19 Annoying Christmas Movies We Can't Stop Watching

Damarys Ocaña Perez | Dec 13, 2019 Movies
19 Annoying Christmas Movies We Can't Stop Watching

Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually (2003)
Universal Pictures

Ever felt like smacking a particularly obnoxious Christmas movie character through the TV screen, or wonder, Why'd I just spend the last two hours watching a crappy holiday flick I've seen at least 20 times? (Yeah, us too.) It's that time of year again, when our standards for what makes a movie watchable dips more than a pack of reindeer trying to land on a tiny roof. 

Although there are plenty of classic Christmas flicks with undisputed greatness that make us look forward to watching them all year -- such as It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone -- many holiday flicks aren't exactly timeless works of art. They're more like old tinsel that studios throw at theaters and TVs to see if it sticks. Many of them do, 'cause they only need a little snow, some family antics, a little romance, and a half-baked message about "what's really important in life" for us to get hooked -- even if we kick ourselves for watching it later on.

Christmas is sneaky that way. We all want to be happy during the holidays, crowd onto a couch together and have a good laugh (or a good sigh), and maybe even shed a tear or two. We want to see our favorite stars do the things that have become familiar holiday movie fare, whether it's packing into a car to drive to their parents' with a fiancé no one in the family will like or become a very irreverent Santa or step into a fairy tale world where hot cocoa, crackling fires, amagic, wonder, and happiness still reign supreme. 

Sometimes, in our quest to get those holiday feels, we overlook major flaws -- such as the fact that the main kid is a brat, half of the characters are actually total jerks, or the script sounds like a drunk monkey typed it out. We're all guilty of the mental blockage that's required to be entertained during the holidays, year in and year out, so let's not keep them a secret. 

Just making this list of 20 annoying movies that we somehow we can't stop watching made us want to watch all of them all. Call it a case of Christmas cheeritis. There is no cure. 

  • 'A Christmas Story'

    1

    This pain-fest has played on loop on basic cable since forever, basically shoved down our throats as a classic. In reality, A Christmas Story stars an annoying little kid in glasses who does a series of supposedly cute but actually dumb kid things with his friends throughout the entire movie. It also features that leg lamp that we can buy at mall novelty shops and some seriously schmaltzy narration. Why do people love this again? We suspect it's a knee-jerk reaction at this point. 

  • 'Love, Actually'

    2

    Oh, stop gasping like this is blasphemy! We all know that underneath the relentless Christmas euphoria and posh London accents, this movie is trash. There's only one realistic character in it, and that's Emma Thompson's SAHM, whose husband stomps on her heart. On the other side of the spectrum, there are terrible people -- such as the selfish jerk who tells his best friend's wife he's in love with her, and a widower who starts dating a model a month after his wife dies. Oh, and go ahead and throw away that entire story line about the adult movie stand-ins falling for each other (yawn). But, hey, Christmas love, amiright? 

    So, psst ... where can we stream it again?

  • 'Four Christmases'

    3

    Honestly, we'd watch Reese Witherspoon in anything, even this messy movie about a couple who's forced to visit all four of their dysfunctional divorced parents during Christmas. Underneath the blah comedy and blah chemistry between Witherspoon and a pained-looking Vince Vaughn, there's a message about overcoming emotional roadblocks that's kinda worth sticking around for.

  • 'Deck the Halls'

    4

    Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito are neighbors competing with each other in increasingly sociopathic ways to be their town's holiday cheerleader, Mr. Christmas. It turns obnoxious pretty quickly, but it's hard to look away. Deck the Halls is the movie we turn to when we need an outlet for our furious desire to sabotage our neighbor's million-watt light display.

  • 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'

    5

    Look, Jim Carrey did a phenomenal job as the sour hermit bent on ruining Whoville's Christmas -- maybe too good. When he's not onscreen, we might as well take a nap for all the fun it is to watch goody-two-shoes Whoville residents with pointy noses and weird hair that did not translate well from book to screen. Basically, the Grinch is all of us, until Carrey is back on the screen. Worst of all may be the disorienting camera work, which distorts the perspective in nearly every scene until we're nauseous.

  • 'Office Christmas Party'

    6

    Office Christmas Party has a great cast with movie and TV cred: Horrible Bosses' Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, Silicon Valley's T.J. Miller, and SNL's Kate McKinnon. To be fair, it does have some genuinely funny moments that are worth a watch, but considering the talent and the plot (the head of a family business throws an epic Christmas party to impress a potential client), Office Christmas Party tries too hard while never living up to the hype -- exactly like real office holiday parties. We know that playing the uptight nice guy is Bateman's thing, but he totally sleepwalks through this, and it's such a waste.

  • 'The Family Stone'

    7

    If we thought Sarah Jessica Parker could be grating as Carrie in Sex and the City, she's twice as annoying in The Family Stone, playing a ridiculously uptight New York exec meeting her boyfriend's liberal New England family during the holidays. But she's not the only one who makes our eyes roll: The family's privileged, more-enlightened-than-thou's attitude is just this side of obnoxious as well. Still, there's just something about dysfunctional family Christmas movies that we can't resist.

  • 'The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause'

    8

    The Santa Clause parts one and two, which track a divorced dad's transformation into the big guy and follow his adventures in the North Pole, are pretty good. And they have the box office revenue to prove it. It's another story for Santa Clause 3, in which Santa tries to stop Jack Frost (an irritating Martin Short) from ruining Christmas. Tim Allen definitely did that one for the paycheck, and it shows in how he sleepwalks through it. We still find ourselves watching it when it's on, because it's part of the canon.

  • 'A Christmas Prince'

    9

    In Netflix's first foray into Hallmark Christmas movie territory, a journalist is sent out to cover events at a fictional fairy tale-esque kingdom (where everyone miraculously speak perfect English). She falls for the crown prince ... during Christmas ... of course. The acting is cringey and at times unintentionally hilarious. But hey, the palace is gorgeously decorated for the season, and there are romps in the snow. 

    Sooo .... sold!

  • 'A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas'

    10

    We know the drill: A small movie is an unexpected huge hit, breaks barriers in Hollywood, and becomes iconic -- in this case, Harold and Kumar, an irreverent and funny stoner buddy movie with Asian lead actors. But like many hit movies turned franchises, it got less funny with each film. By the third film, the jokes about tokes are super old, but our goodwill toward John Cho and Kal Penn is strong enough to make us watch. 

  • 'Polar Express'

    11

    Does it make us jaded that a beloved children's story about a kid who takes a train to meet Santa gives us the profound creeps as adults? Watching The Polar Express now, we wonder how it didn't give us nightmares -- between the early motion-capture CGI tech that made the characters look like empty-eyed zombies, and the sheer terror induced by all the scary moments. As a psychological Christmas thriller with a heartwarming end, it totally works. 

  • 'Ernest Saves Christmas'

    12

    Ernest Saves Christmas is relentlessly loud and full of sight gags and broad slapstick comedy. It's hokey, and it's in-ya-face annoying. But then again, that's the whole point of the Ernest P. Worrell character, which spawned five movies -- including this Christmas misadventure. Ernest Saves Christmas really tries super duper hard to get us to laugh and love it, and gosh darn it, it succeeds.

     We just can't hate it. 

  • 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'

    13

    Yup, we're going after another Christmas classic. There are a lot of laughs in this third installment of the National Lampoon movies, thanks to Chevy Chase, but National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is nearly ruined by the weak sauce kids (young Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki) and how prominent the obnoxious redneck Cousin Eddie is. Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie is the whole reason why we don't bother with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2, which is where we draw the line of bad Christmas flicks.

  • 'A Madea Christmas'

    14

    Madea movies tend to be polarizing to begin with, depending on how much one can of take Tyler Perry's dressing in drag and putting on Madea's voice, which is like listening to very sassy nails on a chalkboard. This movie can stretch the tolerance for it, but Madea Christmas is still funny and has an underlying message about diverse groups acknowledging their prejudices and getting along -- which we can see coming a mile away but is effective anyway.

  • 'Home Alone 2: Lost in New York'

    15

    We're not even going after Home Alone 3. (Macaulay Culkin's not in it, so who cares?) We're calling out part two for the bare-faced cash grab that it is. (The studio even released video games at the same time to make more moolah.) The plot development is basically the same as in the classic original film ... all they did was change the setting to Manhattan. Even Macaulay remembers it as a grueling exercise that required him as a 10-year-old to shoot at 4 a.m. Still, even he watches it when he's flipping channels. "It's something that's there," he deadpanned on The Tonight Show. "It's like a thing." 

    Exactly our thoughts.

  • 'Jack Frost'

    16

    Talk about a downer. A dad who is away a lot for work dies in a car crash at Christmas. He comes back a year later -- as, um, a snowman -- to make amends with his son, before, ya know, spring comes, and, uh, the sun comes out, and, uh ... he melts. We wouldn't let our kids anywhere near this depressing movie, but we admit to watching it anyway. If only to wonder at the fact that it was ever made.

  • 'Fred Claus'

    17

    "Why did Vince Vaughn make a Christmas movie?" is all we think when we watch this. Throughout this entire movie, he looks like he begrudgingly showed up to work in clothes he passed out in after a night of drinking. He made this clunker -- in which he plays Santa's ne'er-do-well brother, two years after Wedding Crashers with the same director -- which explains the cringey attempts at his trademark bullet-fast monologues. The film's saving grace is Paul Giamatti as Santa.

  • 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever'

    18

    Holy doo-doo balls. Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever is actually a live-action movie inspired by the dearly departed feline internet sensation of the same name. It's a stinker that we nevertheless watch after several glasses of wine, when it magically becomes funny. Deadpan queen Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Rec does Grumpy's voice, whereas the cat star itself actually never opens its mouth. The whole thing is bizarre.

  • 'Jingle All the Way 2'

    19

    Remember the Jingle All the Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad? Classic, right? This is not that. This is Larry the Cable Guy, hamming it up as his divorced dad character competes with his ex-wife's wealthy new hubby to get his daughter the ultimate Christmas present, a talking bear called Harrison. The kid is cute, though, so we're watching.

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