Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)
Four Christmases (1200($19.99) HD to own, 480($6) HD, 320($4) SD, to rent)
Four Christmases accepts the fact that we live in a day and age of dysfunctional families and never looks back. Besides Robert Duvall's performance as a cantakerous jerkwad of a father in this movie, there's a to like in here. From Jon Favreau growling "I gotta go take a grumpy" to Vince Vaughn, all the way up to Reese Witherspoon's fear of bouncy houses, it combines to make probably the strangest Christmas movie this side of Bad Santa. It's better than Vaughn's other holiday effort, Fred Claus, and it reunites most of the Swingers crew. Next time they need to find a way to get Ron Livingstone involved. Why not Swingers II: A Swingin' Christmas? Until then, you've got this.
Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)
Amazing Stories: Santa '85/'86
Netflix Watch Instantly recently added 35 Criterion titles, including classics like Seven Samurai and The Vanishing, but my personal favorite out of all of these is For All Mankind. It's a documentary about about the Moon landings, told with never before seen footage and using the words of the astronauts themselves. Simply gorgeous. But learning about the Apollo missions isn't holiday-ish enough, so consider flipping it over to Amazing Stories: Santa '85/'86. This Steven Spielberg produced show had high and low moments throughout its run, but this story was one of the best. Pat Hingle (remember Commissioner Gordon from the Tim Burton Batman films?) plays a grumpy sheriff who learns about the magic of Christmas via Buck Rogers. Good stuff.
PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)
Die Hard ($4.50 HD, $2.99 SD to rent $9.99 SD, to own)
Just a reminder that it's Double Cash all weekend long in Uncharted 2, and while you're not busy racking up the dough to purchase that last skin you need for your collection, you can settle back and watch Die Hard. Both Die Hard and the sequel Die Hard 2: Die Hard Harder take place at Christmas, but only Die Hard has Alan Rickman chewing up scenery and spouting lines like "Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho." Toss in "Christmas in Hollis" by Run-D.M.C. alongside a classic like "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" performed by Vaughn Monroe and you have the added bonus of a terrific Christmas soundtrack as well. Yippee-kai-aye, indeed. Now go make some fists with your toes and get to it.
Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)
Miracle on 34th Street ($34.99, much lower at many retailers)
How adorable is Natalie Wood in this movie? Probably the cutest kid to grace the screen since Shirley Temple. This classic was remade in by John Hughes (we miss you, John!) in 1994, but you really need to see the 1947 original to appreciate the true spirit of Christmas, which was apparently captured by Macy's. Yes, there is rampant consumerism in this movie, but it pays off when they take Santa to court. It's a Wonderful Life gets a lot of credit as the quintessential Christmas movie, but I'm in the 34th Street court. After all, it has Santa Claus in it. No wonky, goofy angels anywhere. The Blu-ray disc has a few fun extras on it, yet apparently doesn't include the colorized version despite the wording on the back of the case. But, do you really need those faux colors to enjoy this?
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