Lucas Oakeley suggests you keep 'Elf' on the shelf this year and give a real Christmas movie a go.
Choosing your favourite Christmas movie is like choosing your favourite child. You may claim to love all of your children equally, but in the end you really know that there’s one who stands head and shoulders above the rest. If you're reading this, shaking your head and thinking that your parents loved you and all of your siblings equally: then you quite obviously weren’t the favourite. In your ever-so impressionable naïvety you might also believe that It’s A Wonderful Life is the cream of the crop when it comes to what goes on telly on the 25th of December. You might consider it to be a classic of modern cinema that perfectly captures the spirit of giving because you’d read that somewhere online. If you think this then you also probably still believe in Father Christmas. Grow up.
I am sorry to tell you, dear reader, that you are wrong on all accounts. Because, let’s be honest here, when it comes to that perfect film to get you into the yuletide spirit then you need look no further than Rocky IV. I may hear you object that Rocky IV is not a Christmas film. You are wrong again. Stop doing that. The film’s climactic bout between Ivan Drago and Rocky takes place on the 25th of December, Christmas Day, in Ivan Drago’s inhospitable home turf for 15 rounds of unsanctioned boxing goodness. There is nothing that says Christmas more than two grown men beating the ever-loving shit out of one another. You can keep your cutesy soundtracks and winter wonderlands; I’ll stick to Rocky Balboa tossing sizeable logs through heavy tundra.
Set against the scenic snowy backdrop of Krasnogourbinsk, Rocky’s intense training regime gives way to one of cinema’s most tender and truly heart-warming moments as the eponymous hero’s wife, Adrian, is reunited with her loveable Italian stallion of a husband in order to give him the final push he needs. This proves once and for all that there is no better time than Christmas for families to come together, revel in one another’s company, and prepare to avenge the death of a close friend. Like all festive films, Rocky IV has a satisfying feel-good finish as good triumphs over evil and Rocky defeats Drago, ending the film by proposing peace between the two warring nations and single-handedly bringing an end to the Cold War. Suck on that, Rudolph.
Despite more than likely suffering from severe concussion, Rocky still manages to muster up the strength to wish his son a Merry Christmas at the end of his inspiring speech. Even after going 15 rounds with the Soviet Union’s answer to Superman, Rocky doesn’t forget his Christmas cheer. You wouldn’t see such grit and dedication to the cause of Christmas from George Bailey, that’s for certain. He’s too wet for that.
So, if there’s only one film that you watch this Christmas: make sure it’s Rocky IV. If you’re planning on watching two films this Christmas: watch Rocky IV twice.