Movies to cozy up to this holiday season

Editor’s note: The holidays are just around the corner! Some of our writers recommended some of their favorite holiday-themed movies to enjoy the festive cheer.

Lily Burns – Contributing Writer | Love Hard

Anyone who has tried online dating knows that it can be draining and sometimes comical. While the Netflix original movie “Love Hard” isn’t draining, it is comical.

“Vampire Diaries” actress Nina Dobrev stars alongside comedian Jimmy O. Yang is a ridiculous but heartwarming and fun holiday romantic comedy. Dobrev’s character, Natalie, searches for love online in Los Angeles and finds it in New York. Nudged by her boss and inspired by the holiday spirit, she flies across the country to surprise her new virtual “no-labels-yet” fling.

As with most holiday movies, and movies in general, “Love Hard” repeats classic lessons. This movie is a great watch and a bit cliche. It crosses off the essentials of a millennial Hallmark Channel Christmas movie — making it a great addition to a holiday movie marathon with friends.

This movie is also riddled with hypocrisy among the two main stars, Dobrev and Yang. While it’s as predictable as other holiday movies and hard to root for either of the main characters at times, it’s relatable and reminds viewers that to be human is to be perfectly imperfect.

Additional actors in the movie include Darren Charles Barnet from “Never Have I Ever” and Harry Shum Jr. from “Glee” and “Shadowhunters.” “Love Hard” is an amusing holiday movie and a perfect escape from real life online dating mishaps.

David Evangelista – Contributing Writer | Klaus

“Klaus” is one of the best holiday children’s films to come out in recent years. From comedy to adventure and drama, this film has it all.

It follows the story of Jesper, a privileged son of the head of the Royal Postage Academy. He was sent to a distant and frigid island by his father in an effort to teach him humility. His objective was to send 6,000 letters within a year, and this would enable him to return to his cushioned lifestyle upon completion.

After arriving on the island of Smeerensburg, Jesper meets its residents and sees first hand the deep historical rivalry within the community. He comes up with a plan to motivate kids to write letters in exchange for toys, an action that would positively affect the community and its people.

The movie has a playful take on Christmas references, like reindeer flying in the night sky and why kids on the naughty list get coal. The story emphasizes the idea that ”a truly selfless act always sparks another” by exhibiting examples of this throughout the story.

This movie is a good reminder that altruistic deeds, no matter how small, have a rippling effect.

Caryl Anne Francia – Business Editor | The Shop Around the Corner 

“The Shop Around the Corner” is a 1940 romantic comedy film that stars James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. Adapted from a play written by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, the story follows two bickering salespeople at a leather-goods shop in pre-war Budapest in the days leading up to Christmas. The bitter tension between them sweetens after Stewart’s character realizes that his romantic mystery pen pal is Sullavan’s character, who remains unaware.

Stewart and Sullavan balance the reserved and vulnerable sides of their characters, proving themselves to be a compatible leading couple during intimate scenes. Sullavan’s delicate expressions elicit compassion from the audience. Stewart showcases his charm, even though he was still early in his acting career.

The ending will leave viewers satisfied, if not merry. A side plot features the characters’ boss figuring out who his wife is cheating with, adding an element of suspense. The shop’s delivery boy contributes to the humor in his pursuit of a promotion.

The film was later adapted into an Americanized musical version titled “In the Good Old Summertime.” The 1949 film starred Judy Garland and Van Johnson, with Garland’s eldest daughter, Liza Minelli, making her acting debut in a cameo. The play was also adapted into the 1998 film “You’ve Got Mail,” which stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

HBO Max subscribers may watch the film through the service’s partnership with Turner Classic Movies. The film is also available for rent through Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Apple TV.

Sonia Kalo – Contributing Writer | The Santa Clause

My favorite holiday movie is “The Santa Clause.” While there is an entire “Santa Clause” trilogy and a new Disney+ television series, nothing beats the original.

The film answers many questions that most people have about the legend of Santa Claus. These questions include “how does he get to without chimneys or get to all the children in the world in one night?” and “how has he been alive for so many years?”

“The Santa Clause” is about Scott Calvin and his son Charlie. Scott shares joint custody of his son with his ex-wife. The two witness Santa fall off the roof of their house.

In a bid to escape the cold and please his son, Scott puts on the man’s fallen red coat. In doing so, he unknowingly enacts the Santa Clause, which loosely states that whoever puts on the coat after the death of the current Santa becomes the new Santa. This causes some serious but hilarious problems in Scott’s life.

Tim Allen, who plays Scott, does an amazing job portraying the crazy physical and emotional changes his character goes through as part of his transition into the image of Santa Claus that many of us are familiar with today.

Scott is a poor, absent father in the beginning of the film. But as he goes through this journey of becoming Santa Claus, he becomes a better dad to Charlie and an even greater Santa to children all over the world. The beautiful and hilarious story of “The Santa Clause” should be added to your holiday movie marathon.

Lisander Rosario – Contributing Writer | Elf

A story of love, family and the joy of the holiday spirit never gets old.

Directed by John Favreau, 2003’s “Elf” places Will Ferrell in the titular role of Buddy, a human who was adopted by Santa and his elves at the North Pole. After finding out the truth of his origin, he sets off to New York City to find his biological father, and gets into a lot of mischief along the way.

What this film does well is manage to tackle serious issues in a cheery, holiday setting. The backdrop of a cold, both literally and figuratively, New York City provides a perfect foil for our protagonist’s bright and optimistic demeanor.

From blind corporate greed to unrealized potential, Buddy manages to instill a hopeful spirit into the people who he meets, whether they’re naughty or nice. His encounters with the film’s various colorful characters highlight different aspects of a jaded world and a commercialized holiday.

By the end, Buddy shows the audience what it means to believe in the joyous Christmas spirit once more.

This movie offers a lot to enjoy for both kids and adults. The humor is balanced for both audiences, but it doesn’t stray far into the territory of needless slapstick. It uses it as a vehicle for a heartwarming tale about what’s truly important in life, be it spending time with loved ones or following one’s dreams.

Even if Santa isn’t real in this world, the holiday spirit surely is and can melt even the coldest of hearts.