Guest Theresa Romain Talks Holiday Movies!

Hi everyone! Meet my “second life saver” Theresa Romain! She also responded to my twitter call, and here she is! I’m also super excited about her post – and I hope you enjoy it too! (Can you tell I love randomness? Like love it?) I also had no idea about almost all these movies. I also *small voice* haven’t seen like 99% of them.

Holiday Movies That Aren’t

This time of year, the only way to escape holiday movies is to enter a complete media blackout. But I’m here to tell you: no need for that. You might be tired of It’s a Wonderful Life, but every time a bell rings, another holiday movie is made. And sometimes these are not the movies you’d expect.

For example. Did you know Christmas could be combined with pandemic zombie-ism? German terrorists? Fear of computers? Indeed it can. Let’s take a look at a few holiday movies that hide their red and green.

Creatures

I Am Legend (2007). (Dude! It’s only $5!) This is the movie that inspired this whole list. About a month ago, I told a friend, “I’m in the mood for a holiday movie. Time to turn on I Am Legend!” Her response was something along the lines of “o_O.” But it’s true. The movie focuses on the aftermath of a mutated anti-cancer vaccine that’s killed or zombie-fied most of humanity (but not Will Smith!). Through flashbacks, we see the early spread of the virus and the evacuation and quarantine of Manhattan Island. At Christmas.

Why at Christmas? I think so the filmmakers could have the crushingly lonely Dr. Robert Neville (Smith) walk into abandoned houses and see left-behind trees and presents—all the trappings of a family holiday that will never come again.

So, yeah. This is a holiday movie. With zombie rats!

Runners-Up: Any creature movie set at Christmas will be playing with the fearsome versus the heartwarming. In this same vein (zing!) are Gremlins (1984), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Batman Returns (1992).

Criminals

Die Hard (1988). Like Dr. Robert Neville, John McClane (Bruce Willis) winds up doing battle instead of roasting chestnuts on an open fire. When his estranged wife’s company is taken over during its Christmas party by bond-hunting terrorists led by Severus Snape Colonel Brandon Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), McClane is the only man on the inside who can help save Christmas. And his wife. And a lot of other people.

Our lesson? Christmas is the time to be with the people you love. Even if that means going through a wad of German terrorists.

Runners-Up: Die Hard 2 (1990) went back to the same well. Lethal Weapon (1987) and Eastern Promises (2007) also deal with crimes around Christmas time—whether for redemption or an extra dose of creepiness.

Classics

Desk Set (1957). Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) adores her job as a researcher for a TV network. But when efficiency expert Richard Summer (Spencer Tracy) gets called in just before Christmas, Bunny’s afraid she and her staff are all about to get the chop. Besides the fact that a character would never be named “Bunny” now (I hope), this whip-smart romantic comedy is startlingly modern. As for the Christmas elements–well, according to this movie, Christmas is a time we all have extra job stress and drink a little more than we should.
Fair enough.

Runners-Up: Oh, so many offbeat classics with holiday elements. In Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944), a young woman drunk-marries a soldier on leave whom she can’t remember, then has sextuplets. In Three Godfathers (1936 and 1948), a trio of bank robbers save the life of an orphaned infant. In The Lion in Winter (1968), medieval royals squabble over the throne of France. In The Apartment (1960)…well, you know what that’s about.

So next time you gather with family or friends for a heartwarming holiday film, see if you can steer them away from Kris Kringle, George Bailey, and Ebenezer Scrooge. There’s a holiday- movie-that-isn’t for every mood.

Got any more oddball films to add to the list? Or just want to share one of your favorite holiday movies? Do tell!

I’ll be giving away a copy of my historical romance debut, Season for Temptation, to one random commenter. SFT has quite a bit in common with I Am Legend—it’s got holiday elements, and the hero is not a zombie. (Ok, nor are the other characters.) You can find out more here.

Guess what? Double bonus! Last week I had a giveaway/contest on twitter as well… and Theresa Romain won it! So *I* will also be giving away a copy of Season for Temptation away. A kindle copy though, cuz that’s how I do. It’ll also be on twitter, but don’t worry – tell me your twitter handle here and I’ll double your entry.

0 thoughts on “Guest Theresa Romain Talks Holiday Movies!

  1. [email protected]

    Growing up, Edward Scissorhands, Rocky, and most of all Sleepless in Seattle were some of the regular “oddball” Christmas movies my family watched aside of the traditional ones. Actually, so were Diehard and Lethal Weapon! lol The rocking around the xmas tree song at the beginning of Lethal Weapon stamped itself in our psyche as firmly a holiday flick. I remembered liking Eastern Promises but hadnt recalled it being a holiday feel to it; maybe cuz the violence didnt have the comedic relief that Lethal Weapon and Die Hard did,lol.

    Reply
  2. JoAnne

    Interesting choices for Christmas movies. I will need to give a couple of them a try – although not all.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  3. Liz

    Theresa, what a great post! I never really thought about how many non-Christmas movies actually involve Christmas. One that I really enjoy is The Ref with Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey. When they’re wearing those candle hats – too funny. And While You Were Sleeping is one of my favorites when I need a sweet movie. Congrats on your debut novel and I hope that Lime asks you back to post again soon. 🙂

    Reply
  4. rissatoo

    Great list of Christmas-ish movies. Some of those are, indeed, holiday favorites for me. I look forward to exploring some new ‘classics’ soon! 😉
    Happy Holidays!
    rissatoo
    (here, there, & everywhere… including twitter.)

    Reply
  5. Theresa Romain

    Hi, everyone–thanks for stopping by! And thanks, Lime, for playing host to my randomness this morning. I love the traditional holiday movies too (I cry like a baby during the phone scene of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE), but I got fascinated by how many unexpected movies use Christmas elements.

    Reply
  6. Theresa Romain

    Bella–what a great list! I think I’d like hanging out with your family. 🙂

    You’re right that EASTERN PROMISES doesn’t have a holiday feel, so don’t save that one for your coziest get-together! It just *happens* to take place at Christmastime. Probably for the contrast of violence vs. comfort.

    Reply
  7. Theresa Romain

    JoAnne–thanks for stopping by! I hope you find a new movie to love on this list. If you’re a fan of classics, DESK SET is the most traditional of the batch I’ve listed. It’s funny and witty and has genuinely heartwarming moments–a beautiful romantic comedy.

    Reply
  8. Theresa Romain

    Liz–I share your love for WYWS. Yay!

    We need another “C” heading, don’t we? “Comedies.” I’ve never seen THE REF, but I have heard it’s hilarious. I’ll start making my own list of movies-to-watch!

    Reply
  9. Theresa Romain

    rissatoo–glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂 Which movies are already in your holiday rotation? This list has put me in the mood to watch DIE HARD again–maybe while I finish wrapping presents.

    Reply
  10. shauna

    One of my all time favorite Christmas movies that I HAVE to watch every year is CHRISTMAS IN CONNEcTICUT, its a 1940’s black and white with Barbara Stanwyck. Its a funny cute and romantic movie that I just love. I also get myself caught up in all of these made-for-tv Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel, i’m such a sap for those!!

    Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      Aha, let’s try threading a few of these replies. 🙂

      Shauna, I really like CIC too! I can very much identify with Barbara Stanwyck’s character–a total domestic fraud. Plus there’s one of the cutest, kindliest old uncles ever.

      Reply
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  12. June M.

    The only thing I can think of is a Horror movie from the 80’s SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. Definitely NOT a holiday movie, lol.
    I have been wanting to read SEASON FOR TEMPTATION for a while, I would love to win a copy, either print or kindle. Thank you both for the giveaway!
    Twitter: @JuneAnnM

    Reply
      1. Theresa Romain

        June–these are too funny! I’ll never get Mr. R to agree to watch a horror movie (I know, he’s such a delicate flower), but we ought to try BAD SANTA. I remember hearing good things about it when it came out.

        Reply
  13. May

    What a great list! My husband insists that all the Die Hard movies are x’mas movies and watch them every x’mas. 🙂

    Really enjoyed SFT… Love both of the sisters. 🙂

    Reply
  14. Cathy P

    I have always loved the traditional Christmas movies, but I also love Desk Set, The Ref, and Lethal Weapon. I would say Die Hard, but I don’t think I’ve ever watched those movies. Probably the only person on the planet… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

    Twitter – kscathy

    Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      Cathy–wow, you’ve seen a great variety! Got any favorite films to recommend? I love the traditional as well as strange. (As a matter of fact, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is SCROOGE (1970), a musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol.)

      Reply
  15. Theresa Romain

    Mary–I’ve never seen that, so I just Googled it. The images that popped up made me snort-laugh. How could I resist a Christmas movie starring a demon-woman with flaming hair??

    Reply
  16. Kim

    I like to watch Holiday Affair with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh. It’s one of those old romantic comedies from 1949. Another cute Christmas movie is Borrowed Hearts with Roma Downey and Eric McCormick. A rich man hires a woman to play his wife for the holidays to impress an investor.

    No need to enter me in the contest. I’ve already won Theresa’s book. I hope to read it over the holidays.

    Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      Kim–thanks for the recommendations! And thanks for giving SFT a read. Hope you enjoy it.

      I saw HA a long time ago, but I don’t remember it well. It’s nice to see Robert Mitchum in a non-creepy role. I’ll have to watch it again! BH sounds good, too–a “marriage of convenience” kind of story? Who doesn’t love those?

      Reply
  17. Chelsea B.

    I love Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy films 🙂
    I can’t think of any oddball movies, but I do try and catch as many Christmas movies as I can!

    Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      Chelsea–they are fantastic, aren’t they? Have you ever seen Desk Set? KH plays one of the smartest heroines I’ve ever seen. We’d have to call her a bluestocking if she was in a historical romance novel. 🙂

      Reply
      1. shauna

        All this talk of Christmas movies has been fun and makes me want to watch all of them. One of my favorite more “modern day” classics is on the ABC Family channel right now, LOVE ACTUALLY, its not per say a Christmas movie but Christmas plays a big part and its such a feel good movie. And I just love Hugh Grant as the Prime Minister. Noticed also that Natl. Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is on later today tooo.. Guess I’m not going to get much done today!

        Reply
  18. Jen B.

    I love Die Hard. I can’t believe it was made in 1988! Wow, that makes me feel old. I don’t know about oddball holiday movies but I still really love A Christmas Story. I can’t help but quote it every year! My dentist was playing it last time we visited!
    jepebATverizonDOTnet

    Reply
  19. vanillaorchids69

    What interesting choices for holiday movies but I see your point. Oh and I love Die Hard probably more so because Alan Rickman is in it. 😀 Though I have seen all the other Die Hard movies as well.

    Season for Temptation looks great and I really like the cover art. It’s so pretty!

    Pam
    vanillaorchids69(at)gmail(dot)com
    @VanillaOrchids

    Reply
      1. vanillaorchids69

        You’re welcome. I mentioned the other day that I tend to be a little jealous of historical romance cover art because of all the beautiful gowns. 🙂

        Have you seen Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street? Was so thrilled to see Alan Rickman singing with Johnny Depp. That’s one of my favorite parts of the movie. 🙂

        Pam

        Reply
  20. JenniferK

    There are my holiday favorites such as Elf and Miracle on 34th Street (the 40’s version with Natalie Wood) but for some reason we always watch the Ghost and Mr. Chicken and Night of the Comet around the holidays as well. It is usually the only time that we can sit down and watch the things that bring back a lot of memories.

    jcalvert719(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Reply
  21. Raonaid Luckwell

    You know what… I never thought about it until one mentioning it. My father really loved the Diehards and Lethal Weapons. I remember it happening around Christmas time!

    Hubby use to have this black and white A Christmas Story or something. The older I get the more I shun christmas movies. Nice thing is with anime I don’t have to worry.

    Raonaid @ gmail dot com
    RaonaidLuckwell on twitter

    Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      Raonaid–that’s true, I bet there’s not too much Christmassy anime! If you’re not in the mood for Christmas movies, I AM LEGEND or EASTERN PROMISES are probably the best ones off this list. The plots really don’t have anything to do with the holiday. And there are pretty actors, which you don’t always get in Santa films.

      Reply
      1. Raonaid Luckwell

        Seen bits and pieces of I AM LEGEND. Not a Will Smith fan. He’s one of those actors that just don’t click with me (Wil – the guy from Elf is another along with Jennifer Ainston)

        Now and then they have a christmas theme. In a strange way I want to watch Rocky Picture Horrow Show. I’m an odd ball or Snow White: Tale of Terror

        Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      Hi, Gayle! I’m with you on the kid Christmas specials. I never (!) saw Frosty the Snowman until this year, when my daughter wanted to watch it.

      Ah, you’re the first to bring up HA. I think of those as having a lot of Christmassy elements, though “kid defeats housebreakers” sure isn’t the usual holiday plot. Has your youngling seen HA? Could be a nice change of pace from the puppies!

      Reply
  22. Theresa Romain

    Confession time, folks: I hadn’t seen DIE HARD in about 7 years, and our conversation today has put me in the mood to see it again. So I’m playing it in the background right now while I wrap presents–ok, swan around on the Internet. Good stuff.

    Reply
  23. LSUReader

    Great list–I love Desk Set (Hepburn is my favorite actress) and the original Die Hard is one of those movies I just have to watch when it comes on TV.

    My favorite Christmas movies are a bit more traditional–Holiday Inn (which covers a year of celebrations, not just Christmas) and White Christmas.

    I guess Goodfellas and The Godfather could make your non-traditional list, for their brief Christmas scenes. What about Nightmare Before Christmas?

    Reply
    1. Theresa Romain

      LSUReader–thanks for the suggestions. Mafiosos and stop-motion are what this list is all about!

      I really enjoy old movies (my family jokes that I won’t watch anything made in color–not so!), and I share your love for Holiday Inn. I saw this before I ever saw White Christmas, and the Astaire-Bing interplay was fantastic. Danny Kaye’s a great comic, but I’ll always prefer Holiday Inn. (And not just because it’s B&W.)

      Reply
  24. Theresa Romain

    shauna–I couldn’t reply under your comment, but yes, I really like LOVE ACTUALLY too. Not all of the story lines are equally stellar, but I really like Hugh Grant’s and Colin Firth’s. And not just because of the eye candy. I swear.

    Reply
    1. shauna

      I’m still trying to figure out how to reply to these things, so I apologize if I do it wrong. Colin Firth, thank you, I was trying to remember the other guy in Love Actually that I adore, I was having brain freeze! The different stories and how they are all connected make that a fun movie. I loved also Liam Neeson’s part in that movie too and his little boy was just too cute!

      Reply
  25. Theresa Romain

    Pam–I *did* see Sweeney Todd, and I can’t believe I don’t remember that part. How could I possibly have forgotten Rickman plus Depp?! I’ll add that to my list of must-sees. You all are giving me some great movies to track down.

    Reply
  26. Theresa Romain

    Hi, everyone–I swooped over to random.org to choose the winner of a signed copy of SEASON FOR TEMPTATION, and the winner is…LSUReader!

    LSUReader, you can send your contact info to me at theresa @ theresaromain . com, and I’ll get your book right out to you. (Limecello will also mention this in an upcoming “winners” post, so this isn’t your only notification.)

    Thanks to you all for stopping by this post! I’ve got so many great/terrible/hilarious movies to check out now. Love it. Have a wonderful weekend, whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas or Festivus or the fact that it’s Saturday. 🙂

    Reply
  27. Monikarw

    Bridget Jones movies! I like to watch both on Christmas! I did again this year! And of course.. Love Actually!:)
    Thanks Theresa for sharing this with us!:)

    Reply
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