While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films that are readily available to stream. With Christmas coming up, we've selected a coterie of four essential holiday classics, headlined by one nonessential yet nevertheless sweet and worthwhile new release.
Happiest Season (2020)
Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star in Clea DuVall's directorial debut as Abby and Harper, a lesbian couple whose relationship is rocked while visiting Harper's conservative family for the holidays…whom she hasn't come out to. Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Mary Steenburgen and others round out this saccharine rom-com's stacked cast. Hulu.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time, Frank Capra's heartwarming drama tells the tale of George Bailey (James Stewart), a depressed man whose plan to commit suicide on Christmas Eve is interrupted by a guardian angel (Henry Travers) who shows him the myriad ways in which his selflessness has touched the lives of others. Amazon Prime. Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Fanny and Alexander (1982)
In auteur Ingmar Bergman's semi-autobiographical drama, titular siblings Fanny and Alexander come of age against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century Sweden. The first 45 minutes of the 188-minute theatrical cut treats us to a gorgeous depiction of a traditional Swedish Christmas, featuring a Nativity play and a lavish party. Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, HBO Max, iTunes.
The Apartment (1960)
After an insurance clerk (Jack Lemmon) with ambitions to climb the corporate ladder offers his apartment for married higher-ups to have their trysts in, he discovers the company's elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine) he's been falling for happens to be his boss's mistress. We often forget this classic is in fact a holiday movie: A pivotal scene takes place at an office Christmas party! Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.
Black Christmas (1974)
Right before winter break, a group of sorority girls receive a series of threatening phone calls and are subsequently stalked and killed by a deranged stranger. For those who prefer the creepiness of Halloween to the cheeriness of Christmas, look no further than this seminal snowy slasher that inspired a slew of horror filmmakers. Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, Google Play, iTunes, Kanopy, Peacock, Shudder, Tubi, Vudu, YouTube.