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The best movies to go see on Christmas Day 2013

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Posted by: Lance Liebl

A Christmas Day tradition for many families is to go to the movies – Jewish, Christian or whatever religion you may be. This year, the cinema will be flooded with really great movies to see, featuring stars like Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, Bradley Cooper, Sylvester Stallone, Ben Stiller, Keanu Reeves, Robert Deniro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.

As long as you're not watching any movie with Justin Bieber or Tyler Perry's Madea Christmas movie (seriously, if you keep watching them he'll keep making them), you should be golden. So, whether you need to be cheered up because you've already opened all of your presents, or you use Christmas day as an excuse to eat Chinese food and go to the movies, here's the movies you should consider:

Note: Under no circumstances should you see anything other than these movies and in this order. Trust me. I'm a professional.

47 Ronin

I believe 47 Ronin has the most “bust” potential out of the films on this list, but it could be mindless fun. It's a fantasy-samurai film starring Keanu Reeves, and it has nothing to do with the real story of the 47 Ronin, but there's potential for some good fight scenes and mindless fun. Remember Ninja Assassin? I thought it was the most stupid movie of 2009, but the fight scenes were cool to watch, so I expect teenagers boys and people who wanna see Keanu Reeves swing a samurai sword around to enjoy 47 Ronin.

47 Ronin is about 47 leaderless samurai (a warlord killed their master and banished them) who seek vengeance and want to restore honor to their people. This band of Ronin seek the help of Kai (Keanu Reeves), a half-breed they once rejected, as they fight their way across a land of mythical beasts, shape-shifting witches and more. The visuals and fighting sequences do look pretty from the trailer, but, like I said, there's the potential here for this movie to bomb or be cool.

Grudge Match

If there's one thing Sylvester Stallone knows, it's boxing movies. Grudge Match features a ton of talent in a boxing movie that's making fun of some of the things Sly is famous for. Training in a butcher shop and hitting slabs of meat? Not in this movie!

Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are two retired boxers that fought two fights – each winning one – thirty years ago. A third grudge match never happened to decide who was better. When they're going to be put in a video game, the two meet again and fight in the studio, which gets online and goes viral. HBO approaches them for a grudge match, one last fight, and the two get back to training.

I don't think Grudge Match will be an amazing movie, but I do think that it's going to be funny. De Niro and Sly look like they have a lot of chemistry, but it looks like supporting actors Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin are going to steal the show. They have the funniest parts in the trailer.

Frozen

If you have kids, bring this movie all the way up to number one on this list. Unfortunately, the movie will have been out for quite a while, so the amount of showings will be greatly decreased. That said, Frozen is absolutely worth your time. Every child that has seen it loves it; that sentence is not based on fact, but feedback I've received. Olaf is one of the most lovable, enjoyable characters that Disney has churned out. And Walt Disney Animation Studios might have made Frozen their best effort yet – that's saying a lot considered Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph are both amazing.

With an epic journey, a loveable snowman, and songs sung by Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and the great Idina Menzel, this is the perfect Christmas day movie for the family.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

It's not as good as the first Anchorman, but it'll still make you laugh. Anchorman 2 brings the whole Channel 5 news team back together as they prepare to make the jump to a 24-hour news network. As expected, it rehashes lines and jokes that were the bright spot of the first movie. It's not quite as funny this time around, but it still draws a laugh out of you. Anchorman 2 is at its best when it's trying new things.

Let's be honest: this movie is worth seeing based on how good and how big of a pop cultural hit the first movie was. It's great to see Brian Fantana, Chip Kind and Brick Tamland get back with Ron Burgundy. It's disappointing that Christina Applegate's character, Veronica Corningstone, takes a backseat in the sequel, considering how great she made the first movie, but even with some disappointing tidbits sprinkled about the movie, it's funny.

Saving Mr. Banks

Do you love Mary Poppins? Love the iconic and visionaryWalt Disney? Then watch Saving Mr. Banks, a movie that goes behind the scenes of a two-week period where the charming Walt Disney was trying to secure film rights to P.L. Travers' book. Tom Hanks looks amazing as Walt Disney, and Emma Thompson looks to be perfectly cast, but I have a funny feeling that Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak are going to steal the show as sibling song-scribes Richard and Robert Sherman, who created the songs in the film.

The movie looks charming and whimsical, but will also get serious when it ventures into the roots of what Mary Poppins is really about. Will it leave out or change some truths? Absolutely – just like every other movie “based on a true story.” Patch Adams did it. The Pursuit of Happiness did it. But any fan of Disney should love Saving Mr. Banks. It's a great heartwarming movie for Christmas Day.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The Hobbit movies are not as good as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Fact. Tolkien's book was never meant to be the grand epic that The Lord of the Rings was, and it has no business being split into three movies. That said, there's nothing we can do about that now, and the Desolation of Smaug is the second in The Hobbit Trilogy.

Smaug improves on the slow pacing of An Unexpected Journey, and its action grips you right from the beginning. And Smaug is really, really impressive. Like, really! If you're a diehard fan that wants the movies to stay true to the books, you're going to be frustrated, though. Peter Jackson has invented characters and Legolas makes a return. The added pieces and cogs are definitely fun to watch, but the film ventures into the realm of fan fiction by doing so.

That said, if you're looking for an epic adventure on Christmas day, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the way to go.

American Hustle

Here's the first of the big two amazing movies. Honestly, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street are both going to be excellent, so maybe pull a double-feature viewing? Anyways, first up is American Hustle.

I could just say Jennifer Lawrence and that would be reason enough to see it, but the cast features Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams, as well. Director David Russell, hot off of last year's Silver Linings Playbook, looks to have a hilarious, sad and entertaining movie on his hands. There's too much talent and style for this movie to not be a candidate for film of the year.

If you've been living under a rock and don't know what the story of American Hustle is about, it tells the tale of a scandal from a brilliant con man who's forced to work with the FBI. There's scandal, intrigue, mafia, con artists, Feds, lies, danger and enchantment.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Here we are – The Wolf of Wall Street. This might be Martin Scorsese's best work. It's playful, grand, hilarious, dazzling and powerful. And it's featuring some of the best performances of the year from Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey and Kyle Chandler.

Based on Jordan Belfort's memoir surround his indulgent ride as a crooked banker who made headlines in the 90s, Belfort goes from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late 1980s. Money, power, drugs and women – temptations were for the taking and the threat of authority was irrelevant. With his success, Belfort is the Wolf of Wall Street.

If you want to be wowed on Christmas Day, look no further. Go see The Wolf of Wall Street.

You can follow Senior Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, movies, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com

 

Tags: Movies, Frozen, Grudge Match, Christmas, Holidays, 47 Ronin, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street

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