‘Tis the Season to curl up by the fire and chill with some Netflix and your loved ones. But you wouldn’t get the same thing for your brother as you would your grandparents, so why pick the same old holiday standbys that are supposed to be for “everyone?” This Christmas List is a handpicked streaming assortment for every special someone in your life this holiday.
For the Kids: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (Netflix)
Jim Carrey hams it up as the big green Grinch in Ron Howard’s adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic. There’s a lot of Carrey scowling beneath some ridiculous green makeup, boisterous singing and some bad “Who” related puns. The kids will enjoy it just fine, but any parental supervision for this one is recommended with some eggnog.
For the ‘90s Kids: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Netflix)
No one needs an excuse to revisit this classic stop motion gem about Jack Skellington, the beloved Pumpkin King of Halloweentown who tries to spice up Halloween by introducing some Christmas spirit into the festivities. If you’ve never seen it, the film remains a dazzling and imaginative trip to another world with animation that’s timeless.
For the Whole Family: “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (HBO Go/Now)
“That’s scary stuff. Should we be worried about the kids in the audience? Nah, this is culture.” Muppets already make everything better, but we can agree this is the best of the “Christmas Carol” adaptations, right?
For Something New: “El Camino Christmas” (Netflix)
Netflix’s latest original is a black comedy about a Christmas Eve liquor store robbery gone wrong. Vincent D’Onofrio, Tim Allen, Dax Shepard, Luke Grimes and Jessica Alba star in David E. Talbert’s film, and co-written by Theodore Melfi of “Hidden Figures” and “St. Vincent.”
For Something Old: “A Christmas Carol” and “The Star of Bethlehem” (Fandor)
Filmmakers have been making Christmas movies for as long as they’ve been a thing. Fandor has dug up a 1910 silent movie short of “A Christmas Carol” and another silent short from 1915, the Biblical epic “The Star of Bethlehem.” The former jams in everything but Tiny Tim, and the latter manages a cast of hundreds to tell the story of Christ’s birth.
For the TCM Fan: “White Christmas” (Netflix)
If you’re sick of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th St.” but still want to watch something classic, check out Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” which doesn’t have the same story as those two holiday favorites but is a darling musical featuring Bing Crosby’s iconic, baritone rendition of the title song.
For the Indie Fans: “Tangerine” (Netflix)
In the first film from Sean Baker, who directed this year’s “The Florida Project,” there’s no snow or even holiday cheer to be seen in “Tangerine.” It’s set on Christmas Eve on the sun-drenched streets of LA as two transgender women march through town on a war path to track down an unfaithful and duplicitous boyfriend. Not exactly a festive feel good movie.
For the Art House Snob: “A Christmas Tale” (Filmstruck/Hulu)
This French dramedy from director Arnaud Desplechin stars Catherine Deneuve as the matriarch of the Vuillard family and Mathieu Amalric as the outcast black sheep who was “banished” from the family six years earlier. Now Deneuve has contracted cancer, and Amalric is the only one who can provide a transfer. It’s festive family dysfunction over two and a half hours for that Cannes crowd.
For the Scrooge: “Bad Santa” (Netflix/Hulu)
Beneath the glorious profanity and the miserable, jaded apathy of its main character, “Bad Santa” has such a warm heart and strong values about how the truly bad people in the world aren’t the ones who swear, screw and drink, but the ones who bully, neglect and even kill. It’s like “The Grinch,” but don’t watch it with your kids.
For the Action Fan: “Die Hard” (Max Go/Apple Rent/Amazon Rent)
The eternal question: Is “Die Hard” a Christmas movie? It’s a bit like asking if “Get Out” is a comedy in addition to being a horror movie. Everything is just more fun when you assume that it is. And as a companion present, be sure to add “A Die Hard Christmas: The Illustrated Holiday Classic” to your holiday shopping list.