RT's Top Yuletide Comedies -- Christmas Countdown, Day One

by | December 18, 2006 | Comments

Welcome to RT’s Five Days of Christmas Countdown, where we serve up a different list each day of the best holiday flicks around. Today, feast your eyes on the Top Christmas Comedies — a little Billy Bob, a little Will Ferrell, and at least one triple dog dare — and prepare to get in the holiday spirit.

The holidays are here, and it’s time to break out your sleds, roast your chestnuts, and watch a movie or five about yuletide magic (or a decided lack thereof). Chances are you’ve seen enough Christmas movies to know that just because you stick a Santa hat on something, it isn’t necessarily worth watching (yes, "Jingle All the Way," we’re looking at you). And when in doubt regarding your best viewing for any occasion, as always, we’re here to help; the merry elves at Rotten Tomatoes have listed the Tomatometers, checked them twice, and will be presenting, over the next five days, the best holiday films in the following categories: Classics, Comedies, Animated/Children’s, Dramas, and Thrillers. Pour yourself a cup of eggnog and get ready for some fine seasonal viewing!

"It’s the most wonderful time of the year…"

Top 5 Yuletide Comedies

First, the holiday comedy — surely one of the most problematic genres in all of cinema. Luckily, we’re here to help you navigate the tinsel-strewn minefields of holiday humor; all five of these films are as fresh as the day they were picked. Ho, ho, ho!

5) Bad Santa (2003) 74%

Regarded skeptically upon its release in 2003, "Bad Santa" has gone on to find new life as a rental cult classic for folks who like a little bourbon in their cinematic eggnog. The setup is simple — Billy Bob Thornton is a larcenous department-store Santa — but it’s the little touches that make the movie worth revisiting, from Bernie Mac as a mall detective to John Ritter (in one of his last roles) as a store manager. There are reasons this film caused a mild uproar, but if you’ve got the sense of humor for it, "Bad Santa" might find its way into your perennial holiday lineup.

Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac
Directed by: Terry Zwigoff

4) The Santa Clause (1994) 78%

Consider it the anti-"Bad Santa": the first entry in Tim Allen‘s yuletide trilogy doesn’t have a mean bone in its goofy red and green body — and though subsequent sequels about the everyman-turned-Saint Nick have been ill-advised at best, "The Santa Clause" is better than you might remember. Though Allen has always seemed a little too small for the big screen, and the jokes are often broad enough to paint a barn door, this is a fine choice for viewers with kids. Or viewers who just want to feel like kids for a couple of hours.

Starring: Tim Allen, Judge Reinhold
Directed by: John Pasquin

3) The Ref (1994) 79%

This wasn’t Denis Leary‘s first feature film, but it was his first starring vehicle, and its low crap quotient — along with its release hot on the heels of Leary’s hit "No Cure for Cancer" album — helped make it a higher-profile affair than certain subsequent Leary films. It isn’t perfect, and certainly, if you’re a fan of the late Bill Hicks, "The Ref" is probably the last Denis Leary film you ever want to see — but that being said, the comedian’s ceaseless ranting is at its most palatable here, and Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis add a nice touch as Leary’s feuding captives. No patience for holiday cheer? "The Ref" might be the movie for you.

Starring: Denis Leary, Judy Davis
Directed by: Ted Demme

2) Elf (2003) 85%

Every star in the firmament had to align in order to make a picture about a man-child who believes himself one of Santa’s elves anything more than fodder for horrible late-night movie marathons — and, with "Elf," align themselves they did. Will Ferrell has the perfect blend of naïveté and oafishness for the title role, and director Jon Favreau keeps things sweet without being cloying. It’s also awfully hard to argue with any film that puts Bob Newhart in pointy shoes and a silly cap.

Starring: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel
Directed by: Jon Favreau

1) A Christmas Story (1984) 88%

There are probably some negative things that can be said about this movie — it gave star Peter Billingsley the chance to go on and make "The Dirt Bike Kid," for one — but none of them detract from "A Christmas Story"’s sheer holiday greatness. If you came of age in the 1980s, it’s safe to say you’ve seen it dozens of times; "Story" is the "It’s a Wonderful Life" of the MTV generation, which is why it’s at once evocative of both Norman Rockwell‘s America and breakdancing. It shouldn’t make sense, but it does.

Starring: Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin
Directed by: Bob Clark

Stay tuned, as tomorrow we count down the Freshest seasonal dramas!

Tag Cloud

godzilla royal family king kong Set visit foreign Sneak Peek Captain marvel worst reviews spanish language cinemax PBS Pop TV ABC anime Star Trek USA Brie Larson 2019 VICE Grammys popular action-comedy Ovation batman mockumentary Election asian-american TCA 2017 PlayStation TruTV Lifetime Christmas movies Cartoon Network unscripted Chilling Adventures of Sabrina indiana jones Shondaland wonder woman classics monster movies aapi adventure serial killer The Walt Disney Company movie basketball a nightmare on elm street Endgame NBA films BET Awards Photos Rocketman video blockbuster Epix cancelled Travel Channel suspense 24 frames crossover Pacific Islander Warner Bros. Box Office Sundance australia Legendary First Reviews rotten movies we love ABC Signature superhero Hallmark legend dragons CW Seed war Turner Classic Movies festivals Hulu sag awards First Look HBO Max 2018 73rd Emmy Awards hispanic heritage month Paramount Network Crackle 4/20 BBC YouTube cars spy thriller rom-coms ID comic 90s miniseries Star Wars blockbusters fast and furious cops rotten green book Mystery IFC Films The Arrangement Sci-Fi Calendar women Film Festival halloween tv canceled witnail Binge Guide sequels Lifetime laika TCM technology romance Polls and Games venice indie feel good Trophy Talk Marvel Music binge ABC Family gangster A24 Valentine's Day Amazon Prime Video historical drama Marvel Studios Funimation casting remakes GIFs dogs DirecTV 2020 slasher crime thriller 45 aliens dramedy SundanceTV robots Fox News comedies saw ESPN FXX Academy Awards golden globe awards El Rey Horror TV movies nbcuniversal Image Comics VOD The CW twilight rt labs critics edition rt archives Writers Guild of America Syfy Sony Pictures cancelled TV series jurassic park DGA halloween know your critic medical drama toy story TCA Awards critics Chernobyl high school documentary Christmas Superheroes 2015 golden globes Adult Swim child's play Winter TV OneApp VH1 Mary Poppins Returns Cosplay singing competition FOX reboot Fox Searchlight period drama target teaser cats Elton John Awards Tour Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Classic Film YouTube Red DC streaming service Avengers YA Logo Alien Nickelodeon Showtime stoner Food Network Martial Arts comic book movie Extras deadpool Certified Fresh Walt Disney Pictures south america ViacomCBS Apple Tarantino Reality justice league Netflix psychological thriller black critic resources toronto Comedy new star wars movies Song of Ice and Fire screenings Tokyo Olympics Heroines best Esquire Winners heist movie Disney+ Disney Plus blaxploitation Spike 99% Thanksgiving Turner japanese cartoon Mary Tyler Moore all-time Year in Review cooking parents Musical Emmys streaming MCU Drama E! prank boxoffice directors BBC One Oscars chucky Holiday canceled TV shows zombies kaiju franchise RT21 YouTube Premium 2017 book Nominations die hard BBC America Trivia 2016 spinoff travel dark children's TV obituary news spanish discovery christmas movies Teen based on movie 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards joker worst movies dexter psycho theme song zombie universal monsters boxing X-Men telelvision adenture Premiere Dates Crunchyroll The Academy romantic comedy 71st Emmy Awards jamie lee curtis ratings festival Comic-Con@Home 2021 TV renewals Ellie Kemper animated Schedule sitcom spider-man james bond archives 007 CNN name the review Paramount New York Comic Con Country PaleyFest Paramount Plus book adaptation politics vampires Superheroe TNT what to watch Awards Apple TV+ Lionsgate breaking bad international doctor who USA Network Nat Geo Summer 20th Century Fox Kids & Family Columbia Pictures Vudu TLC political drama Pride Month The Purge space new york Marathons E3 lord of the rings History police drama Hear Us Out television kids FX video on demand HBO Shudder Tomatazos CBS WGN Emmy Nominations elevated horror DC Universe Wes Anderson Sundance TV scary movies Stephen King Tubi Countdown japan Rom-Com 2021 science fiction werewolf APB Acorn TV nfl A&E Pet Sematary dc Spring TV finale Freeform spain supernatural Lucasfilm Western independent Disney Channel documentaries Spectrum Originals french game of thrones natural history AMC TV Disney streaming service Film Black History Month scene in color Family Bravo pirates of the caribbean docudrama debate Television Academy sequel Comics on TV ITV mutant zero dark thirty stand-up comedy concert TV One SDCC superman Apple TV Plus Pop Baby Yoda diversity dceu 21st Century Fox Comic Book Toys marvel cinematic universe Television Critics Association Women's History Month Hallmark Christmas movies italian king arthur Mindy Kaling biopic fresh 72 Emmy Awards TCA comiccon Disney Plus true crime mission: impossible composers Rock biography quibi mcc strong female leads Watching Series See It Skip It Quiz social media game show Amazon Studios MSNBC harry potter docuseries NBC hispanic MTV Black Mirror ghosts WarnerMedia renewed TV shows Mudbound free movies Ghostbusters Cannes NYCC tv talk Animation cancelled TV shows adaptation Sundance Now anthology Universal comics comic books National Geographic Action Podcast hidden camera Discovery Channel President series The Walking Dead American Society of Cinematographers cancelled television Netflix Christmas movies Dark Horse Comics Character Guide nature richard e. Grant screen actors guild movies disaster Broadway razzies slashers posters criterion cults Trailer Musicals Reality Competition BET Starz Exclusive Video CBS All Access revenge trailers DC Comics Disney Rocky kong RT History hollywood football Peacock new zealand HBO Go 1990s Britbox San Diego Comic-Con transformers TIFF olympics Masterpiece crime drama hist Creative Arts Emmys Biopics sports CMT Amazon Prime Red Carpet Marvel Television thriller Super Bowl Best and Worst facebook BAFTA Anna Paquin Opinion Infographic young adult Pirates IFC streaming movies emmy awards rt labs Interview crime Tumblr latino Fall TV Holidays scorecard marvel comics Mary poppins talk show Comedy Central GoT Video Games Pixar live action SXSW LGBT TBS satire FX on Hulu TV Land versus 93rd Oscars Fantasy Arrowverse LGBTQ Amazon GLAAD comic book movies The Witch stop motion award winner TCA Winter 2020 OWN