When considering whether a Christmas movie should be identified as traditional or not, a list must first be made... and checked twice. What makes an Christmas movie an authentic Christmas movie? The feel good fuzzys is a great way to differentiate between the traditionals and the non traditionals. Is there a magical lesson to be learned by the end of a roller coaster story about loss of belief and cynicism and a fresh new outlook on the holiday season? Does our hardened hero find peace on earth and good will towards man by the end? Or is our jolly ol' merrimenter constantly battling holiday obstacles in his/her search of the holly jollys? Sounds like a traditional flick to me. Scrooged (or any Christmas Carol offspring), Elf, Chirstmas With The Kranks, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, The Christmas Chronicles, etc.
Now, what's great about the non traditionals is that they aren't exclusive to the guidelines listed above. Die Hard is a fantastic example. While this action-packed thriller is full of gun fights, explosions and naughty language, there's still an element of holiday cheer. It takes place during a Chirstmas party for Holly (come on!) McClaine's company. John McClaine gets into the spirit of the season with a tongue in cheek message to the bad guys when he dresses a dead one up as Santa. There's Christmas music on the soundtrack. And it snows in the end! Non traditional for sure. Ben Afleck's Reindeer Games follows the same format albeit a lesser action movie in all aspecsts. Maybe not a movie you'd watch in April but most are drawn to this lackluster action flick around this time of the year. The list goes on and on with Lethal Weapon topping the genre chart.
Comedy and horror movies have plenty of non traditionals to enjoy... Just Friends, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Trading Places, Black Christmas, Office Christmas Party, Krampus.
Then there are the movies that blur the line. As non traditional as they may seem, they still offer a special message by the end... Bad Santa, Trapped in Paradise, The Ref and other movies riddled with questional motives and language deserving of a Lifebuoy soap mouth rinsing.
But in the end, Chirstmas can only be found in your heart. And if Mel Gibson's Santa battling a scorned and crazed hitman gets you in the Christmas spirit then there's no need to put a label on Fatman.
Merry Christmas ya filthy animal!