10. ‘Bad Santa’
“‘Bad Santa’ is for people who are fed up with the whole family attitude toward Christmas,” he said. “They just don’t want anything like it. And this is the anecdote when you’ve had too much of all that good cheer. The interesting thing about ‘Bad Santa’ was that Bill Murray was supposed to play Santa. And the Coen brothers were supposed to be directing it. And I’m sure that Bill Murray could have done something amazing with it. But the fact is, this is one of Billy Bob Thornton’s key roles and to watch him just passed out somewhere is great.”
9. ‘Miracle on 34th Street’
8. ‘The Best Man Holiday’
“You know I’m a big fan of ‘The Best Man’ because in addition to being funny, it took the risk of dealing with people and some of the tragedies in their lives,” Travers said. “It’s basically an African-American Christmas movie that doesn’t exist anywhere else. And it just works because of the quality of what’s happening in this movie. It’s 15 years after the first ‘Best Man.’ And they came back and it wasn’t done for the sense we’re going to make a buck on this or they would have done it right away. It’s a different kind of Christmas movie and it works.”
7. ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is included on the list. Travers said the film, directed by Henry Selick, was clever “because we see Christmas bashing up against Halloween, two different kinds of spirits.” “How do you resist Will Ferrell?” Travers asked. “He’s a guy who’s really a human but he’s somehow taken to Santa Claus Land, where he doesn’t fit in. The funniness of what he does is just incredible. It’s just a beautiful piece of comedy,” said Travers.
5. ‘Home Alone’
“The poster of that movie is so perfect because we see this child left behind by his family trying on after shave. It’s timeless, just perfect,” Travers said.
4. ‘A Christmas Story’
3. ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’
“I’m just into the Griswold family,” he said. “OK, I admit it. I also like ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’ [and] ‘National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation.’ I’m just into the Griswold family and Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo and all their twisted children. It’s National Lampoon, it’s Christmas, it works.”
1. ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Scrooged’
“The first one is Alastair Sim, a British actor who did [1951’s ‘Scrooge’]. And there’s never anything that has ever met what Dickens described as Scrooge closer than Alastair Sims’ performance in this. He’s just, ‘Bah humbug. I hate this. I hate that,'” Travers said. “When anybody asks me, ‘Do you know actors who should have won an Oscar for something that wasn’t even nominated, Alastair Sim is that guy.'”
And according to Travers, Bill Murray’s portrayal of the same character in “Scrooged” is just as stellar.
“Bill Murray managed to update this Dickens’ tale to the corporate life that’s happening now. And for some reason everything about this movie just clicked for me. So those two are musts.”
To see if all your favorites made the list, watch the video above to see the complete breakdown of Peter Travers’ top 10 holiday movies of all time.