Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart in the American film,
Screenshot of Jimmy Stewart in the American film, "It's a Wonderful Life." (Photo: Flickr)

People all around the world have the rather nasty habit of lapping up saccharine small and big screen offerings every year around Christmas.

Although I am not against Christmas movies as such, I am getting rather fed up of hearing and seeing the same Facebook status updates, tweets and broadsheet lists proclaiming the same set of films as 'the best festive movies ever'.

It's a Wonderful Life

Frank Capra's festive film is possibly one of the most depressing movies that have been made. In fact, I am not surprised if it tips some people over the edge at Christmas.

It starts with James Stewart's character George Bailey who sets out to kill himself on Christmas Eve and ends up changing his mind because a guardian angel helps him realise that he has made a difference in the world.

Sounds delightful, right?

Not so, as it's essentially a tale of one man's humble notion that he would at least be able to travel out of his town, let alone the world, and further himself and his life as a human being.

Far from helping his town out of pure altruism, the sheer depressing nature of people in general, for example being colossal pains in the proverbial arses, means that he is stopped at every turn from leaving his Truman Show-style hell of small-township.

No matter what he does to be a better person and further himself in life, he is consistently down trodden, screwed over, and coerced into a mediocre existence where his neighbours have benefited out of his despair.

It's no wonder that The Simpson's satirised an 'alternative killing spree ending' in one episode.

The Snowman

One year, I made the fatal mistake of watching It's a Wonderful Life followed by The Snowman, and I seriously felt like calling some form of helpline.

Despite the gorgeous animations, sublime score and sweet message, the viewer (most likely a child) is suddenly smacked in the face with a bag of frozen peas, which incidentally is what the main boy character heaps onto snowman to stop him turning into a puddle of water.

After building a snowman one winter's day, he goes on an adventure with the snowman that comes to life.

After less than a few hours of joy and festivities, he then gets to see his new best friend slowly die an inevitable death, quicker that you can pull a cracker.

Home Alone

Oh joy- every Christmas we get a dose of Macaulay Culkin pulling the pop culture version of Edvard Munch's Scream face, while trying to fend off a couple of creepy middle-aged men.

The film has snow, is set at Christmas, and is meant to have the overriding message of love and forgiveness, so therefore it must be festive.

But let's look at this more closely.

Kevin, Culkin's character, is slammed by his entire family for being 'useless' and a 'disease' for most of his life.

His mother and father's parenting skills are exemplified by the fact that they didn't notice that they manage to leave the house, get into a car, and board the plane without their son.

But as his mother showed in the film, if you're rich and bribe strangers and make them feel bad, you can exonerate yourself of being a crap parent.

Meanwhile, another festive message to take away is that violence is funny, really funny.


I really don't know where to start with Elf, played by Will Ferrell.

I still, ten years after its release, don't understand why anyone likes this movie over the age of 5.

Not only does it indulge an overgrown man-child that needs to more help than just finding his 'real father' but it is just scene after scene of mess and disaster.

His 'real dad' James Caan is the 'curmudgeonly' character that needs to find his festive spirit and loosen up a bit.

Thing is, Ferrell's Elf character Buddy could have made it a lot easier on himself if he didn't try to ruin the man's life work.

Also, as a side note, aren't there laws that stop Zooey Deschanel's character from dating buddy?