America’s Most Popular Christmas Movies Are A Terrible Indictment Of Society

A new list of the ‘most popular’ Christmas movies has us muttering “bah, humbug” at the films included.

That noise you’re hearing is the sound of classic Christmas film producers spinning in their graves. Consumer product review site Much Needed has carried out a study of the most popular Christmas movies with American audiences via the scientifically dubious – but presumably as effective as any other – method of checking average monthly online searches. The results may cause a large intake of breath.

What are the top five Christmas films? Steady yourself. At number one is Edward Scissorhands, which has a rather dubious claim as a festive favourite, followed by Home Alone and – wait for it – Shazam! Yes, that shitty comic book movie is now a beloved Christmas favourite above the likes of It’s a Wonderful Life (which doesn’t even crack the top ten).

Indeed, the biggest question that comes up from this dreadful publicity stunt is just who decides what a Christmas film is and how they make that decision. I know that some people desperately insist on Die Hard being a Christmas classic, but frankly, it strikes me that a Christmas movie should at least be about Christmas in some significant way other than coincidentally taking place during the season. Hell, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (which doesn’t make the cut here) has a lot more validity as a Christmas film than that one. Similarly, Love Actually (now the seventh most popular Christmas film ever, apparently), Eyes Wide Shut, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Apartment all feel like stretches. Let’s be fair – no one is looking those films up for festive reasons. In fact, the fatal flaw in this ‘research’ is that it doesn’t take into account just why a film is being searched for online – it might well have nothing to do with Christmas in many cases. Of course, we could argue at length about just what is and isn’t a Christmas movie – but we’ll leave that for another day.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Naturally, the list is slanted towards more recent productions – so The Preacher’s Wife comes above The Bishop’s Wife, which is all sorts of wrong – and some placings certainly raise eyebrows. By all accounts, Scrooged is a beloved festive film these days, but here it is below ‘never heard of it’ titles like The Night Before, The Family Stone and Just Friends. Given that this is just a random and not especially rigorous study of search terms, it’s possible that generic-sounding things like the aforementioned films would be picked up in non-movie related searches. Just a thought.

Other oddities that perhaps point to the lack of rigour involved in this: Black Christmas – the 1974 version – is oddly listed as Stranger in the House, an alternative title that it is known by absolutely nowhere (the other Black Christmas movies are conspicuously absent). Silent Night Deadly Night and Bell, Book and Candle haven’t made the cut, which seems odd and outrageous. The Grinch is also nowhere to be seen, which feels unlikely for such a recent movie – even a terrible one. Of course, the list stops randomly after 93 titles – would it have really been so hard to round it out to one hundred? It’s hardly as though they had run out of titles. Perhaps even the ‘researchers’ got bored and realised what a waste of energy this was.

We’re aware that the sole purpose of these useless ‘surveys’ and ‘studies’ is as a cynical publicity stunt for a business – and we’re not going to reward such cynicism by linking to it. Nevertheless, the list was so dismal that we could hardly let it go without scoffing. There are more actual Christmas films than ever these days – do we really need questionable barrel-scraping like this?

You can read the whole list here if you are so inclined.

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  1. The fact that something called ‘Better Watch Out’ (2016) is at positions 47 and 49 suggests this might have been compiled down the pub.

  2. When was Die Hard last on the TV at Christmas? Heck, when was Die Hard last on TV at all? The sequels are on sometimes, but not the original.

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