Come Christmas afternoon, your local multiplex will be as overstuffed as you and your family — not with ham and spiked eggnog and festering resentment, but with holiday movies. Crowd-pleasing blockbusters, arty Oscar hopefuls, squeaky-clean kids’ fare, and rom-coms will all compete for your Christmas afternoon dollars, leading to the inevitable family arguments over what movie we’re all going to see, because damnit, it’s Christmas and we’re going to spend it together so can we all just compromise a little? It’s Christmas, for Chrissakes!
Poppycock, we say. Save the arguments and cut your losses; this holiday’s movie-going menu is so specialized that there’s no way you’re all going to agree on any one movie, and all of these films have been created with specific target audiences in mind. To that end, we offer these humble suggestions for Christmas Day movie-going, with a little something specific for everyone in the family.
Your Dad: Just send him to the Mission: Impossible movie. It’s fast and fun and he’ll like it — unless he’s got vertigo. In that case, send him to J. Edgar. Dads like all that history stuff.
Your Mom: If there was ever a more mom-geared movie than We Bought a Zoo, we don’t know what it is.
Your Grandma: It’s corny and manipulative to a point of near-insufferability, but War Horse is going to make grandma cry, just you watch.
Your Grandpa: Send him to My Week with Marilyn. Trust us, he likes to think about Marilyn Monroe.
Your Brother: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Then ask why you guys don’t have adventures like Holmes and Watson do.
Your Terrible Sister-in-Law: Send her to Young Adult, and then sneak in and watch her squirm from a distance.
Your Nihilist Goth Niece: Ha, you thought we were gonna say The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, didn’t you? Too easy, and she’ll have already seen it. Send her to The Muppets. Because everyone — even nihilists — loves the Muppets.
Your Nephew: He may want to see The Sitter. Just send him home with a DVD of Adventures in Babysitting. Everyone will be happier.
Your Uncle Who Doesn’t Know Your Aunt is Cheating on Him: The Descendants. Smile sadly at him afterwards.
The Little Kids in the Family that You Like: Hugo or The Adventures of Tintin.
The Little Kids in the Family that You Hate: Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.
The Grown-ups in the Family that You Hate: New Year’s Eve.