Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Last week, I talked about great holiday movies for kids or the whole family. This week I am talking about those holiday movies that are best suited for adults. Some are on my list because, context-wise, they are made for adults.

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Others are there because they are violent and/or filled with swear words. They are simply not suitable for the younger members of the family or to watch with your parents and/or grandparents.

Here it is.

#5 This is my favorite Christmas movie and when you think about when the movie was made, it is quite shocking. In Christmas in Connecticut, Barbara Stanwyck plays a Martha Stewart-type writer who cannot do anything she writes about. However, her publisher decides he wants to have an old fashioned Christmas at her farm and eat her delicious cooking. To make matters worse, he has invited a war hero to join them.

Now Stanwyck has to find a farm, a husband and a baby. When the soldier arrives Stanwyck finds herself falling for him while pretending to be married. How shocking, a married woman with a child flirting shamelessly with a war hero. And yet, I love it. I watch it every Christmas Eve.

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from

#4 What is Christmas without Bruce Willis yelling “Yippee Ki Yay, &#*@^.” Well, probably a lesser time. Who can resist an NYPD officer going to L.A. for Christmas to visit his high-powered wife. Once he gets there he has to deal with a hostage-takeover and try to save her.

This movie is filled with violence. Willis swears enough to make him an honorary British actor. Best of all, we get to watch the delicious Alan Rickman as the dapper and cunning villain. 

#3 Love Actually is a British romantic comedy set during the month leading up to Christmas. It is an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neesom and Kiera Knightly. The stories are about love found, love lost, love beginning, and love strained.

The writing and acting are stupendous feats, much of the emotions of the characters are raw and tangible. BUT there is a lot of swearing. And one story follows two people who are movie stand-ins at a porno movie shoot. I only watch this one with the husband or by myself.

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#2 If you like black comedy and need a break from the sweetness of the holiday, you cannot go wrong with Bad Santa. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, cynical Santa who robs the mall he works at every year with his elf partner.

This time a bullied kid from the town invites Thornton into his home, and slowly this drinking and swearing Santa opens his eyes to what is around him. It might also help that Thornton begins seeing a pretty bartender with a Santa fixation.

There is a lot of swearing, drug use, violence and sexual activity. I am not watching this movie with my parents.

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#1 You might wonder why I am putting It’s a Wonderful Life on this list. After all, what could be questionable about this movie? Let’s start with the attempted suicide by George, the heavy drinking that takes place throughout the movie, the implied sexual behavior of Violet, the cruelty of Potter at every turn. There is a lot of this that is meant for adults.

Most young kids cannot relate to the worst that can happen to a person, driving them to such a desperate act. While this movie is about how one person can affect a single community, in the end it is also about how you live your life. If only we could all be a little more like George and Mary.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Notes From Rumbly Cottage: Feasting and Shopping and Watching