I have mixed feeling about the holidays. On one hand there is great food and drink in abundance, time off from work is always welcome and it’s hard not to love giving and receiving presents. I also enjoy joining friends and family for some holiday celebration. On the other hand, the massive wave of commercialism, tired old Christmas songs, a hectic social calendar and all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies the holiday season can bring out the bah humbug in anyone. So, when the holiday cheer gets to be too much and I start trying to figure out exactly what fruit cake is, I like to unwind with a decidedly un-holiday screen experience. Below are a few of my favorites to offer a counterbalance to the season.
It seems like many people want to avoid this movie. It could be unfamiliarity with the source material or confusion with the god-awful Sylvester Stallone version of this character that drives people away. In any case, this one will make you forget all about eggnog. Dark and gritty, Dredd brings brutal violence to the screen in a tale of mega-city crime and justice, and it remains the most faithful comic to silver screen translation I have ever run across.
Black Sails (2014)
You know who never gets time to celebrate the holidays? Pirates. With 38 episodes, Black Sails has all the pirate glory you’ll ever need. While there are certainly elements of high seas swashbuckling to be had here, this show depicts a real era of history and does so in a very compelling manner. I’d honestly recommend this show at any time of year, but the cannon volleys do have a nice rumbling tone that is sure to drown out the carolers at the front door.
Team America: World Police (2004)
Not everyone is going to appreciate the dark and gritty, even if it does provide a stark contrast to the holiday season. If comedy is more your thing and vulgar toilet humor doesn’t offend, then let the creators of South Park take you down the rabbit hole with Team America: World Police. Using puppets akin to the classic Thunderbirds TV series, this film is outrageously funny and over the top at every turn.
The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
I pretty much shamelessly plug this film whenever I get the chance. This is Jackie Chan at his finest and features some of the best Kung Fu action scenes in any film. It also has a decidedly more interesting story and characters than some of its peers and makes for an exiting and lighthearted moviegoing experience. While there is a fair amount of drinking and merriment in this film, it doesn’t have anything to do with the holidays.