There’s a whole bunch of lead up and anticipation as we race towards the Holiday season, but it’s hard to figure out how best to begin your celebrations. Well, this time of year is all about celebrating with family and/or friends and what better way to do that than gathering up your nearest and dearest to watch a bunch of Christmas movies. While there are many movies to choose from, there are two men that are synonymous with Christmas – seriously they will shove it anywhere, even if it doesn’t make any sense. The masters of movies you didn’t know where set at Christmas: Tim Burton and Shane Black.
Now everyone knows the hardest part of a movie marathon is deciding the order to watch. Luckily for you, I did hours of experimentation to work out the best possible schedule for your Black/Burton evening of holiday fun. So gather round the fake fire (I’m in Australia, we have a total fire ban in force since we already live on the surface of the sun) and let me outline the ultimate Shane Black/Tim Burton Christmas experience!
ONE: The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Yes, I know Burton didn’t actually direct this film (that honour goes to Henry Selick) but it was based on his story and he did co-produce, plus it’s marketed as TIM BURTON’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, so it definitely counts. This movie is the perfect way to begin the marathon, because not only does it teach you the meaning of Christmas (or something like that) it’s also family friendly so any youngsters that have yet to be banished to bed can join the fun – for a little while anyway. It’s got catchy tunes, and opens some interesting topics of discussion like: just how racist is Oogie Boogie?
TWO: Batman Returns (1992)
That’s right, we’re starting off this monster marathon with a Burton double feature. The second – and final – film Burton directed about Gotham’s masked crusader, Batman Returns is on my must watch list of Christmas movies every year (it’s up there with Die Hard and Love Actually). Honestly this is probably one of the most Christmas-y movies on this list. It’s got snow, Christmas trees and even a mistletoe kisses. Warning: do not get started on the who is the best Batman debate because it you might not make it to the next movie, and that would be awful because it’s a good one.
THREE: Iron Man 3 (2013)
When I saw this film at the cinema, I was most excited to discover that it was set at Christmas time because that meant I could add it to my yearly holiday viewing list. Okay, so I was mostly hyped that Marvel didn’t screw up the first film after The Avengers but the Christmas thing was pretty excited as well. The newest film on in the marathon, but still just as worthy as the others. With Pepper’s Christmas gift, and Tony’s heartbreaking Merry Christmas message, Iron Man is sure to become a holiday fave. And it’s pretty cool that we have something from both DC and Marvel, so we can please all tastes. Thank goodness for Shane Black’s Christmas fetish.
FOUR: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
Robert Downey Jr is back and this time it’s got something to do with Hollywood – I hope you’re not sick of him. Although I’m not entirely sure that’s possible. Shane Black’s second film for this marathon is slightly more obscure that the others. If the children are not in bed by now then I might have to question your guardianship skills. This movie’s got everything, murder, mistaken identity and a Robert Downey Jr/Val Kilmer kiss, all in front of a Christmas backdrop. The good thing about this movie is that there’s a decent chance many of your marathon buddies haven’t seen it. Trust me they’ll thank you for introducing them to this gem.
FIVE: Lethal Weapon (1987)
Not going to lie, I had totally forgotten that this was a Christmas movie until last year. It’s lucky I was reminded because otherwise this list might have been lopsided and that just wouldn’t do (Other Shane Black movies take place at Christmas but this one just fits so well). Lethal Weapon is the perfect film to put on when everyone’s gotten a little bit loose. After a few eggnogs this movie, the epitome of eighties buddy cop, gets so much better. “Jingle Bell Rocks” plays in the opening – and the film ends with Mel Gibson’s Riggs joining Danny Glover’s Murtaugh (and family) for Christmas dinner.
SIX: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
After Lethal Weapon, marathon attendees might be getting a little too old for this… stuff. Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands is just the movie to change the pace and get everyone chilled and snuggly. While this film is actually kind of sad, there’s a kind of bittersweet optimism that helps avoid a complete breakdown. By the end, everyone will be Winona Ryder standing in the snow that Johnny Depp made just for them. Plus it’s safe to assume most people have seen Edward Scissorhands, so if you fall asleep it’s no big deal.
Well there you are, the perfect movie marathon to get your holiday season started. So grab you friends, pick up some pop corn and get cosy for a some strange – but also delightful – Chrissy cheer.
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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