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Holiday Movies? Not Really

Tinsel and trees aside, these films aren't all that interested in yuletide sentiment

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, Top Holiday Movie

In one well-known scene from "Lethal Weapon," Mel Gibson as an undercover cop makes a bust at a Christmas tree lot. — Alamy

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, Holiday Movies

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in a holiday mood, from "When Harry Met Sally ..." — Everett Collection

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.

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Love Actually, Top Holiday Movie

Bill Nighy, looking naughty not nice, in a holiday scene from "Love, Actually." — Alamy

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!"

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The Family Man, Top Holiday Movies

Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni star in this fish-out-of-water comedy, "The Family Man." — Alamy

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.

Next page: Gremlins fight losing battle against appliances. »

Trading Places, Top Holiday Movies

Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy stay warm at holiday time in "Trading Places." — Alamy

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.

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GREMLINS, Holiday movies

Zach Galligan is now almost an AARP-er. But in the 1984 film "Gremlins" he played Billy Peltzer, whose pet gremlin ran amok. — Everett Collection

Gremlins (1984)

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.

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Bruce Willis in Die Hard, Holiday movies

Bruce Willis in "Die Hard." — 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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