National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Randy Quaid

Cheer All Year

10 Christmas Movies That Are Great Any Time of Year

Catch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation Saturday, June 25th starting at 8P during IFC's Halfway to Christmas.

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros./Everett Collection

There’s no escaping the holiday spirit, even when it’s hot enough to melt a snowman. With the Griswold family and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation bringing IFC some Christmas spirit in July, we thought we’d offer up list of holiday flicks that are perfect to watch any time. What better way to cool off than with a wintry blast of warped holiday cheer?

1. The Ref

Ref
Touchstone Pictures

In this underrated dark comedy, Denis Leary’s hapless criminal accidentally saves Christmas by breaking into a home and taking the family hostage. It turns out that an armed and dangerous fugitive is the only force capable of getting the bickering couple to talk through their feelings and save their family.


2. The Ice Harvest

Ice Harvest
Focus Features

This Harold Ramis crime caper has our “heroes” helping themselves to a gift of millions of dollars in Mob money, only to find themselves spending Christmas Eve in a strip club waiting out an ice storm. Turns out it’s not just family dinners which can lead to awkward conversations.


3. Batman Returns

Tim Burton’s weirdest Batman film is also one of his most Christmas-y — which is saying a lot coming from the guy who brought us The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s the only Batman film to feature both a Christmas tree lighting ceremony and a kiss under the mistletoe that quickly turns awkward.


4. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Martians
Embassy Pictures

The red suited man brings joy to the red planet in this utterly unique interplanetary invasion. A cult classic raised from cinematic obscurity by Mystery Science Theater 3000, it’s a movie that’s fun to gather together with friends and poke fun at any time of year.


5. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Warner Bros.

Writer/director Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Iron Man 3) has set many of his action movie scripts at Christmas, giving them a darkly satirical edge. His 2005 crime flick gives Robert Downey, Jr. and Val Kilmer some of the funniest moments of their careers, as they try to survive the holiday season in Hollyweird.


6. 3 Godfathers

A Christmas western, with the spirit of the season sprinkled through the most snow-less environment on earth: Death Valley. John Wayne is the leader of three unlikely wise men bringing a newborn child to New Jerusalem in time for Christmas.


7. Gremlins

When watched in December with a steaming mug of cocoa, Joe Dante’s horror comedy plays as a twisted take on It’s a Wonderful Life. But it’s still loads of fun when the thermometer is in the red thanks to its zany, Warner Bros. cartoon-esque energy and special effects that hold up better than other ’80s classics we grew up watching. Plus, Phoebe Cates’ iconic monologue about the worst Christmas ever is even more absurd when viewed with a nice cold lemonade and steaks on the grill.


8. Bad Santa

Terry Zwigoff’s warped, NSFW comedy has a nice message about good will towards men and all that stuff, but it’s mostly just a great, underrated comedy featuring hilarious performances from Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, John Ritter and more. The film has developed such a cult following over the years, there’s even a sequel coming. Badder Santa, perhaps?


9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Wrapped Cat Vacation
Warner Bros.

Easily a high point of the Vacation series, this John Hughes-scripted laughfest came a full year before his other holiday favorite involving severe bodily harm. But unlike Home Alone, this one features Chevy Chase encountering a seriously irate squirrel.


10. Die Hard

The fact that Die Hard is set at Christmas is just a happy accident — it’s a film we can’t stop watching no matter what time of year. What other action hero leaves a holiday message written on a dead bad guy?

We’re halfway to Christmas! Celebrate with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on IFC.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Nick Kroll and John Mulaney To Host Spirit Awards

The Spirit Awards Air February 25 LIVE on IFC.

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The 2017 Spirit Awards have finally found their frontmen: Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. And it’s no wonder. Just marvel in their splendid chemistry back when they appeared on Comedy Bang! Bang!:

The pair are prolific within the performing arts community: television (Kroll in The League and The Kroll Show, Mulaney as a writer of IFC’s own Documentary Now!), theater (including Broadway’s current Oh Hello Show), and stand-up comedy. In fact, it’s entirely possible that emceeing an awards show is one of the few remaining line items on their professional bucket lists.

It’s important to caveat this announcement, however. Unlike the bigger and more ubiquitously known awards shows, the Spirit Awards are not, well…boring. (We’re talking to you, Oscar.)

They’re funny. They’re honest. They have quality to match the red-carpet fanfare. And that’s alarmingly special. Last year’s show included some legitimately historic moments, like when transgender actress Mya Taylor won best supporting female, or Kate McKinnon’s hilarious and timely parody of Carol. See more highlights here to get the flavor of the Spirit Awards and read all about Film Independent to dig deeper.

The 2017 Spirit Awards air live February 25 at 5P ET exclusively on IFC.

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