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What to stream: Christmas edition

By Jeff Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Dec. 23 2013 4:16 p.m. MST

Bing Crosby, Vera-Ellen, Rosemary Clooney and Danny Kaye star in "White Christmas."

Paramount Home Entertainment

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Christmas is here, and what better way to bring the family together than to put on a holiday-themed movie?

Rather conveniently, each of the big-three streaming services has posted a list of Christmas titles offered on their respective sites. These include plenty of seasonal favorites like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Netflix Instant, “Scrooged” on Amazon Prime Instant and, among the three subscription services, not one but several versions of the Yule log fireplace.

If you’re looking for something new to watch, though, here’s a quick list of outside-the-box Christmas movies as well as a few other December recommendations.

Christmas movies

“White Christmas” — Fun fact: Irving Berlin’s classic song of the same name was listed as the best-selling single of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007. While everybody still sings “White Christmas,” though, the 1954 movie — about a song-and-dance team trying to help a friend on Christmas Eve — isn’t quite as well known as it used to be. A good, old-fashioned holiday story, it stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt), but the real standout is Berlin’s music.

Rating: G

Available on: Netflix Instant

“Black Adder’s A Christmas Carol” – From the Muppets to Mickey Mouse to Mr. Magoo, there’s no shortage of variations on Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story. For a slightly different twist, try this one featuring Rowan Atkinson as Ebenezer Blackadder, the kindest man in Victorian England (despite a long family history of wretches and villains) who, after a visit from the Spirit of Christmas, becomes persuaded to give meanness a try. Other famous British actors like Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie co-star.

Rating: TV-PG

Available on: Netflix Instant

“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” Frequently called one of the worst films ever made, this 1964 B-movie is to Christmas what “Plan 9 from Outer Space” is to Halloween. If that comparison alone doesn’t immediately make you want to put it at the top of your streaming queue, then it’s a safe bet that it might not be your cup of tea.

Rating: Not rated

Available on: Netflix Instant, Amazon Prime Instant, Hulu Plus

“Becoming Santa” – A 2011 documentary about a man’s journey to become a volunteer St. Nick for a season. Along with a physical transformation, the process ends up becoming one of discovery as he learns what Santa means in today’s world. A fantastic choice that gets at the true spirit of Christmas without pandering.

Rating: Not rated

Available on: Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus

“The Hudsucker Proxy” It isn’t about Christmas per se, but the Coen Bros.’ 1994 comedy starring Tim Robbins channels the classic Frank Capra holiday vibe in its story about a dimwitted mailroom worker who is made president of his company as part of a stock scam. It’s a lot more Christmasy than that might make it sound. Particularly recommended for fans of other Coen Bros. comedies like “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “Raising Arizona.”

Rating: PG

Available on: Amazon Prime Instant

Other picks

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