In lieu of an official top ten, our finest satirist-in-residence Chris Bunker counts down the movies to crowd ’round with the whole fam-damily.
Horrible Bosses 2
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Interview (wop wop wah)
The Theory of Everything
How to Train Your Dragon 2
10. Two Night Stand
Christmas came early with Two Night Stand, which netted $18K (that’s thousand) at the box-office back in September. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who’s seen this movie, which is really too bad because it is spectacular. Disclaimer: This film is not about two nightstands weathering a frigid blizzard while trapped in Miles Teller’s overly spacious New York apartment. At the onset it seems like we might be headed for something just as dull.
The film stars Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton. She’s a dry speller: she hasn’t — you know, “done it” — in months, and as depression and unemployment seem to be taking over her life post-college, her friend tries to get her to hook up with someone for the holiday season. She sets up an online profile on whiteactorsmeet.com and Miles Teller is lucky enough to reel this stinky fish in. Tipton wants the D like misspelle, and he is more than obliging in giving her a New Year’s gift she can’t return to Best Buy.
After their hook-up, the two get stuck in Teller’s apartment after a huge blizzard puts the city on lockdown. Over the course of their “Two Night Stand”, Teller gets more slot than an old widow at Treasure Island and Tipton gets more dong than the Liberty Bell at two o’clock. Which, I guess is just three dongs.
There’s a lot more to this movie than just the “stand.” Stunningly well-written and at times an incredibly accurate depiction of today’s hook-up culture, this is a Christmas rom-com people really should see. And it got me thinking about those two night-stands. How did they get where they are? Who gave them their color, their shape, their embossing, their gloss? What are they supporting, what weight do they carry? How did they get their cracks, their stains? After all, aren’t we all just night-stands in the dark, hoping one day someone might come turn the light on and look to us for a little support, open our drawers and learn what’s inside? It’s lonely at night in the dark. Pop on Two Night Stand with a loved one and get in the giving mood.
9. The Judge
Pretty much everyone can only take so much of their family during the holiday season before things go haywire. The Judge really isn’t a holiday movie, but it’s one you should catch all the same. Robert Downey Jr., a big-shot Chicago lawyer,makes a trip back to Buttcrack, Indiana to attend his mother’s funeral. His Dad’s the town judge (he’s also Robert Duvall), but the whole father-son relationship thing never really worked out between these two law-abiding men. As more to their history unfolds and Downey and Duvall chip away at each other’s’ cold hearts, the film catches fire. The dialogue is somewhat Sorkin-esque, but that was only a bad thing in Seasons 2-3 of The Newsroom. Catch The Judge and enjoy knowing that your family isn’t the only one that’s screwed up.
8. Ernest & Celestine
My favorite animated film ever, Ernest & Celestine is delightful, playful, simple and warm enough to melt even the most frozen hearts (you heard me, Elsa). This movie is the equivalent of a warm blanket by the fire, as Ernest, a big bumbling bear, and Celestine, a delicate little mouse, cuddle up far from a society that can’t accept them. You’re only hurting yourself if you don’t get a taste of this beautiful movie this holiday season. Better hope Santa brings you this one for X-mas.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel
You really can’t go wrong with Wes Anderson, and his latest installment just might be his best yet. With a slow-paced humor that peppers famous actors everywhere and laughs in every moment, TGBH is tasteful and visually delectable. With Ralph Fiennes, Ed Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafore, Léa Seydoux, Jeff Goldblum, Jeff Schwartzman, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson to name just a few, get the old band together and cut yourself a piece of Budapest.
Bong Joon-Ho’s frigid train-movie is among my favorites of 2014 and an absolute brain-wrecker. Chris Evans is getting way more hype for Cap’ 2, but this film is ten times better and a marvel of story-telling. Tracking the last survivors of an Earth-freezing apocalypse who live on a self-sustaining, endlessly running train circling around the frozen globe, Joon-Ho’s film is a must-see. If you’re in the mood for some snow this Channukah season, don’t miss Snowpiercer.
5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Well, he’s not got much time before he gets buried by time. I’m going off of past experience alone, as I still haven’t been able to catch the last Peter Jackson LOTR movie ever (L). The LOTR series has been a hallmark of Christmases this entire century, and I’m so, so, so sad to see them go. As Jackson isn’t an asshole, and I’ve never been disappointed by a Middle Earth tale, this one’s sure to be worth the watch. Leave your Hobbit hole for a couple hours and join the adventure while you still can. How can you resist Bilbo and Gandalf?
Just kidding. I’m dauntless! F*ck. This. Movie. Just wanted to say it one last time this year. #CANDOR
The “12 Years a Boy” thing seems kind of boring, but Richard Linklater has given the world the best cinematic present anyone could ask for this year. Following Ellar Coltrane’s childhood and family as 12 years fly by, you’ll be reminded why that screwed up family of yours might not be so bad after all. I don’t rank this nostalgic movie any higher (though it certainly deserves to be higher) because no one needs to shed a tear for Christmas. That’s what Christmas Shoes was for.
Sorry, this is also a joke. Couldn’t pass this up: “WE’RE GOING TO AFRICA!!!”
3. Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise has subtly been churning out quality movies for the past two years now. Edge of Tomorrow was his best. The “Live, Die, Repeat” premise is fun and well-executed, and there’s enough action, humor and Tom Cruise running to make this one an ‘A’ for me. I’ve seen this film four times now and it’s only gotten better with age. Cruise may not be a fine wine but he’s at least two Forty’s and a FourLoko. Can you think of a better combo for the holidays?
2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
This one tops my “Best Films to Watch On an International Flight” and “Best Andy Serkis Performance Since LOTR: The Return of the King” lists. This film is just flat out fantastic from beginning to end, with amazing graphics from Weta Digital, inscrutable performances from Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Toby Kebbell (playing the best villain of 2014, “Koba”), and so much more. Stuff your stockings with DOTPOTA. Don’t do it for me. Do it because Jesus would want you to.
1. Gone Girl
If you’re concerned a significant other might be cheating, bring them along to Gone Girl and see how they react. Based off of the incredible Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, this film is the best I’ve seen all year and traumatizingly good. Sure to net Oscar nominations all across the board (notably “Best Actress” for Rosamund Pike), Ben Affleck’s latest film is notable just for his unit alone. David Fincher directs a twisting, blood-clotting, brain-breaking suspense-thriller that transcends genre and classification. If you watch any movie this Christmas season, it needs to be Gone Girl. Trust me; it’ll bring the whole family together.
Dishonorable Mention: Jingle All The Way 2
Every Holiday movie list needs at least one Christmas movie; enter Jingle All The Way 2, starring everyone’s favorite, Larry The Cable Guy. This straight-to-video film produced by the WWE (seriously) had a budget of $5 million, which I’m assuming all went towards Christmas lights and fake snow. Considering this is a sequel to the (Minneapolis-filmed!) 1996 Schwarzenegger movie that most consider to be the worst Christmas movie ever, you can’t get much better than Jingle All The Way 2. If you love bad movies, put that gingerbread cookie down, grab some popcorn and revel in this holiday mess.