By now your TV has screened A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas so many times it's shedding pine needles. But we're fond of these seven movies that, although they all unfold around Christmas and New Year's, aren't exactly what you'd call typical holiday fare.
Lethal Weapon (1987)
As suicidal cop Martin Riggs, Mel Gibson makes a memorable bust posing as a drug buyer at a Christmas tree lot run by crooks. "How much for all of it?" he asks the pushers. "Maybe a nice six-footer to put it under, huh?" Then come a lot of shooting and Three Stooges imitations.
When Harry Met Sally … (1989)
The big finale comes at a New Year's Eve party, when Harry (Billy Crystal) makes his final case to his true love, Sally (Meg Ryan): "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." Who could resist that line? Not Sally, that's for sure.
Love Actually (2003)
An all-star British cast enacts a bunch of interwoven stories that happen to unravel during the holidays. Best of all is Bill Nighy as a burned-out rock star who urges his faithful radio listeners, "Buy my festering turd of a record!"
The Family Man (2000)
Nicolas Cage is perfectly happy as a fabulously wealthy, happily single, ruthlessly successful Wall Street type — until he wakes up one holiday season to find he's married to his old school sweetheart (Téa Leoni), has a bunch of kids, lives in the 'burbs and works at a tire store.
Trading Places (1983)
Mean-spirited millionaire brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) conspire to reduce a young commodities broker (Dan Aykroyd) to homeless poverty and elevate a street hustler (Eddie Murphy) to the broker's former position. Against a background of holiday glee, Aykroyd and Murphy are heartbreakingly hilarious as a couple of guys who don't know what hit them.
It was summertime when director Joe Dante left this nasty little Christmas gift: a tale of ill-mannered monsters terrorizing a neighborhood at holiday time. Oh yeah, and Phoebe Cates tells the worst Christmas story ever.
20th Century Fox Film Corp/Everett Collection
Die Hard (1988)
"Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" Vaughn Monroe sings over the closing credits (and over the sequel's as well). Although it's set against the holiday season, there's nothing Christmasy about Bruce Willis' over-the-top actioner (unless Santa urges his reindeer on by yelling "Yippie-Yi-Yo-Ki-Yay!").
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