We like to ask the big life questions but if it weren’t for Love Actually, we never would have thought to clarify the number of crustaceans at the birth of Jesus. We also wouldn’t have thought a festive meet-cute could involve two naked body doubles. But there you go. In our last Quarter Final, Richard Curtis’s cinematic ode to Christmas is up against unlikely Showdown contender, Gremlins. That seasonal staple has also made us question many things, though mostly related to the care and upkeep of mogwai. But really, we couldn’t do without either holiday classic but only one can move on to the next round!
Read up on this unique pair of festive family films below and decide which one gets your vote.
Quarter Final #4:
Love, Actually (2003)
Richard Curtis’s crowd-pleaser is full of cliches from top to bottom, but it doesn’t follow that Love, Actually is a bad movie. It has decidedly less-than-stellar storylines, that’s true—the less said about the American stunners enchanted by an English accent, the better—but it also has some pretty great ones. Okay, maybe great is pushing it. But the film is cast so well that it’s easy to look past the less original aspects and focus on the good, like possibly the best British cast this side of Hogwarts: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Martin Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Andrew Lincoln, and Liam Neeson.
With a gorgeous score courtesy of Craig Armstrong, a positively festive London setting, and a heart-warming core message that love is all around, Love, Actually has rightly become a holiday tradition for movie fans looking for some genuine, cozy cinematic comfort. – Emma Badame
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%
As a kid, Gremlins taught me that a Christmas-themed movie did not have to be candy coloured and sugary sweet. They could be fun, edgy, and a little scary. Taking place a few days before Christmas in the small town of Kingston Falls, things go horribly wrong after Billy (Zach Galligan) breaks two of the three cardinal rules for taking care of his new pet mogwai Gizmo, the original Baby Yoda when it comes to cuteness. He not only gets Gizmo wet, but is also tricked into feeding the creatures uninvited offspring after midnight. With enough mischievous, havoc-wreaking gremlins to fill a movie theatre, Joe Dante’s film gleefully uses its holiday setting to maximum advantage. Whether it is Christmas carolling gremlins surprising one unsuspecting citizen or the way Dante uses classic films such as It’s a Wonderful Life and songs like “Do You Hear What I Hear?” to humorously subvert traditional expectations, Gremlins is a devilishly entertaining Christmas movie. – Courtney Small
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Voting ends December 22 at 11:59AM EST.
The elimination showdown runs from December 1 until the 23, with the Ultimate Christmas Movie being unveiled on Christmas Eve! You can vote here, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Check out where things stand and then tune in tomorrow for a new face off…