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December 9, 2011

Six Degrees of Cheese: Christmas Break

'Tis the season for blinky lights, family fights and stress over money. I completely understand. This year, like the one before it, is filled with economic strife for many of us. Thankfully, we can escape into films that show us better or maybe even more exciting holiday experiences than our own. I'm not an inclusive "Happy Holidays" person. I'm an Atheist, so I don't really give a shit what you celebrate. I'm calling this the top holiday films because they aren't all centered specifically around Christmas. In fact, they aren't your typical holiday fare. They do, however, take place during the holiday season. Mainly, these are films that I think will take your mind off the usual holiday headaches.

Read on past the top six to see a list of honorable mentions as well as overrated holiday films to avoid. And on we go to jingling your bells.

#6 - Jack Frost

No, this is not the Michael Keaton feel good story about a dad that reincarnates as a snowman. Who the hell would watch that? This is the story of serial killer Jack Frost, who escapes police custody during the holiday season only to be drenched in toxic fluid on a snowbank. The radioactive mess dissolves Frost and causes his DNA to meld with the snow, creating a killer snowman that sets his sights and his rage on an entire town. This is fun, silly andfull of bad one-liners and ridiculous kill scenes. Only a real scrooge could watch this and not have a good time.

Buy Jack Frost on DVD

#5 - Gremlins

When Randall Peltzer brought home a cute furry little pet for his son Billy, he never expected little Gizmo to be the cause of the worst nightmare their town had ever seen. I remember seeing this movie in theaters, and I loved it. Even watching it today, this movie has some of the creepiest little monsters ever seen. Led by the vicious Stripe, the gremlins terrorize a small town at Christmas. There are so many fantastic death scenes to watch. There's a man pulled into a mailbox, Billy's mom cooking a gremlin in the microwave and my favorite, a mean old lady getting shot through a second story window. Add Phoebe Cates telling a bizarre story about her father dying in a chimney, and you have a holiday classic for the whole family.

Buy Gremlins on DVD and Blu-ray

#4 - Pink Flamingos

Okay, now you're wondering if this John Waters classic actually took place at Christmas. Well, it didn't, but the first time I saw it did. For years, my uncle told me about this movie, so when it was finally released on VHS, I knew I had to buy it for him for Christmas. He was blown away with the gift and insisted that we all watch it. All of us, including my mother, aunt and grandmother. I'm not sure if it was sex with live chickens, Babs blowing her own son or the singing asshole that made me think this was inappropriate holiday viewing, but when we interviewed Mink Stole, I told her the story, and even she was shocked. I guess that says it all.

Buy Pink Flamingos on DVD

#3 - The Hebrew Hammer

Adam Goldberg stars as the Jewish equivalent of Shaft, and Andy Dick plays the evil son of Santa Claus hell bent on destroying all holidays competing with Christmas. Sold yet? That was pretty much all I needed to check out this Comedy Central holiday movie. With the help of his black brothers, Mordechai, better known as the Hebrew Hammer, saved Hanukkah and Kwanzaa from sheer destruction.

Buy The Hebrew Hammer on DVD

#2 - The Santa Clause

Sure, it's a little odd when two guys in their twenties are sitting in a movie theater surrounded by parents and kids, but the trailers for The Santa Clause were too funny for my friend and I to pass up. This is the story of Scott Calvin, a single dad trying to make a connection with his son while working hard to climb up the ladder at a toy company. When Santa falls off a ladder at Calvin's house, he puts on the suit and has to finish delivering toys to all of the children of the world. He then has one year to prepare to be the next Santa, and he fights it all the way. This might be Tim Allen's best movie next to Galaxy Quest.

Buy The Santa Clause on DVD

#1 - Die Hard

How do you not put the greatest action star of my teenage years on top of this list? When a Christmas office party gets taken over by a group of terrorists, one rogue cop named John McClain steps up, sans shoes, to take on the bad guys. With bloody feet, limited weapons and a lot of ingenuity, our hero saves the day and leaves us with one of the most memorable movie catch phrases in history. This, to me, made Bruce Willis a bonafide action star, and three sequels later, it just keeps getting better. I'll just pretend part 2 never happened.

Buy Die Hard on DVD or Blu-ray

Honorable Mentions: Scrooged, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Christmas Vacation, Eight Crazy Nights, Mickey's Christmas Carol

Worth Avoiding: Bad Santa, Trapped in Paradise, A Christmas Story, The Grinch, The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs. Clause, The Nightmare Before Christmas

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