Most of the greatest Christmas movies have the simplest plots. It would seem as though recreating a successful formula wouldn't be difficult, but if you've seen some of the awful Christmas movies that have come out over the past few years, you'll know it's much more challenging than it seems. Instead of making another dud, we've put together the formula to make the perfect Christmas movie.
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What You Won't Need:
1. Someone Dying from a Disease
The cheapest way to stir emotions is to have one of the characters dying from an incurable disease. Have you ever heard of The Christmas Shoes? It's a ridiculous song/movie/book about a kid who wants to buy his dying mom a pair of shoes. Why? Why would a dying person need shoes? You're better than this.
2. A Musical Number
I know you think there needs to be choreography and some sort of animated forest creature singing a Christmas carol with the lead character, but please don't. Unless it's Will Ferrell screaming out "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in the bathroom, it's just not necessary.
3. Vince Vaughn
I'm sure Vince Vaughn is an absolutely delightful person, but after "Four Christmases" and "Fred Claus" it's obvious that he's not going to turn your holiday film into an instant classic. And whatever you do, don't combine Vince Vaughn with Owen Wilson. "The Internship proved" that "Wedding Crashers" was a one time deal.
What You Will Need:
1. A Non-terrifying Ghost
"Scrooged" walked the line with this one, because their ghosts were light and funny at times, but then turned absolutely terrifying at other moments. Luckily, Bill Murray can make anything light and fun. You want your ghosts be creepy enough that your protagonist would heed their warnings, but not so scary that any child who watches it will have night terrors for the next two years.
2. The Feeling That Christmas May Not Happen This Year
No matter what the reason, there needs to be a moment where it seems as though Santa won't be able to deliver the presents and every child in the world is going to wake up with nothing on Christmas morning. That way the true spirit of Christmas can resurrect and everyone will be filled with joy. Hooray!
3. A Cute kid with Catchphrases
Let's be honest, you need a Kevin McCallister. Without a cute kid, you just have a bunch of creepy adults running around trying to commit crimes. Imagine "Home Alone" with an adult left in the house instead of an adorable kid? It just went from wacky antics, to "Saw 3."
4. A Legendary Narrator
"Elf" had Bob Newhart and "The Grinch" had Boris Karloff. Those movies did all right for themselves. You can't skimp on this one. No one is going to watch a Christmas movie narrated by Ashton Kutcher or Johnny Knoxville. If you bring in Morgan Freeman, your movie has already debuted at the top of the box office.
5. Snow on Christmas day
There's a reason Christmas movies don't take place in Florida, and not just because it's a crime-filled cesspool. No one wants to see a Christmas movie without snow on Christmas day. Of course, as soon as Christmas is over, snow turns into white mud and everyone above the age of 13 hates it, but if it's Christmas morning, there had better be snow covering the house.
Have you even seen "Jingle All the Way?" If you have, no explanation is needed. If you haven't, get your life together and go watch it immediately!
7. Violence with Puns
This one is important. What makes "Die Hard "a fun Christmas movie and not a gory bloodbath is that after almost every death Bruce Willis has a one-liner. The same thing goes for "Home Alone." If you're going to put violence in your movie, it had better be followed with a pun. Otherwise you're going to end up like "Reindeer Games." Remember that movie? Of course you don't.
8. A Reunited Family
At some point a key member of the cast is going to be separated from the rest of his family. It could be for the entire movie or just the final act, but someone needs to get lost because that way the movie can end with the family or couple reuniting in front of a giant Christmas tree with snow falling all around them. Awww, isn't that beautiful?