25 of the best alternative Christmas movies

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Perhaps you favour a traditional Christmas with a tree, fairy lights, gifts and turkey. But we won’t judge if you choose to spread your seasonal cheer at a quasi-religious sex orgy. With Tom Cruise. Like we said, we won’t judge. Joking aside, Stanley Kubrick’s directorial swansong is well worth a revisit.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Shane Black delivers yet another festive action movie, reuniting with Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang star Robert Downey, Jr. for this superhero sequel. In the wake of The Avengers, Tony Stark's wrestling with PTSD; but his trials don't let up, as he's challenged by a terrorist mastermind calling himself the Mandarin.

Black's flair for action-comedy shines through the mechanics of the multimillion dollar studio machine, and while some of his decisions may have outraged comic book fans, they're of a piece with his own oeuvre. The undoubted highlight is Ben Kingsley's take on the villainous Mandarin, which has to be seen to be believed.

More after the break...

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Kermit the frog, Rizzo the Rat, Gonzo the… thing, and all the rest of Jim Henson's multicoloured bunch of zany Muppets join in on this well-polished and surprisingly accurate representation of Dickens' classic tale. Michael Caine plays it completely straight as Ebenezer Scrooge – and the film's all the better for it.

The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

This Coen brothers comedy sees villainous corporate boss Paul Newman make bumbling Tim Robbins president of a manufacturing company in a bid to lower share prices, making for an easy buyout.

When Robbins' naive Norville invents a toy that turns out to be a runaway success during the Christmas ball – we won't spoil the surprise – the company soars in value. The Coen brothers' homage to screwball comedies and Frank Capra sentimentality is full of Christmas spirit.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Between this and Batman Returns, we’d love to see what Christmas was like at Tim Burton’s house when he was a nipper. Chances are it was as innocently creepy as The Nightmare Before Christmas. The story of Jack Skellington opening up a portal between Halloween Town and Christmas Town is executed in glorious stop-motion with fantastic, dark and spindly animation. We have to warn you, it is a musical. But the good kind.

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