4 Festive Flicks

One of our favourite things to do during the holidays is to watch movies, lots and lots of movies. Like everyone else, we have our annual holiday must-sees, like Elf and Christmas Vacation, but we try to throw some new ones in the mix whenever we can too. Luckily, this year we found four that were released in the last two years that we had never seen! We've taken the liberty to screen them all for you, so you can consider them all Erin-and-Mike approved. Kick back with your mug of hot chocolate and tin of sugar cookies and enjoy!

Released just this past September, All Is Bright stars two of my favourite actors, Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd, as two Canadian ex-friends trying to sell Christmas trees in New York. The characters are a little more complicated than that, but the story is pleasantly simple and there's a dark humour that I found refreshing in a holiday film.

People like to hate on Ed Burns sometimes, but I've always liked him and his movies, and The Fitzgerald Family Christmas is no exception. It's a touching story of the dynamics between seven siblings struggling to come to terms with the return of their estranged father on Christmas. Similar to All is Bright, it is somehow both melancholic and uplifting at the same time and thankfully doesn't stoop to sappiness like a lot of family dramas do.

Arthur Christmas: this title is unfortunate — we had always dismissed it, thinking it was about Arthur, that educational TV series about an Aardvark. I'm so happy it's not. (Sorry, Arthur). It's a truly fantastic animated film that had these two adults giggling like little elves. I thought it was beautifully animated, smart, funny and touching (I'll admit I shed a tear at the end). I can only imagine its effect on kids!

Six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure, buds Harold Lee and Kumar Patel return in  A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. I've never been a big fan of the H&K movies and the overt 3D effects were annoying here, but like all over-the-top slapsticky stoner comedies, it had its hilarious moments. And in the end, I'd prefer to watch a stupidly silly Christmas comedy than a holiday horror. Which brings me to my honourable mention...

The fourth pick was a toss-up between Harold & Kumar and Rare Exports, which is basically a thriller about Santa Claus. It was shot beautifully and had me on the edge of my seat, but the ending was really strange and, let's face it, who really wants to watch a Christmas movie where Santa is the devil? Really. If that's your thing, by all means, watch this one.

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