Christmas Day is for children, even the movies families share, from wakey-wakey to beddy-bye time.
Then it’s the grownups’ turn. With children nestled snug in their beds, start a new holiday tradition of adults-only Christmas-themed movie watching.
Love, Actually doesn’t count; we’re going edgier here. Neither do Die Hard, Bad Santa, The Ref or any other R-rated holiday movie you can already recite lines from. Get daring and try something new.
Here are some diverse suggestions, each special for the occasion and definitely not for children. Earmuffs.
You’d better watch out, don’t cry or pout because Santa Claus is coming to eat you. Young Max (Emjay Anthony) flouts that suggestion, raising a holiday demon and his gingerbread minions. It’s all played for Gremlins-style laughs by Adam Scott and Toni Collette as Max’s horrified parents. Don’t let the PG-13 rating fool you; between the jokes Krampus is nightmare stuff. (Available on Amazon and HBO.)
29th Street (1991)
A criminally overlooked gem based on the true story of Frank Pesce (Anthony LaPaglia), who won the first New York Lottery on Christmas Eve and quickly regretted it. It’s the latest stroke of luck in his charmed life, angering his father (Danny Aiello), whose luck ran out long ago. 29th Street is equal parts Moonstruck and Mean Streets, a Queens tale giving feel-good a good name. Only a barrage of f-bombs prevented a PG-13 rating that might have made it a box office hit. Still, the movie is in demand. (Used DVDs at amazon.com are going for $89.99 and up. Ebay has VHS or Laserdisc for less than $10. Otherwise, it’s currently showing on Comcast’s XfinityTV.)
Before crafting this year’s The Florida Project, director Sean Baker turned his camera — actually an iPhone camera — on another story of marginalized lives. Baker cast two transgender women with no acting experience (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor) as Hollywood prostitutes on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who did them wrong. Tangerine is a screwball buddy comedy at heart, a series of mishaps that the girls plow through with profane grace. (Available on Netflix.)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Okay, maybe your kids watched Krampus and weren’t disturbed by the PG-13 terror. This demon Santa Claus flick from Finland is another, grislier story altogether. Two young boys believe a mountain drilling project has uncovered Santa’s tomb and he isn’t jolly about it. Children are disappearing. Reindeer are slaughtered and a feral geezer caught in a wolf trap knows why. Rare Exports only gets bloodier when Santa’s elves show up. (Available on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.)