jacket as a pick-me-up; there's a Christmas scene in that one too.) (John Del Signore)
ABOUT A BOY: The most fascinating thing about this surprisingly sweet Hugh Grant film is that apparently one can make SO much money writing a single Christmas song that their adult son will never have to work and can get his hair cut at a swanky salon once a week. That's one Christmas-related tidbit, but like all good holiday films, the main plot here is bookended by Yuletide, and I'm fairly certain pre-hot Nicholas Hoult gets a Mystikal CD as a present, so that's dope.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: I watched this movie over and over and over and over again as a very young child, which explains a lot about my obsession with public transportation and The O.C.. A young and softspoken Sandra Bullock falls in love with Peter Gallagher's eyebrows, and then Peter Gallagher falls into a coma, which is very scary. But Sandra Bullock **SPOILER ALERT** falls in love with Peter Gallagher's family and the dad from Casper and she drinks some very booze-heavy eggnog. This is a good movie.
BAD SANTA: Bad Santa is probably the best Christmas movie, in that it establishes that inside all mall Santas is either a con man or my editor. The best thing about this film, aside from literally every word either Billy Bob Thornton or Thurman Merman says in it, is that it takes place in Phoenix, Arizona, a place where Christmas still exists even though any sensible human would die upon immediately donning a very warm Santa beard. Also, apparently Santa fetishes exist, which is slightly disturbing, but everyone's into their own thing.
THE ICE HARVEST: It always baffles me when John Cusack is cast in a role other than a lovestruck young man who's obsessed with dogs/records/John Malkovich/"In Your Eyes," but sometimes he plays a mob lawyer, and it turns out great. If you want to see Christmas through the lens of a wickedly cynical, noir comedy, this is the movie for you. The majority of Harold Ramis's film takes place on Christmas Eve, which, it turns out, is a great time to go on a strip club crawl, and the final scene takes place on Christmas Day, which is apparently a great time to go to Six Flags. Other people have better holidays than you do, but at least yours will probably never suck as bad as Cusack's, Billy Bob Thorton's, and Oliver Platt's Christmas is in this one.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Did you guys know that the voice of Jack Skellington is also Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride? Did I just ruin this movie for you? I'm sorry. It's still good, I promise. Patrick Stewart does the narration, so that probably cancels out all the weirdness.
A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS: Grumpy man, actor extraordinaire, and potential cult leader Bill Murray has made a Christmas special, and though it's probably not as good as his award-winning (in my heart) performance in Space Jam, both Miley Cyrus and George Clooney are in it, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.