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Re­cently, I took my daugh­ter to see the new an­i­mated ver­sion of The Grinch (in cin­e­mas now) and couldn’t help but agree with the mis­er­able green grouch on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions. I’m fairly cyn­i­cal and jaded, and prone to get a bit crabby about neigh­bours play­ing loud mu­sic or peo­ple be­ing in­con­sid­er­ate in gen­eral. “You know, he has a point,” I found my­self think­ing when the Grinch grum­bled about some­thing or other. Big dif­fer­ence: I’m not about to rain down mis­ery on other peo­ple just to make my­self feel bet­ter.

That all said, when my daugh­ter teared up as the rea­son for the Grinch’s crank­i­ness emerged – spoiler alert: he didn’t have any friends or fam­ily be­sides dog Max – I also found my three-sizes-too-small heart warmed by the tale and the char­ac­ter’s epiphany. In any other film, I would’ve found it all overly sen­ti­men­tal and cloy­ing, but in a Christ­mas movie? Well, I’m not a com­plete mon­ster. In fact, I kind of like an old-fash­ioned fes­tive tale.

Per­haps it dates back to a child­hood spent watch­ing re-runs of Rankin/bass hol­i­day spe­cials Ru­dolph the Red-nosed Rein­deer, Frosty the Snow­man and, my favourite, The Year With­out a Santa Claus with Snow Miser and Heat Miser. Per­haps I get caught up in the fes­tive spirit as soon as Dec. 1 – the date when it’s ac­cept­able to put up dec­o­ra­tions in my book – rolls around. Per­haps Christ­mas movies are just bet­ter at putting me in touch with my emo­tions. Who can say?

This year, as well as The Grinch, a num­ber of other Christ­mas-themed films are in cin­e­mas, not to men­tion the del­uge of clas­sics and orig­i­nal movies that have landed on the var­i­ous stream­ing plat­forms. And you never have to look too far to find Love Ac­tu­ally play­ing some­where.

In El­liot: The Lit­tlest Rein­deer (in cin­e­mas now), a minia­ture horse (voiced by Josh Hutch­er­son) has am­bi­tions of be­ing cho­sen to join Santa Claus’ sleigh-bear­ing team when vet­eran rein­deer Bl­itzen re­tires. At any other time of year, a feel-good film like this with an im­por­tant life les­son about hard work lead­ing to tri­umph would be some­thing I’d get my mum to take my daugh­ter to see – it’s how I avoided hav­ing to sit through My Lit­tle Pony: The Movie. At Christ­mas, I want to see it my­self.

On Net­flix, The Christ­mas Chron­i­cles (stream­ing now) fea­tures Kurt Rus­sell as Santa, which is just about all the in­for­ma­tion I need to add this orig­i­nal movie to my view­ing list. And maybe I’ll let the kids watch, too.

But just to prove I don’t be­come a to­tal sap at this time of year, the movie I’m most ex­cited about is Anna and the Apoc­a­lypse (in cin­e­mas now), a mu­si­cal zom­bie mash-up in which Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends take on the un­dead … at Christ­mas time. It might be the most per­fect fes­tive movie of all time. •

El­liot: The Lit­tlest Rein­deer also fea­tures the voice ta­lent of Saman­tha Bee, John Cleese and Mar­tin Short. Mis­un­der­stood mis­an­thrope the Grinch isn’t all bad.

Scot­tish film Anna and the Apoc­a­lypse will ap­peal to those who like their fes­tive movies bloody.

Gavin Scott

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