The general perception seems to be that Netflix has the better originals, but Amazon Prime has the better selection of films. The latter will be the streaming service most go to for a festive movie over the Christmas period then, though they’ll be met with the usual daunting mosaic of film thumbnails.
There are some 558 pieces of Christmas-related content on Prime. We’ve sifted through them and picked out the better options or, as the case may be when it comes to Christmas movies, the least soporific:
We’ve seen all manner of weird Christmas movie premises over the years, and this is one of the cleverer ones. Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a fully grown human man who believes he is one of Santa’s elves, having been raised at the North Pole after being accidentally sent there as an orphaned baby. Ferrell is hilarious as the disarmingly innocent Buddy, and this film is notable for helping New Girl star Zooey Deschanel break through.
A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)
I’m a sucker for a comedy franchise that goes with the most obvious, succinct title, and they don’t come much more obvious and succinct than “Bad Moms”. You get two times the mums in this Christmas sequel, as Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn’s characters are visited by their own mothers for the holidays, played by Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon. Fans of the collision of Christmas with the word “bad” may also want to check out Bad Santa 2 (also on Prime).
The Holiday (2006)
Coming from Nancy Meyers, the director of What Women Want and The Intern, this is pretty standard romcom fare. It’s well acted though, particularly from the Brits, Jude Law and Kate Winslet, who are supported by Americans Cameron Diaz and Jack Black. Amanda (Diaz) and Iris (Winslet) are two lovelorn women who go on a home exchange in a bid to escape the Christmas blues.
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy with Will Ferrell & John C Reilly (2010)
For reasons unknown, Ferrell and Reilly teamed up in 2010 for a shot for shot remake of David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy” TV duet. Including all the awkward small talk from the original (and adding a new frisson of tension between the singers), it’s a short film oddity I can’t believe got made, but I’m glad it did.
A Christmas Carol (1969)
There are a few adaptations of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol on Prime, but you’ll need to pay for major ones like the Robert Zemeckis-directed, Jim Carrey-starring 2009 version of The Muppets Christmas Carol. This animated one is free with Prime, however, and may carry nostalgia for older American viewers, having aired on NBC every Thanksgiving after the Macy’s Parade during the 1970s.
Office Christmas Party (2016)
Office Christmas Party – Trailer 2
Congratulations if you remembered that this film existed, because I had completely forgotten about it in spite of its big name cast, which includes Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon and Olivia Munn. The office Christmas party is often worked into Christmas films and TV specials, but here it takes centre stage. Bateman plays Josh, a branch manager who decides to throw the office Christmas party to end all office Christmas parties after his uptight CEO sister (Aniston) threatens to close his branch.
New Year’s Eve (2011)
If you’re after a hate watch this Christmas, look no further than New Year’s Eve. An unbelievable ensemble cast was amassed for it, which included Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Ludacris, Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Katherine Heifl, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara and Alyssa Milano. And yet somehow the result of their collective efforts is pretty dire, a Christmas romance so cloying it may actually give you an unintentional laugh or two.
Get Santa (2014)
Some of Britain’s finest were drawn together for this comedy, which is led by Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall, Warwick Davis and Jodie Whittaker. Achieving more favourable reviews than the genre usually sees, it finds Santa (Broadbent) in the slammer after he crashes his sleigh in Steve’s (Spall) back garden.
Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You (2017)
Not content with the thousands and thousands of dollars she must reap every year with her beloved Christmas song, Mariah Carey in 2017 sanctioned an animated feature film that trades on “All I Want For Christmas Is You”’s success. Carey voices a young version of herself, who desperately wants a puppy for Christmas. If this wasn’t all strange enough, her grandpa is voiced by the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler.
Christmas Eve (2015)
Gauge your expectations here. The setup – characters getting trapped in six different elevators on Christmas Eve – is an intriguing, potentially artistic one, but the film doesn’t manage to fully pay it off. Still, Variety noted that it does “serve as undemanding home-screen amusement to enjoy while wrapping Christmas presents”, and also gives you an excuse to bring Sir Patrick Stewart into your living room.