Rotten Tomatoes argues the issue even as it releases its Top 55 Christmas Movies this year. The movies on the list run the gamut, from nostalgic to comedy to horror.
"Wondering how we put this Christmas movie list together?" the intro says. "Every movie on the list is Fresh and plays around with the spirit of Christmas and the holidays as a central theme.
"Then we sorted them all by Adjusted Tomatometer," it continues, "which factors in release year and a movie's number of reviews, to make the ultimate list of holiday films that melted even the most cynical critics' hearts."
The top six -- yes, six! -- were made more than 70 years ago:
1. "It's a Wonderful Life," 1946
2. "Meet Me in St. Louis," 1944
3. "Miracle on 34th Street," 1947
4. "The Shop Around the Corner," 1940
5. "Holiday Inn," 1942
6. "Babes in Toyland," 1934.
Finally, at No. 7, the list fast forwards to "modern" times with the animated "The Nightmare Before Christmas," 1993.
No. 16 is "A Christmas Story," 1983, with its iconic warning to Ralphie, "You'll shoot your eye out." Another family favorite, "Home Alone," 1990, is a lowly No. 52.
A 27-minute video on the website page features the above-noted "cynical critics" hotly and humorously debating the chosen Top 55. One critic notes that "It's a Wonderful Life" is the "Citizen Kane" of Christmas movies. Another can't agree with its placement because, for Pete's sake, it's in black and white.
Also near the bottom of the list is "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," 1989, at No. 53. One critic admired Chevy Chase's efforts to make the perfect holiday for his family, saying it "represents Christmas." Another panned it -- but admitted to loving Beverly D'Angelo.
They all agreed that the vintage Bill Murray film, "Scrooged," 1988, should be higher than No. 47.
"I sob like a newborn baby when I watch that," noted one critic, "because it reminds me that you can always change ... you can always surrender to all the beauty that's around us in this world."
Another thought "The Ref," 1994, No. 43, perfectly captures the dysfunction she associates with the season -- the "real Christmas, where Grandma confesses how she never loved Grandpa, across from the cranberry sauce."
"Bad Santa," 2003, No. 36, captures the dark side of the season, said one, but others vociferously disagreed. Do we need "crude and crass" at Christmastime?!
Interesting note about "Gremlins," 1984, No. 30, is that it was responsible for the PG-13 rating (along with "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom") because it was violent.
Want to try something new? "Tokyo Godfathers," 2003, No. 22, is a Japanese anime film in which three homeless people discover a baby on Christmas Eve and their mission throughout the night is to return the baby to its mother. "A heartfelt, really genuine, kind of a family story," a critic called it, but also noted, "It does have some dark elements to it."
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is No. 15, and it's been aired on television every year since its release in 1965 so that tells you something. Charlie Brown's angst and Snoopy's independence never get old.
View the list and critics' video at editorial.rottentomatoes.com/guide/best-christmas-movies for a merry viewing season.
Oh, and "Die Hard" was tagged No. 11.
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