Top Ten Christmas Movies (With Explosions)

lethal weapon 560x310During the giving season, nothing spells holiday cheer like the time-honored tradition of gathering together to watch Christmas movies. These are films that warm our hearts, moisten our cheeks, and force Uncle Tobias to stop telling ‘Nam stories for a few hours. Yes, these are movies that generations of children have delighted over and filled their dreams with pleasant imaginings of yuletide lore. We’re talking, of course, about movies where stuff blows up. A lot of Stuff.

10: Santa With Muscles (1996)

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When Hulk Hogan makes a movie, you pretty much know what to expect from the outset: lots of grunting, a few laughably choreographed fight scenes straight out of a WWF blooper reel, and Hulk Hogan being Hulk Hogan (grunting). Yeah, there's a lot of grunting in this movie. We spent many sleepless nights wondering whether or not to include this movie here since the title is 10 Best Christmas Movies. In the end, it eked into the number 10 spot... may God have mercy on our souls. Hogan is an amoral rich guy trying to hide from the cops, so he disguises himself as Santa and through a riveting emotional plot twist, gets a bang on the head and starts believing he's actually jolly ol' St. Nick. Uh, yeah, go ahead and skip to the rest of the list.

9: Jack Frost: Chillin’ and Killin’ (1996)

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In 1979, we were treated to the heartwarming story of Jack Frost, a snow sprite who risked everything to become human and win the heart of the girl of his dreams. Seventeen years later, a movie with the same name was released with a slightly different plot. In this film, Jack Frost is a psychopathic serial killer who accidentally collides with a truck carrying an acid that genetically modifies living organisms. You can see how it's sort of the same.

So Jack comes back to life as a murderous mutant snowman and wreaks havoc on a small town, murdering nearly the entire cast before being thwarted by a truck full of anti-freeze. This is the kind of movie Peter Jackson would make if talent came from intravenous gravy injections. It's a film that blind and deaf children can "watch" without feeling like they're missing key plot elements. There's an explosion, sure, but most of it is off-screen because making fire requires a budget of more than $15... and they still had to pay the actors. The only reason this isn't number ten is because, well, you know (see #10).

8: Reindeer Games (2000)

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If your best friend died, what would you do? While most people would spend time grieving, or maybe attending the funeral, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) decides to assume the deceased's identity to get with his girlfriend (Charlize Theron). It turns out her brother is a criminal who wants to rob a casino, but can't do it without the help of the man who Rudy is pretending to be. He's left with two options: die or join the heist. Affleck then spends the entire movie sputtering out stories about the casino the other guy worked at, which are about as believable as his acting. Charlize Theron once said that Reindeer Games was the worst movie she had ever worked on. Yes, even worse than Aeon Flux.

7: Jingle All the Way (1996)

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in a movie about Christmas?? Count me in! Well, not so fast. Arnie plays a dad who never has time for his son, so he tries to make up for it by getting his son the best Christmas present in the whole world: a Turbo Man action figure. But wait! This close to Christmas every store is already sold out of the best toy in the whole world, so cue the fun holiday music as the man we've mistaken for an action hero all these years runs, trots and jogs his way through town to make sure his son isn't disappointed. This entry is technically cheating because the only explosions are in the Turbo Man TV scenes, but our childhood dreams exploded enough while watching it that it definitely deserves a mention.

6: Batman Returns (1992)

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To be honest, we don't have a lot of bad things to say about this movie. It's not the best film, but hey, it's Batman, and even better, it's not Batman and Robin. Any movie that received its MPAA rating based solely on "brooding, dark violence" is worth a shot in our book. This movie doesn't just have explosions and Batman, it has rocket-propelled penguins. Our only regret is that if Tim Burton had done more with it the series wouldn't have been turned over to Joel "that guy who did Batman and Robin" Schumacher, and maybe there would have been fewer random acts of violence in 1997.

5: Brazil (1985)

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Most people see Terry Gilliam's visionary film about a dystopian future as a treatise on the oppression caused by bureaucracy when given too much power. Others see it as a doomed love story between two very different people from two very different social classes. At Gunaxin, Brazil is a classic Christmas movie about a dystopian future where the bureaucracy is given too much power. The fact is, it's a Christmas movie, and it has at least one explosion, so it's going on the goddamn list. Gilliam was forced to essentially go to war with the studio to get the film released. The producers wanted a happier, more "viewer friendly" version.

4: Die Hard 2 (1990)


John McClane returns in another high tension hostage situation. Rather than make a movie about him, the filmmakers decided to just follow McClane around as he went about his daily life, documentary style. Before the final credits roll, he manages to blow up a couple of snowmobiles, a terrorist, a drug dealer, and an airplane, because if there's one thing John McClane knows, it's how to bring in Christmas with a bang.

3: Lethal Weapon (1987)

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The forerunner of the modern buddy cop genre, Lethal Weapon set a standard that has yet to be surpassed. Danny Glover takes on the role of Roger Murtaugh, a retiring LA cop who is partnered with the suicidal, manic-depressive Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), a loose cannon in every sense of the word (except, like... actually being a cannon). This less-than-dynamic duo single-handedly bring down a major drug smuggling ring and gradually learn the true value of friendship. Oh and there's a lot of explosions.

2: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

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How many Christmas movies can you think of that feature a compelling murder mystery, a gay man and Robert Downey Jr.? Well, how many movies have "Kiss" and "Bang" twice each in the title? Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came out in 2005 and received surprisingly little attention for what it offered. The script is well-written, the jokes are a-mile-a-minute, and both the acting and directing are nearly flawless. This isn't one for the kids (as if any of these are), but it manages to be entertaining for both teens and adults. This is Shane Black's directorial debut -- the same guy responsible for penning the first and second Lethal Weapon movies and the upcoming Iron Man 3.

1: Die Hard (1988)

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This isn't a movie with explosions. This is an explosion that was given a plot and a release date. As one of the tightest action packed thrillers of all time, Die Hard tops this list with what is undoubtedly the most satisfying explosion in cinematic history. Nothing says American Christmas like John McClane gunning through quasi-European terrorists at the top of a 40-story building, then blowing the main baddie out a plate-glass window. Yippee ki-yay...