Gingerbread, ice wine, kittens and castles, 10 holiday movies to get excited about

10 Must-see movies in which all the elements of holidays go surprisingly well, says Caitlin FitzGerald

Gingerbread, ice wine, kittens and castles, 10 holiday movies to get excited about

Because there’s nothing that sounds like summer more than a good celebrity – or even more dependable – holiday flick, here’s a roundup of 10 of our favourite films with a bit of a theme.

Every Hollywood holiday movie aside from Father’s Day is pure fantasy. But their foibles and selfishly planned activities are all incredibly relatable.

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Sure, these films may well have been set at the very farthest flung locations but there’s something in them for everyone. Famous parents. Bad kids. Loveable villains. Animators’ finest feast for the eyes.

It won’t necessarily be festive but, between the hugely talented actors and stiffly prancing crew, Winter Holiday is an ideal choice for all those after a serious, rather than seasonal, slump in the cold.

Hot or not … The Muppets’ romantic trip to Paris. Photograph: Allstar/Disney

Two of the original baby boomers wot went round came home in a most unlikely location with the news that the blokes next door – shaven heads and all – are in love. Naturally they mustn’t be allowed to get married but then the neighbours start talking and the bride must be talked into wearing white.

If only we could all see this film (I seriously thought it was going to be with Steve Martin), the possibilities would be limitless. It certainly depicts holidaying to Tokyo as a major holiday event – and what is a masterclass in hilarity all about if it’s 80 minutes of life imitating art?

One for this winter … Jeff Bridges in Overboard. Photograph: Allstar/Paramount

The spirit of slapstick is responsible for this funny and sentimentally endearing comedy about an American richie (Goldie Hawn) who goes on a holiday to Cancun to a nice apartment with a Spanish millionaire (Eddie Murphy) and a husband-and-wife friend. Three weeks in and everything’s fine, until after dinner Murphy’s boss gives him cocaine and the couple go missing at sea. Will you join her a capella board? Watch this film and forget your worries of the world.

Calendar of Reasons is probably one of my favourite films – a beautiful and intelligent love letter to the English summer of 1976. James Mason plays a sportswriter travelling with his kids to a hostel in Derbyshire. Life isn’t great, life isn’t going well. At the same time, Mason is offered a job abroad that will allow him to leave the country, meet his second wife and make a fortune. Along the way Mason is also observing his teenage sons, attending a dancing festival and finding he has many of the same joie de vivre as the locals.

Meet me in St Piran’s by Comédie Frère. Photograph: Allstar/CBGB

A thoroughly modern two hours, this documentary is full of drama but chewy, and stars Tamara Drewe’s Stephen Mangan as a down-at-heel stag party-goer who stops off in Finland to escape the drunken seaside boredom. But once he arrives at the lakeside the story goes panicky, with romantic obsession and drug-enhanced inebriation the order of the day.

While this film (one of the highest-grossing ones) is set in Florida it’s set on a holiday somewhere just down the coast. A working class family with four children on the brink of bankruptcy find they suddenly have access to a nice house when they sign up to a trip to St Piran’s by Comédie Frère. But when the only work for the summer is animal lovers’ pageants the family will need to ditch their honey-dos in a hurry.

It’s an ingenious mix of comedy, tragedy and what could be described as a marvellous slice of family life, set on the Costa del Sol in the early 50s. Bizarre, funny and poignant, it follows a middle-class family who decide to take over a struggling fisherman’s bar to raise money for a purchase. Thrown into chaos and with a violent barber, a dramatic golf game, a beach wedding, and all manner of acrimony, their time is up as the business they are established in is overtaken by new competition.

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