AGBO’s favorite films to watch this holiday season 

By: AGBOVERSE Staff 

It’s almost here. The time has come to unplug from computers and phones for some much needed holiday rest. And as any AGBO-er will attest, nothing helps us unwind more than re-watching some of our favorite films and enjoying the traditions and family time that go with them. 

Holiday scenes are a trope used over and over in movies and for good reason: They’re instantly emotional, relatable, and cinematically gorgeous. 

For our end-of-year holiday film suggestion box, we not only asked our movie-loving staff for their faves, but also checked in with the AGBOVERSE community for recommendations. With so many options to choose from, we’ve organized all of the picks by genre and mood to help you program your own Holiday 2023 streaming list. Best of all, these films will work any time you need a little cinematic pick-me-up, holiday season or not.

Keep reading to learn why these films top our holiday list, and find out where you can watch them.

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Fantasy & Action

The Harry Potter Saga

Adapted from J.K. Rowling’s collection of novels, the film series centers around Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) as he navigates magical powers, teenage drama, and supernatural antagonists at a boarding school for wizards and witches. What’s not to love? 

Chief Creative Officer Angela Russo-Ostot shares that the holiday season is a perfect time for a “Harry Potter marathon.” Becca Flores, VP of human resources, enjoys the films this time of year, too, and says, “Despite some dark themes, it makes everything warm.”  “Fun Fact: If you start watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at 10:40pm on Christmas Eve by the time Ron says ‘Happy Christmas, Harry’ it’s midnight and Christmas for us,” Accounts Payable Specialist Alexis Shettleroe says.  Watch Harry Potter.

Gremlins': The Underrated Christmas Movie | Tribeca

Gremlins  

In the first installment of the eponymous three-part movie series, released in 1984, three green monster- like pets get unleashed from their master and wreak havoc upon a small, Norman Rockwell-inspired town. As Glenn Derry, AGBO’s president of production technology observes, mischief is in the air throughout this fantasy horror, where the monsters must follow a set of three simple rules: no food after midnight, no water, and no bright light, or else…  “Who doesn’t want a Mogwi for Christmas? Just don’t feed it after midnight,” Derry says. Watch Gremlins

The Long Kiss Goodnight

This 1996 film follows Samantha Caine (Geena Davis), the mother of an eight-year-old girl, as she attempts to reconstruct her life after mysteriously appearing from a river with zero recollection of her past. As TV Coordinator Diana Pandelica says of her recommendation, “Who doesn’t love a good Geena Davis / Sam L Jackson action film set during Christmas?” Watch The Long Kiss Goodnight

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Adapted from J.R.R. Tolkein’s epic fantasy novels, the trilogy (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, and Orlando Bloom — as a hobbit and his entourage embark on a journey to save their kingdom against an evil empire.  “All of them came out around the holidays, and I have fond memories of the entire family heading to the theaters on Christmas Day to enjoy the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time, “ SVP of IP and Development Albert Kim shares, adding, “Fun fact: the Fellowship departed on their journey from Rivendell on December 25th.” Watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Edward Scissorhands

Directed by Tim Burton, this 1990 “gothic fantasy” film starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder is nothing short of a masterpiece. The film presents a world filled with quirky textures, complex emotions, and story-book scenery. “It’s colorful, it snows in the movie – it’s good enough for me to call it a holiday movie,” says manager of graphic design, Phoebe Sotomango. Watch Edward Scissorhands 

Classic Holiday 

White Christmas

The title speaks for itself, and especially for those of us who are based in Los Angeles, the 1954 classic starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney offers the same feelings that come with gently falling snowflakes on Christmas Day. For AGBO’s SVP of Story, Ryan Verniere, the film’s nostalgia is a deciding factor for the holidays. “My mother, who loves musicals, made this film a holiday tradition. It's fun and colorful, and the songs are bangers,” he shares.  Watch White Christmas 

March of the Wooden Soldiers

Who needs presents when you can watch this gift of a film? Originally titled Babes in Toyland, the 1934 film follows protagonists Ollie Dee (Stan Laurel) and Stanley Dum (Oliver Hardy) as they encounter an evil force, Barnaby –  and all sorts of misadventures – on their quest to Toyland. “This film was on repeat every Christmas and beyond [...] There's no better excuse to feel the joy of Christmas any time of the year, making March of the Wooden Soldiers hands down my favorite,” says AGBOVERSE member Shaun C. Watch March of the Wooden Soldiers

Miracle on 34th Street, 1994

Richard Attenbourough plays Kris Kringle in this remake of the original 1947 film, in which the credibility of Santa Claus is questioned against a beautiful Christmas time backdrop. “The character of Father Noel always takes me back to my childhood memories. While I’m watching this film, I forget everything and get into the story with them,” says Carmen B, AGBOVERSE member. Watch Miracle on 34th Street

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

This 1989 holiday film opens with an off-kilter family, helmed by goofy father (Chevy Chase), as they select their Christmas tree by tying it to their car and pulling it out of the ground, by its roots. But that’s just the beginning. “It’s the perfect example of Christmas chaos and love.” — AGBOVERSE member Issie C says. Sarah B, adds, “It’s so relatable and Chevy Chase is hilarious..." Watch Christmas Vacation

Rom Coms

You’ve Got Mail

In the past, digital notifications were a much bigger deal, and could even be magical, as is the case in You’ve Got Mail – the 1998 love story with one of the catchiest titles in recent history, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. As Coordinator of mythology, Etan Marciano says, the film is a “classic romantic comedy and a poignant reminder that the internet used to be a quaint place.” Watch You’ve Got Mail

Serendipity

This 2001 romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale warms the heart like a cup of cozy hot cocoa. For AGOVERSE member, Jennifer Sharee, it’s a holiday favorite because of “the storyline and the iconic places at Christmas time.” Watch Serendipity

The Apartment

An insurance broker’s apartment is at the center of the drama, comedy, and romance, making this 1960 film set in New York a classic. “It’s a perfect movie… The ending wraps you in a warm blanket,” says AGBO’s Branton Choi.

Moody Dramas

Carol

This Christmastime film was adapted from a 1950s romance novel and stars Cate Blanchett – what’s not to love? The melodrama’s plot will engage you, too. Choi recommends the movie for “the fuzzy, 1950s East Coast Christmas atmosphere,” which he deems “wonderful.” Watch Carol 

L.A. Confidential

Three police officers with vastly different personalities set out to investigate a slew of murders in 1950s Los Angeles in this mystery-drama. Co-President of Story Chris Markus picked the movie as a holiday season favorite since it “sums up the wonder of L.A. around the holidays better than Bloody Christmas.” Watch L.A. Confidential  

Rocky I and IV

In Rocky, which kicked off the eight-part film series and stars Sylvester Stallone, the first fight takes place on New Year’s Eve, Andy Williams, senior executive producer, Visual Creatures, says. Not to mention that in Rocky IV (Cold War Rocky), the last fight occurs on Christmas. “Rocky movies are mac ‘n cheese,” he adds.  Watch Rocky

Not Just For Kids

A Very Murray Christmas 

Executive Vice President of Accounting Susie Wrenn recommends A Very Murray Christmas, a TV special, “because of the fun cast and dance numbers.” It provides beautiful music and of course, the hilarious Bill Murray.  Watch A Very Murray Christmas 

The Grinch

Sometimes a negative misanthrope like the Grinch, played by Jim Carrey in the fantasy-comedy released in 2000, reminds us that our sharp-tongued relatives at the Christmas table aren’t all that bad to hang out with. AGBOVERSE member, Shira M. Collins’ says the Grinch simply has a different take on Christmas — and all of its bells and whistles: “The Grinch likes Christmas in his own way: Not everything is pink and happy,” she says. Watch The Grinch

Babe 

In this 1995 family film directed by George Miller (Happy Feet, Mad Max: Fury Road), a sweet piglet named Babe navigates the social and emotional nuances of his new owner’s farm. As Rik Toulon, Chief Legal Officer says, Babe is “ a sweet, feel-good movie with so much heart. Plus, all of the animals are worried about who’s getting the ax for Xmas dinner.”  Watch Babe

Cult Classics

Female Trouble

Directed by John Waters, this 1974 comedy centers around Divine, who Toulon describes as “very out-there, and subversive.” He’s chosen the movie as a holiday favorite since “Divine not getting her ‘cha- cha heels’ for Christmas  is hilarious.”  Watch Female Trouble 

Metropolitan

Co-President of Story Chris Markus recommends this 1990 indie directed by Whit Stillman for a few very specific reasons: “Sometimes I just want to be 20, wittily drunk and home from college, staggering around Christmas Time in NYC in a hand-me-down tuxedo,” he says. Watch Metropolitan 

Pulp Fiction

For AGBO’s VP of Production Ari Costa, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction always seems to make its way into the repertoire of holiday-season films: “I don’t know why, but it’s always on cable at Christmas time, and I always have to watch it. Sam L. Jackson reads from the bible about the path of the righteous man… is that something?” Costa wonders. Watch Pulp Fiction

In Bruges

Starring Colin Farrell as a hitman awaiting his next assignment in Belgium, this crime-comedy provides the perfect contrast to the sweet coziness of the holiday season. “Nothing says holiday cheer like the existential dread of a couple of hapless hitmen,” Marciano writes. Watch In Bruges
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