Christmas is a holiday associated with family, warmth and love. (In theory) people are being good cheers and laughing more. Christmastime is also a vital window for films to be considered for Oscar nominations. Perhaps this is why a plethora of movies open on Christmas Day, even though several are as far away from joyful as you can get.
This year, three important films are opening on Christmas Day: "Concussion," "The Hateful Eight" and "The Revenant." All look to be phenomenal movies that are sure to receive several Oscar noms, but do they really need to open on Christmas? The Oscar window is tight, but not that tight. Why do companies keep debuting movies on Dec. 25 when they're anything but feel good, happy-go-lucky movies?
Don't get me wrong. I can't wait to see Samuel L. Jackson duke it out in Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," but it's not a film I'd want to see on Christmas. Violence in films is swell and all, but I'd like a break from it on a day that's supposed to be about merriment. So, here's a list of several films since 1990 that've all debuted on Christmas Day — and none of them will make you feel warm and fuzzy like you did at the end of "Elf."
"The Godfather Part III," Dec. 25, 1990Paramount Pictures
What better way to say "Merry Christmas" than having the Mafia brutally gun down people, a dude biting another dude's ear and a corpse hanging from a bridge for all to see?
"Hoffa," Dec. 25, 199220th Century Fox
This biopic tells the story of Jimmy Hoffa, an infamous figure of the face of the American labor union. Hoffa mysteriously vanished decades ago and many believe he was murdered by the mob. Because the film is about labor rights, there's plenty of
Christmas cheerviolence and riots that occur throughout the film.
"Tombstone," Dec. 25, 1993Buena Vista Pictures
Outlaws are synonymous with Christmas, right? Why else would this Western, based on actual events at Tombstone, Arizona, premiere on Christmas Day? Shootings, hangings and stabbings, oh my!
"Hamlet," Dec. 25, 1996Columbia Pictures
There's nothing like finding out your uncle murdered your father and is now shacking up with your mother to make your Christmas Day celebration complete.
"The Faculty," Dec. 25, 1998Miramax Films
This '90s update on the classic sci-fi film "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" has everything you love about the holidays: aliens overtaking the population, injecting drugs into someone's eye and Usher Raymond. OK, well that last one actually might be true.
"Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust," Dec. 25, 2004Anker Productions, Inc.
This documentary explores how Hollywood handled the Nazis and the Holocaust during WWII. Fa la la la...
"Wolf Creek," Dec. 25, 2005Roadshow Entertainment
Do you enjoy a big helping of torture porn with your Christmas dinner? Then this is definitely the film for you. Three unlucky Australian travelers find themselves being held captive by a madman. It's a gore-a-palooza, which is great for Halloween, but not so much for Christmas.
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," Dec. 25, 2008Paramount Pictures
Christmas is generally seen as a happy-go-lucky time of year — too bad Brad Pitt never got the memo. While this film is a beautiful piece of cinema, it's also heartbreaking and gut-wrenching AF. Seriously, where did all the holiday cheer go?
"Valkyrie," Dec. 25, 2008Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
More WWII-themed films! What could bring the family together for the holidays better than watching rogue German officers attempt to take down Hitler?
"Django Unchained," Dec. 25, 2012The Weinstein Company
While we're all still upset Leonardo DiCaprio didn't receive an Oscar for his performance as plantation owner Calvin Candie, that doesn't negate the fact this is the exact opposite of a Christmas-themed movie. There's slavery, bloodshed, a Mandingo fight, whipping and even a man torn to shreds by dogs. ♫ Have a holly, jolly Christmas ♫
"Les Misérables," Dec. 25, 2012Universal Pictures
The music is beautiful, the acting is stellar, but the story is super depressing. Way too many of the main characters die, including a CHILD. Watching Anne Hathaway belt out "I Dreamed a Dream" is enough to suck out any holiday delight you ever felt.
"The Wolf of Wall Street," Dec. 25, 2013Paramount Pictures
Leo seems to have a knack for starring in movies that open on Christmas Day. There are plenty of orgies, masturbation scenes and drug episodes happening during this film, all of which would probably land the characters on Santa's naughty list.
"Unbroken," Dec. 25, 2014Universal Pictures
Based on a true story, Olympian Louis Zamperini ends up as a POW during WWII. He's brutally beaten and tortured, doing everything he can to survive. The never giving up part is very inspiring, but perhaps not the best feel good film to watch with family on Christmas.