Best Christmas Ever: Holiday-Fail Movies That Will Bring You Comfort This Season

Maybe the Santa costume you bought online to make your nephew believe in Santa is so tight it fits like a straight jacket made of rubber. Or, maybe you’ve lost your job and you have to chainsaw down a Christmas tree from the local park, which lands you in jail as the suspect of a cold case murder. Or, maybe your Meryl Streep-level skills at charades are impressing absolutely no one.

Relax. Know that we've all failed at Christmas, usually in the pursuit of perfection. As Brené Brown says, "there is no innovation and creativity without failure." With that sentiment in mind, here are a few fictional characters that have royally failed at Christmasing—acting (we hope) like a welcomed catharsis for that Christmas cortisol.

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn in Four Christmases


While singles may be reminded of their single-ness during the holidays, couples don't always have it easy either. The once-a-year nature of the holiday drops couples into unfamiliar environments, and changes the bounds of their day-to-day lives.

In Four Christmases, Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play the couple (I want to throuple with) that usually fake charity work to avoid their fractured families at Christmas... but this year they fail. You laugh with and at them as they fail to please themselves and their family. This film really does give metaphorical acupuncture to those suffering from family-induced anxiety.

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Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Are you a people-pleasing perfectionist, failing to wrestle with technology this Christmas, when it’s not even mercury in retrograde?

In National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Chevy Chase injects ‘parental pathos’ to those failing to give their loved ones the capitalist Christmas they crave. Watching the domino effect of Clark Griswold's slapstick failures to please his family is addictive. I could also watch Chevy Chase looking like a Grey Gardens character falling from the loft a thousand times.

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Literally Everyone in Love the Coopers

If you want group therapy with every ‘failure’ bred from the human condition, watching Love the Coopers will provide that therapy sofa. Or, if you want a support group after you try to steal your Christmas presents by the act of swallowing, then fellow kleptomaniac Marissa Tomei will be your shoulder to cry on.

If you’ve failed at training your dog and that's become the personification of all your failings at controlling your own life. Or, if nobody wants you or your dog at Christmas because you both overeat, over-hump, and over-fart your way through life, then Rags the Dog—the Marlon Brando of dogs—from Love the Coopers will make you realize you're not alone. Rags is here for you.

Diane Keaton has the motherly matriarch thing down once again. Whether she's dying or drowning in divorce, she still manages to make us feel we’re back in the womb again with her warm outlook on life and its hurdles. In Love the Coopers, Diane fails to conduct her orchestra of troubled children, whilst trying to keep her own head above water in her failing marriage with John Goodman.

Love the Coopers proves painting a smile on to succumb to the pressure of scheduled fun over the holidays will lead to failure—so just relax. As a passive aggressive fortune cookie once told me, ‘self love is a journey, not a destination.’

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Laura Linney and Alan Rickman in Love Actually

Have you ever been caught red-handed in a work call clearly trying to get into a “sexy” position, desperately trying to find the most flattering angles and lights to successfully flirt with your office crush? Or, have you ever stuttered on, telling your office crush that you love them? Then your heart will break as you watch Laura Linney try and connect with her office crush. If I could ever climb into a TV, I’d pull Laura Linney back into bed with Rodrigo Santoro rather than go care for her brother.

Love Actually is just one big look at the labyrinths of love and its failed attempts, but thankfully there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Watch (or, likely re-watch) this movie if you’re the owner of a paralyzed thumb that has done way too much swiping on dating apps thinking, ‘I give up.'  After watching this film, your thumb will heal itself.

Lastly, if you get caught buying a present for your side-chick like Alan Rickman in Love Actually, then that’s simply karma. If you want Joni Mitchell soundtracking the rest of your life when you lose someone wonderful because of infidelity, especially someone as wonderful as Emma Thompson, then you have failed.

Buy that present for your ride or die!


Don't miss all the Christmas fun happening this month during AMC's annual Best Christmas Ever movie extravaganza. For more of the latest from AMC Networks, sign up for the AMC Insiders Club.