Christmas dinner is a time for family, friends and, on occasion, a lot of drama. It’s something the film industry has taken to heart, using it as an opportunity for countless cinematic masterpieces over the years.
While most party movies incorporate a dinner scene, sometimes the best aren’t even in a strictly Christmas movie. Whether it’s for a heartwarming moment or to set up an explosive moment, these are the most iconic.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
This emblematic opus of the National Lampoon The series follows the Griswold family as they try to organize Christmas festivities at home with all of their loved ones. Of course, because they’re the Griswolds, everything’s going wrong – with hilarious results.
Christmas dinner is the perfect example. First, when Aunt Bethany is called to say grace, she is too old to fully understand and ends up taking an oath of allegiance. Then the turkey is inedible and Clark ends up electrocuting Bethany’s cat. In short, it’s a comic disaster (that’s what National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation does the best).
A bad mom’s Christmas
In this festive sequel to decidedly un-festive comedy Bad moms, a trio of moms – Amy, Kiki and Carla – try to cope with their own moms who arrive for Christmas. They all have their own complex mother-daughter relationships, but want to get along well enough to enjoy the holidays.
After many conflicts – including Kiki’s mother deciding to move next door and Amy banishing hers forever when she throws a party without her permission – all is well in time for Christmas dinner. There’s Chinese food and a shocking announcement that their mothers have decided to visit Vegas together. It’s unorthodox, but quite true of the weird and wonderful things that happen as a family on Christmas.
The grinch is the third adaptation of Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch stole Christmas, but still manages to find new joys in the tale. Ultimately, however, he tells the same story, following the Grinch and his pet dog Max as they attempt to spoil Whoville’s Christmas by stealing his presents and decor.
Of course, he’s ultimately redeemed with the help of Who, Cindy-Lou. The film ends with him attending Christmas dinner at her house. Although awkward at first, he gives a speech and says, “Kindness and love, the things we need most!” Although very on the nose, this kind of feeling is the essence of Christmas.
Instant family follows Pete and Ellie after adopting three siblings and trying to start a new family. While not a Christmas movie, it is very focused on love and trust – both of which are common Christmas themes – and includes a classic festive dinner sequence that hurts. turned.
The youngest, Lita, insists she wants crisps for dinner, but is told no. She subsequently has a total collapse, which sets off broken glasses, flying crisps, and a fire that Pete tries to put out with ketchup. The photo of Lita covered in ketchup and menacingly wielding a SpongeBob SquarePants knife is hilarious, if not a strong reminder that not everyone gets along on Christmas.
The family stone
Dysfunctional families are what The family stone is everything, so of course it takes place on Christmas. Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker) arrives at her boyfriend Everett (Dermot Mulroney), where he plans to propose his marriage. However, her family’s reaction is hostile – and Meredith finds herself drawn to their youngest son, Ben (Luke Wilson).
It might just be a Christmas dinner – not a Christmas dinner – but nothing sums up the tension better than this scene. When Everett’s other brother, Thad, and his partner Patrick express their intention to adopt a child, Meredith takes a major misstep in her attempts to strike up a conversation. Extremely awkward is what everyone dreads when visiting someone else’s house for the holidays.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
With Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit and Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge (who else), Mickey’s Christmas Carol makes for a heartwarming festive watch. In this adaptation of Dickens’ timeless A Christmas Carol, Scrooge confronts his past mistakes. He tries to make amends to his employee Bob, having treated him badly for too long.
One of the most memorable scenes sees Scrooge watching Bob come home for Christmas dinner. He is horrified that they all have to share a little bird and nothing else. Tiny Tim is still overjoyed, grateful for everything despite his unfortunate fate in life. Much like the original novel, it sends a powerful message about inequalities and what really matters in life.
The Meyers family reunite for the holidays for the first time since their mother died in 2016 Almost Christmas. This is a dysfunctional bunch with countless issues – which, of course, all show up at Christmas dinner.
Not only do they discover that their father is selling their family home, an extramarital affair is revealed and the despised Cheryl (Kimberley Elise) confronts her unfaithful husband with a shotgun. Christmas doesn’t get much more eventful than that.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
the Harry potter movies have long been considered Christmas movies other than Christmas movies. In The order of the Phoenix, audiences can see the Weasley Clan (along with Harry, Hermione, and Sirius) sit down to celebrate not only Christmas, but Arthur’s miraculous recovery from a snake attack as well.
Any glimpse into how wizards make Christmas is always welcome, and given that this is one of the darkest entries in the franchise, the moment of lightness feels well-deserved. What makes him truly powerful is knowing that this is Harry’s first – and last – chance to celebrate Christmas with his godfather.
After Scott Calvin indirectly kills Santa Claus, he unknowingly enters the “Santa Clause” when he dons the Santa Claus costume. Legally, he has to take on the role – no matter how cynical or resistant he may be to the idea.
Because Santa is a Disney movie, it arrives in time for the following Christmas. However, the dinner scene at the start of the movie really shows how difficult it is to get to that point. In his desperate efforts to properly celebrate the season, Scott accidentally burns Christmas dinner and has to take his son Charlie to Denny’s instead. What could be more Christmas than plans gone wrong?
The Muppets’ Christmas Carol
Combining the Muppets with Charles Dickens shouldn’t work, but it does. Every scene of The Muppets’ Christmas Carol is a warm, cozy and festive delight. As Ebenezer Scrooge’s redemption takes center stage, a cast of Muppets fills the other roles, with Rizzo stepping in to tell the whole story.
For its heartwarming finale, the audience sees Scrooge invite the ailing Cratchits (played by Kermit and Miss Piggy) to a big turkey dinner. All the other Muppets join us soon, singing a final rendition of “When Love Is Found”. What could easily be sweet and sickly manages to be genuinely sentimental – a rarity in the party genre.
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