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CRACKED's Christmas Comedy Encyclopedia

The Classics


A Christmas Story
(1983)

Before 1983, most people thought it was impossible to combine a heartwarming message entirely rooted in materialism with absolutely hilarious injuries to a child's eye. Thanks to Jean Shepard, we now know how wrong those people are.

VERDICT
With a script that stays hilarious even on the 23rd hour of the annual full-day marathon and an entire cast that doesn't miss a single beat, it's not just the greatest Christmas comedy ever made—it's hands-down one of the Greatest Movies of All Time, period.

FUN CHRISTMAS FACT
The fact that Darren McGavin didn't win an Oscar, a SAG award, and the Congressional Medal of Freedom for his role as the Old Man is the single greatest tragedy in the history of film.

Christmas Vacation
(1989)

It's rare that a film works so well on multiple levels, but the over-the-top slapstick comedy of John Hughes' script captures both the sheer manic joy of the Christmas spirit and the horrifying realization that you've got to spend time with your family.

VERDICT
The non-stop sequence of gags make this one a great comedy, but it's Randy Quaid's role as Clark's brain-damaged redneck cousin that makes this a movie you're going to want to watch every year to prepare yourself for your own relatives.

FUN CHRISTMAS FACT
There was once a time—before the painkillers, before the talk show, before Karate Dog—when Chevy Chase was a box office draw.

Miracle on 34th Street
(1947)

The All-Time Champion of Christmas Comedies, and for good reason: it’s one of the only “heartwarming” Christmas movies that’s actually heartwarming, and sharp scenes like the scene where William Frawley explains why the judge can’t rule against Kris Kringle (pressure from the teamsters, naturally) are every bit as funny today as they were when this movie was released.

VERDICT
Come on: Edmund Gwenn’s completely earnest portrayal of an institutionalized Santa Claus taking the stand to prove he’s legit with the help of the US Postal Service? That’s the kind of scenario David E. Kelly dreams of coming up with.

FUN CHRISTMAS FACT
Even though it was filmed sixty years ago, this movie stands as the last time the role of a “precocious child” didn’t immediately make you want to strangle someone.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
(1966)

Yes, we know this isn't a feature film, but if there’s anything Ron Howard’s thoroughly unnecessary live-action remake proved, it’s that the Chuck Jones original is pretty much perfect. And since it crams more holiday cheer into 22 minutes than any animated short in recent memory, we’re going to go ahead and include it. If you have a problem with that, then we’ve got three words that best describe you, pal.

VERDICT
Remember the part when his tiny dog Max is forced to pull that heavy sleigh? Or when the Grinch steals that Christmas tree in front of the adorable Cindy Lou Who? Or Thurl Ravenscroft's infectious baritone on "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch"? Of course you do, and it's because this film dominates as much mental real estate as our first sexual experiences. Especially for CRACKED Editor Justin Droms, who, since losing his virginity while watching The Grinch, cannot properly have sex without it being on in the room.

FUN CHRISTMAS FACT
Thurl Ravenscroft was also the voice of Kellogg's Tony the Tiger until his death in May of 2005. So, you know, don't say you've never learned anything from this website.

Love Actually
(2003)

With something like twenty-eight interconnected love stories set at Christmas, it’s hard to pick just one moment to highlight, but trust us: Tim from The Office trying to work up the courage to ask out the girl he’s pretending to have sex with as a stand-in for a porn flick is everything you’ve ever wanted from a holiday picture.

VERDICT
We might be in danger of losing our street cred as the manliest humorists alive by saying this, but that scene where Liam Neeson’s kid looks up at him and goes: “All right, Dad, let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love” is probably the most badass and inspirational thing we’ve seen since the end of Rocky IV.

FUN CHRISTMAS FACT
Every British person alive was cast in this movie.

The Ref
(1994)

Check out this bold claim: The Ref is the best film starring Dennis Leary. Trust us, people. It took a lot of brave decision-making to write that with all the other movies eligible for that distinction. And we stand by it.

VERDICT
Surely, with all the attempted robbery and bondage, this one’s probably the darkest Christmas comedy of all time, but with a great performance from Kevin Spacey playing against type as a staggeringly dysfunctional suburban husband, that’s to be expected.

FUN CHRISTMAS FACT
Dennis Leary broke into countless Boston apartments to research his role as the thieving Gus.

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