Tyler’s Flix Pix: Netflix Winter Wonderland

It’s hard to believe how quickly a ten-week quarter can fly by and it’s even better when its conclusion lies on the cusp of the holiday season. Alongside Thanksgiving, Christmas is the perfect family holiday, and watching movies together is one of the most common activities in which families engage during this time. Therefore, the following Netflix Instant recommendations will of course be movies set on or around Christmas.

First up is the quintessential Christmas classic, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” In “Christmas Vacation,” Chevy Chase plays Clark Griswold, the head of the Griswold family, who can never have a family vacation without it turning into a complete disaster. The movie has all the trimmings of traditional Christmas activities, but also a big bag of laughs brought by no one better than John Hughes.

Next up is “The Polar Express,” an adaptation of the children’s book that just about everyone read as a young kid sometime during the Christmas holiday season. The movie was made through the earliest use of performance-capture, a technology that incorporates the movement of actors into 3D animation. This technology allowed Tom Hanks to play six roles in the film, including The Conductor, and also paved the way for the lush animation of the book’s most notable settings. Best of all though, the movie does a great job at communicating the simple yet sweet message of the book itself.

Before I reveal my third recommendation, I’ll ask you this question: What do you get when you combine Christmas with everyone’s favorite punch-line actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger? Quite simply, you get “Jingle All The Way.” First off, this movie doesn’t hold up well today, and it is perfectly acceptable not to call it “good.” Fortunately, it does retain that sense of the harmless, over-the-top nostalgia of many movies released in the 1990s, which ultimately makes it a fun watch with friends or family.

The last of my recommendations will be a pick for the non-traditional crowd, which is “The Ice Harvest.” Set on Christmas Eve in Wichita, Kansas, John Cusack plays a mob lawyer, who alongside his partner, played by Billy Bob Thornton, steals over two million dollars from his boss. The film is ultimately a dark comedy combined with film noir, a genre blend that works surprisingly well for its midwestern setting, and the chemistry between the actors rarely hits any bumps.

With winter break right around the corner, viewing Christmas-themed movies will quickly become a common attraction, so take some of these titles into consideration, and enjoy the holidays that await.