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Harold and Kumar put the ‘X’ in Xmas In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA Published: November 01, 2011

a-very-harold-kumar-christmas-banner-neil-patrick-harris-2011The week after Halloween is a strange time to be writing about Christmas movies. Almost like cooking a Thanksgiving dinner in July.

But if department stores can display Lady Gaga masks beside Christmas ornaments and Hollywood can release A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas while we’re still digesting our Halloween haul, I can write about some movies that put the tinsel in Tinsel Town.

Harold and Kumar isn’t your average Christmas movie.

I doubt Jimmy Stewart would have considered burning down the family Christmas tree part of his wonderful Yuletide life, but Harold and Kumar aren’t the first to put the X into Xmas.

Many movies are set at Christmastime — the Brat Packer flick Less Than Zero features an LA Yule, and Die Hard takes place on Christmas Eve — but I’m thinking of movies that use the holidays as a springboard for the action.

The raunchiest Christmas movie has to Bad Santa, starring Billy Bob Thornton as a boozed-up, thieving department store Kris Kringle.

Unsentimental and crude, Bad Santa is bound to make the elves choke on their eggnog.

Dan Aykroyd also played a less than cuddly Santa in Trading Places. Drunk, disorderly and waving a gun around, he even has a fish hidden in his fake beard.

Unwrap Mixed Nuts, the 1994 Nora Ephron black comedy, and you’ll find Christmas tree theft, lunatics and the worst Christmas gift ever: a dead body.

Staying up on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to come, will be easy after watching Black Christmas. You’ll be too scared to sleep!

The tinsel terror about a mysterious killer in the attic is considered to be the first modern slasher movie.

Gremlins mixes horror, humour and ho ho ho’s. Set at Christmas, the story of little creatures who turn nasty when wet features a gory story about a missing father, a chimney, an overstuffed Santa suit and the punchline, “And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.”

A very merry Crime Christmas can be had in both The Ref and Reindeer Games.

In The Ref, cat burglar Dennis Leary soon regrets breaking into the home of squabbling couple Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis on Christmas Eve.

Reindeer Games sees Ben Affleck reluctantly rob a casino at Christmas.

The movie is such a lump of coal that one of its stars had this to say about it: “That was a bad, bad, bad movie,” said Charlize Theron.

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