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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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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