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3 great comedies you need to watch on Christmas Day

A family sits down for dinner in The Ref.
Touchstone Pictures

Let’s face it: Christmas can sometimes be a downer. It could be that gathering together with your family is more stressful than joyful, or maybe this year, you’re all alone and aren’t feeling too great about that.

Well, there’s one easy way to chase away the blues, at least for a couple of hours: watching a good comedy. No, we’re not talking about Scrooged or Home Alone; everyone knows to watch them at this time of year. These three comedies are either underrated or just aren’t thought about at Christmas. It’s a shame, as it’s the perfect time to watch them.

Need more holiday viewing suggestions? Then check out the best Christmas movies to stream, the best Christmas movies on Netflix, the best Christmas movies on Hulu, the best Christmas movies on Max, the best Christmas movies on Disney+, the best Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel, 7 great Christmas movies you can watch for free, and 7 best funny Christmas movies you should watch this season.

The Ref (1994)

Three people are in a car in The Ref.
Touchstone Pictures

For years, The Ref was the go-to holiday movie for all cynical, sarcastic people everywhere. (I am one of them.) Bad Santa and Violent Night have since supplanted it, but The Ref deserves to be rediscovered. It’s just as funny and nasty as ever.

The Ref follows bickering affluent couple Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur as they try to survive another Christmas Eve together. Soon, they encounter a bigger problem: they are kidnapped by jewelry thief Gus, who needs to hide from the cops for a few hours until it’s safe to escape. Gus quickly realizes he made a terrible mistake in kidnapping the couple, who can’t stop fighting, and whose relatives are coming over for Christmas.

Leary is in top form here as the perpetually exasperated Gus, but it’s Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey as the Chasseurs who steal the show. Never has hatred between two people been so strongly telegraphed with so much comedic gusto as it is between these two actors, and it gives the movie an acidic kick that gets you through the boring cops and robbers subplot. This is probably Spacey’s best comedic performance (yes, even better than his work in American Beauty), and Davis showcases just how great of an actress she was in the early ’90s.

The Ref can be rented or purchased at digital vendors like Prime Video.

Best in Show (2000)

Best in Show (1/11) Movie CLIP - Two Left Feet (2000) HD

Look, there’s no real reason why you should watch Best in Show on Christmas. It’s not holiday-themed at all, and the actual National Dog Show competition happened last month. Yet, there’s never a time when it’s not right to watch this hilarious movie, which is one of the funniest films ever made.

Christopher Guest’s Best in Show is a mockumentary that documents fictional contestants in the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, an annual competition that pits canines of various breeds against each other in a glorified beauty contest. It’s hard to say which cast member or characters stand out in Best in Show because they are all so good. Is it Catherine O’Hara’s Cookie Fleck, who constantly runs into guys she’s slept with in the past? Or is it Eugene Levy’s beleaguered nerdy husband, Gerry, who literally has two left feet? My preference is for Jane Lynch and Jennifer Coolidge as lesbian dog breeder Christy Cummings and her client, dim trophy wife Sherri Ann Cabot (“We can talk and not talk for hours.”), respectively. Everyone in the cast is an all-star, and you are too if you stream this movie ASAP.

Best in Show can be rented or purchased at digital vendors like Prime Video.

The Addams Family (1991)

A family poses in The Addams Family.
Paramount Pictures

There’s something about The Addams Family that makes it ideal for fall and winter viewing. Not just Halloween, but also Thanksgiving and Christmas as well. Why? Probably because it’s washed in dark colors and emphasizes the theme of a family coming together against the odds. In this first big-screen remake of the classic TV show, Gomez Addams (Raul Julia) and his wife, Morticia (Anjelica Huston), and their kids, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), are shocked to learn of Uncle Fester’s return. It’s gradually revealed that this Fester (Christopher Lloyd) may be an imposter, and the family’s lawyer may have something to do with it.

Fans of Wednesday, the hit Netflix spinoff series from 2022, as well as ’90s kids who are now grown up, will get a kick out of this movie. It’s surprisingly light in tone despite it’s gothic atmosphere. The Addams Family is a fun romp, and ideal viewing for people sick of Christmas trees and candy canes.

The Addams Family is now streaming on Netflix.

Editors' Recommendations

Jason Struss
Section Editor, Entertainment
Jason is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast whose love for cinema, television, and cheap comic books has led him to…
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