Ho, Ho, No: Movies to Get You Through the Holidays
Everyone’s (least) favorite time of year is here!
If you’re a student, you’re trying to tackle finals. If you’re a young professional, it’s likely there are plenty of projects you need to wrap up before everyone pretends they have jobs for a solid week. You probably will have to attend a work function where you’ll stand with the few coworkers you actually talk to while wondering how much free booze and food is socially acceptable for you to take home.
IF you survive all that, then you have to go home for the holidays for some quality time with the family: explaining what your job is, your major, and why you’re single, all while trying to navigate secretly spiking the punch bowl.
You’re not alone. If you’re looking for an excuse to get out of assorted holiday bullshit, I’ve got plenty of movie suggestions to watch on Netflix when you want to avoid everyone and everything.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID YOUR WORK CHRISTMAS PARTY
Love Actually (2003) – 136 min.
I hate stereotypical chick flicks (looking at you, Titanic), but I unapologetically love this movie. The super cliché ending aside, Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant give great performances here AND there’s a work party in it. So you can get that experience if you want to without having to deal with any of your actual coworkers or real human beings.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID ALL RESPONSIBILITY
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (2013) – 75 min.
I feel uncomfortable calling this a stand-up special because it feels like a work of art. Mike Birbiglia details the hits and the hilariously intuitive misses of his romantic history in one of the most ambitious examples of stand-up comedy I have ever seen.
*There’s also a movie from 2010 on Netflix also called My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. I haven’t seen it, but it looks bad. That’s not the one I’d recommend. So watch the 2013 one instead.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID YOUR HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS
Heathers (1989) – 113 min.
Heathers is the perfect antidote to being stuck at home for the holidays when the only people you can hang out with are your friends from high school. This film will make you remember all the weird drama that came with being in high school but with funnier clothes and a dark twist.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID WORK
Compliance (2012) - 89 min.
I attended a screening of this movie and some peoples’ reactions were so visceral that they had to leave before the movie ended. You know how progressive muscle tensing and relaxation ultimately relaxes you once you’re done? That’s what this movie is like: stressful, but gripping and worth the full watch, though not for the faint of heart. This movie will definitely make doing your job seem incredibly easy and maybe even fun.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID YOUR FAMILY
Terms of Endearment (1983) – 131 min.
Your family’s petty arguments and idiosyncrasies won’t seem so egregious in comparison to the loud, tumultuous mess of a relationship between Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine. Simultaneously repulsive and hypnotizing, Terms of Endearment will take up a solid chunk of time you could be spending arguing about the mess in your room/dishes in the sink/whatever else families argue about.
*If you’re willing to put in a bit of extra effort in this category, The Royal Tenenbaums is a more lighthearted alternative. It’s not available for streaming on Netflix, but you can rent it on Amazon Instant.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID RELATIONSHIPS
White Reindeer (2013) – 82 min.
White Reindeer tells the story of a woman, played by Anna Margaret Hollyman, who copes with her husband’s murder by bonding with his girlfriend. It’s a dark, indie comedy gem with a killer cast list, including Joe Swanberg, who’s directed and starred in his fair share of mumblecore gold (yes, mumblecore is a real genre). Check out his work if this title catches your eye.
WHEN YOU WANT TO AVOID EVERYONE ON PLANET EARTH
A Very Murray Christmas (2015) – 56 min.
Bill. Murray. Christmas. Special. Not even sure what else to say about this.
Feature photo by Nikola Jelenkovic/ VIA Unsplash