5 Christmas Movies That Prove America Is Worth Saving

(Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)

Gage Klipper Commentary & Analysis Writer
Font Size:

While political fights are known to flare up around the dinner table, coming together around a beloved Christmas movie is a good way to ease the tension. Often, Christmas movies follow the same formula: the hero starts as a scrooge, and comes to learn the true meaning of Christmas. We are imparted with messages of faith and family, gratitude and generosity, hope and grace— all equally as important to the American tradition as they are to the Christmas spirit. But the Daily Caller won’t just recommend the same old movies that play on a loop every year. Here are some unconventional movies to watch this Christmas that might just remind your liberal family members of all the good America has to offer.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

OK, fine— there’s one conventional film on this list. But there’s no better reflection of the bygone values Americans yearn for than Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

George Bailey lives a life of service and sacrifice. He gives up his dreams to continue his family’s Building & Loan which supports development in the local community. He has a loving wife Mary and four children who adore him. George’s life has a purpose measured by the impact he has on those around him.  Yet resentful of all his life choices, he takes this all for granted and finds himself contemplating suicide after he loses company money. An angel comes to show him what the town would be like if he had “never been born.”

Seeing that the town would have fallen into squalor, his brother would have died, and his wife would have become an “old maid,” George learns to appreciate all that he has — and that nothing is more important than family and fellowship. The angel stands as a symbol of redemption and grace, and ultimately reminds George of the power of choice. All of his life choices had consequences, and just as he chose a life of service, the townspeople work to repay his kindness by raising the money he needs to save the bank.

“Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”

2. In Bruges (2008)

Set at Christmas time in a “fairy tale”-like Belgian town, Martin McDonagh’s “In Bruges” is a dark comedy about two men finding strength through moral clarity. Ken and Ray are two English assassins, laying low in Bruges until the heat from a botched hit blows over; Ray accidentally murdered a child. While Ray grapples with his culpability, the older Ken comes to feel a sense of obligation toward his protege. When the boss tells Ken he must take out Ray, his conscience gets in the way.

In the final scene, Ken sacrifices himself, realizing that his only shot at redemption from a life of sin is to give Ray a chance to make his own amends. Lying wounded, Ray in turn finally accepts the consequences of his heinous acts. He realizes Hell is what we make for ourselves, and just prays not to die in Bruges. (RELATED: Obama-Produced Movie Reveals The Future Liberals Have In Store For Us)

Self-sacrifice and accountability are two of the most frowned-upon virtues in today’s world. “In Bruges” is a great reminder of why they still matter.

3. Babette’s Feast (1987)

A little-known Danish film, Gabriel Axel’s “Babette’s Feast didn’t make the Vatican’s film list for no good reason. It captures the spirit of Christmas in its final scene perhaps better than any movie ever made.

Set in a 19th-century village, the film opens with two sisters taking on the spiritual duties of their pastor father after he passes away. They provide simple sustenance to the chaste villagers, but cannot fill the vacuum of spiritual charity their late father bestowed. The village is rife with grudges, spite, and rivalries.

Providence intervenes in the form of Babette, a stranger who entreats the sisters for some work and a place to stay. She serves as a loyal servant for 20 years until she suddenly wins the lottery. Forsaking an easy retirement, she instead decides to spend her entire winnings crafting a feast for all who treated her kindly over the years. She slaves in the kitchen for days, and the film portrays the multi-course feast in exquisite detail.

As the villagers reluctantly accept that food can serve as more than mere sustenance, so too do their bitter feelings toward each other melt away. As the joy and brotherly love slowly reveals itself in their faces, the food transforms from its physical form to a taste of Grace itself.

4. Andrei Rublev

The least conventional Christmas film on the list, “Andrei Rublev” is certainly the most based. Directed by Soviet detractor Andrei Tarkovsky, it follows the life of the famed 15th Russian icon painter.

Although little is known about the artist’s life, Tarkovsky tells a story of struggle — both spiritual and material — against the forces that would destroy his world. The film asks the question: how do we endure civilizational threats while resisting the depravity of our nature? While Rublev faced barbarian hordes, cruel tyrants, hedonistic pagans, and his spiritual doubt, we too face anti-civilization forces from within and without in our moment in history.

The film seeks universal answers on how to endure that transcend time and place. Is faith the answer, or beauty, or brotherly love? These are all timely themes to ponder at Christmas, and the viewer will be imparted with profound wisdom on all three. (RELATED: Hollywood’s Latest Blockbuster Wages War On The Legacy Of Great Men)

5. Four Christmases 

If you’re in the mood for some lighter fare, then Seth Gordon’s “Four Christmases” is the way to go. At a time when DINKs are taking the internet by storm, this film couples hilarious hijinks with a decidedly anti-DINK message.

@johnefinance In our DINK era 💅 #dinks ♬ original sound – Johnefinance | John Eringman

Calling themselves DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids), millennial couples began posting videos of themselves bragging about the all indulgences that lifestyle provides. In the film, wealthy DINKs Brad and Kate are forced to spend time with their families after their luxury Christmas travel plans fall through at the last minute. While they insist they’re happy as they are, visiting each of their dysfunctional, divorced parents’ reveals the things they’ve both kept hidden and strains their relationship.

In the end, they realize their commitment phobias stem from their own broken families, but that there is no point harboring resentment. Skip forward 9 months later, and we find them introducing their first child to all of her grandparents.

Put this one on for your kids who are adamantly opposed to giving you some grandchildren. Sleeping in late, $9 lattes and last-minute vacations, might be fun for a while— but won’t ever provide a real purpose that our younger generation desperately needs.