2) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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National Lampoon was originally a cutting edge American humour magazine that started in the 1970’s at Harvard University. The magazine got so popular that it spawned radio, live theatre and films, the first film being a made-for-TV production, called Disco Beaver from Outer Space – it wasn’t very successful. The next film, that everyone remembers, was the much more successful National Lampoon’s Animal House, so successful, in fact, that the National Lampoon name was seen as a guaranteed sell. Since then many films were made by the original company, that did the first two films, and others who the National Lampoon name was licenced off to.

In the third outing of National Lampoon’s Vacation series, Clark Griswold tries to make his Christmas the best one for his family, including his and his wife’s bickering parents and an unexpected visit from his wife’s cousin Catherine and her dense but bighearted husband. No matter whatever Clark Griswold tries, things don’t always go to plan, especially for his long suffering neighbours.

Most funniest moment: When Clark Griswold goes into the living room and notices that the Christmas tree lights have gone off, he decides to investigate and sees that the Christmas lights have been unplugged from the sockets. Unknown to him, moments before, their aunt’s cat had been chewing the cables and has dragged them and itself under the chair. As Clark plugs in the second plug, the Christmas tree lights short out in a bang and a cat-like yelp and a second short out happens under the chair. Clark and his wife pull back the smouldered chair to find a burnt outline of the vaporised cat on the carpet.

Most Christmassy moment: After a couple of attempts to get the 25,000 exterior twinkle lights on the house working, the Griswold family finally get to enjoy the decorated exterior of the house.

 

1) Bad Santa

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So here we are, the final film that we consider as our number one. A film that although has dark humour and is told from the point of view from a criminal, rather than a mean spirited person or an under privileged child, still carries that same formula of the lead character changing his/her outlook thanks to the spirit of Christmas.

Willie and Marcus are professional thieves that steal from shopping malls by dressing up as Santa and his elf and taking the job of store Santa so that they can easily perform their inside job without suspicion. However, Willie, unlike Marcus, is an alcoholic and gradually cannot perform his Santa duties properly, much to the annoyance of Marcus. Willie ends up begrudgingly befriending a bullied boy that thinks he’s the real Santa, the relationship between the two turn to almost father and son by the end of the film.

Most funniest moment: Willie decides to teach Thurman (the boy he befriends) how to box so that he can defeat his bullies and uses Marcus as Thurman’s boxing partner, despite Marcus’ disability of Dwarfism, which means that he’s shorter than Thurman. Willie gets Thurman to try and aggressively growl at Marcus and fails. The second attempt yields an unexpected extra where Thurman also kicks Marcus in the crotch. Marcus responds by angrily punching Thurman in the crotch. Willie berates Marcus for his actions which gets Willie’s crotch punched by Marcus. Willie responds similarly. The scene ends with all three of them on the floor in pain.

Most Christmassy moment: After the Christmas decorations are put up in Thurman’s house by Willie and his new girlfriend, Willie is outside setting up the makeshift lights outside the house as part of the neighbourhood decorations. Thurman asks him for the usual (getting milk or making sandwiches) and instead of berating or rebuffing Thurman, Willie smiles and just lets Thurman make as many sandwiches as he wanted to make.

 

I hope you enjoyed our list and maybe we've added a film or two that you can watch over the Christmas period. If you want to add your own list, then let us know in the comments below.