December: a time for cheer, a time for festivities, a time for awful "Netflix and chill" jokes (because it's cold outside -- get it?). OK, it's just a time for Netflix. With the season upon us, we wrapped the best Christmas movies currently streaming on the platform and placed them under your tree.
Acquired Taste: Blood Rice Cakes With Timothy DeLaGhetto and Justina Valentine
A Christmas Prince (2017)
A Christmas Prince is the first title in what has become Netflix's favorite holiday franchise, and the streamer's original release that signaled their intention to outdo Hallmark's annual packed calendar of originals. Following a journalist sent to profile a prince as he prepares to become king around the holidays, it's the ideal kind of movie to settle into if you're eager to embrace an over-the-top holiday tale. Things get pretty royally ridiculous as sparks start to fly between writer and subject, but their chemistry and the palace setting makes this movie reign over other TV movies of the same vein.
About a Boy (2002)
Will Freeman, the protagonist of About a Boy played by Hugh Grant, is a classic Grinch. He doesn't like kids; he lives a life of decadent luxury; he seduces and discards vulnerable women; and he rejects Christmas cheer, a scorn he's carried ever since his father penned the joyfully tacky novelty hit "Santa's Super Sleigh." That all changes when he meets an awkward boy named Marcus (X-Men's Nicholas Hoult) and strikes up a peculiar friendship. Watching Grant's heart grow a couple sizes has never been this fun, and a moving supporting turn from Toni Collette -- along with a sneaky-great Badly Drawn Boy soundtrack -- make this essential droll holiday viewing.
Black Mirror's "White Christmas"
Charlie Brooker's 73-minute Christmas special interweaves three tales of techno-paranoia to tackle the future of dating, hiring personal assistants, and blocking people. Though Jon Hamm's megawatt power can be distracting at times, he's the linchpin of this still-potent 2014 Black Mirror gem, which ends with a resounding WUT?! Fans frequently cite this gripping entry as one of their favorites -- if not favorite -- and rightfully so. Just be sure to leave your optimism at the door.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Kurt Russell is Santa Claus! Repeat: Kurt Russell is Santa Claus! Netflix's push to create an infinite stream of content for all seasons may or may not mean the streaming giant has its very own Christmas Cinematic Universe, but either way, you can watch Kurt do his thing as a gruff Santa daddy whose sleigh crashes thanks to some meddling kids. Will Christmas be saved? Only one way to find out!
Christmas With the Kranks (2004)
Tim Allen is America's spiritual conservative dad, and Christmas With the Kranks is his model train set: a sentimental project that's relatively harmless. The Kranks (Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) are a couple that tries to skip Christmas now that their daughter's left home, a big no-no in their holiday-obsessed neighborhood. When said daughter decides to surprise them with a trip home, can the Kranks cancel their Caribbean cruise and throw together holiday cheer on short notice? Watch to find out! Or you could read the John Grisham book (seriously) that provided the source material.
An experimental film about the decaying phases of a roaring fire. OK, no, it’s a frickin’ yule log. But enjoy its endless crackling!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
There's no topping Chuck Jones's 1966 TV adaptation of Dr. Seuss' classic kids book, but if anyone could breathe whimsical, wicked life into The Grinch, it's the elastic man himself, Jim Carrey. The lavish production recreates every nook and cranny of Whoville and cakes Carrey in 10 tons of prosthetics; over the course of two zany hours, both the mean, green, Christmas-hating fiend and his targets, the hyper-materialistic Whos, learn a thing or two about being human.
By returning to 2D, hand-drawn animation, writer/director Sergio Pablos (Despicable Me, Smallfoot) creates a contemporary holiday marvel in Klaus. The gorgeous film gives an origin story to Santa and the tradition of children writing him letters by telling the story of a postal service worker named Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) sent to work on a desolate, wintery isle where he eventually meets a reclusive toy maker named Klaus (J.K. Simmons). Rashida Jones and Joan Cusack join an A+ cast that brings their charm, but it's the detailed backdrop of the endearing Nordic-inspired art that gives this movie all the whimsical joy needed to warm your heart around the holidays. We wouldn't be surprised if this goes on to become a new Christmas classic.
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas (2018)
While fans of the Ezra Koenig-helmed, Jaden Smith-voiced anime Neo Yokio have yet to hear news of a Season 2 release date, the series did get a Christmas special. In the flick, Smith's Kaz finds himself overwhelmed with all of the joy and festivities around him, from Secret Santa to family visits, and ultimately is forced to face off with his nemesis, Arcangelo (Jason Schwartzman), who's celebrating the holiday on his own terms. If you want your Christmas with a dash of ironic, self-aware jokes about original content, Pink Christmas is your jam.
Tree Man (2016)
From James-Beard-winning author Jon Reiner and documentarian Brad Rothschild, producer of such gentle non-fiction films as “The Killing Jar,” about a small-town hostage crisis, and “Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald,” a profile of four concentration camp survivors, comes a sweet true story perfect for the holidays. Tree Man follows François, a father of three from Québec who descends upon Manhattan each holiday season to deliver picture perfect trees to the people of New York City. It's a tough business, but someone has to do it. The Reiner and Rothschild's film observes the highs and lows of the tannenbaum biz, jingling with truth in a way that only a documentary could.
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
"We've got food, we've got booze, we've got attractive people" -- this is a real line from last year's Bill Murray-led holiday romp. Also, a bit of an understatement. George Clooney, Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, Jason Schwartzman, Michael Cera, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, and Paul Shaffer are all on hand to argue, laugh, and make your Christmas Eve feel a little like a star-studded night of karaoke. Clocking in at less than an hour, the Sofia Coppola-helmed special is well worth a watch if any of the names above make you smile.
White Christmas (1954)
Sometimes the most comforting choice is the best choice. Elevated by joyful performances from Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, this warm Snuggie of a movie doesn't push against any conventions of the holiday season, subvert any Yuletide tropes, or even make that much sense. But none of that matters when you've got scenes like the above.