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The debate over whether “Die Hard” is truly Christmassy is exhausting and lame. That being said, malicious compliance with the “‘Die Hard’ Standard” has led me to conclude that literally anything can be counted as a holiday classic. Thus, I present to you a marathon masterpiece. Inspired by the classic song, to which everyone knows about half of the lyrics, here’s a visual post-advent calendar: 12 movies to watch for the 12 days of Christmas this year.

A Partridge in Pear Tree

Clearly, your only option here is the 1994 emo-goth action opus “The Crow.” Bathe in the alt-rock soundtrack that features both the Violent Femmes and Nine Inch Nails, as you celebrate the season with murdery revenge.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: Seems crazy, right? I don’t know — how would a film about a guy who is resurrected possibly fit … Boom! Christmassed.

Two Turtle Doves

Tonight, you will dine on a feast of “Before Midnight,” the realistic tale of two lovers. The culmination of the “Before” trilogy’s slow-paced decade of romantic storytelling, this isn’t rose-colored glasses but a shot of honest lovin’.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie:Family matters are central to every holiday season, and this one gets more right than almost any other.

Three French Hens

Next up is 1997’s “The Fifth Element.” Why? Because it is directed by the Frenchie McFrench French, Luc Besson. He is a gross person, and the film is a “born sexy yesterday” trope. I encourage you to feel bad while loving Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker doing B-movie space stuff.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: The whole thing centers on opening the truest “gift” of all. That sounds positively Hallmarkian, don’t it?

Four Calling Birds

Ignore the number and focus on what a calling bird is: A singer. Thus, tonight you’ll be spinning “Wild Rose,” which features the impossibly talented Jessie Buckley as a Scottish lass who wants to sing Nashville tunes. It’s good enough to make me want to listen to country, so you know it’s good.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: The movie starts with the main character getting out of jail for narcotics possession. We’re going to assume it was cocaine, which looks like snow. Boom! Christmassed again!

Five Golden Rings

Almost too easy given how obvious it is, but you’ll be seeing 2002’s “The Ring” on the fifth day. Naomi Watts fighting for her life against a well-dwelling water ghost is exactly what you need to remember the reason for the season.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: It’s basically an advent calendar for death, right? And watching home videos at the holidays used to be a thing for people. And it ended only slightly worse than it does here.

Six Geese-a-Laying

A goose that is laying clearly refers to the death of Anthony Edwards in the original “Top Gun.” Do not watch the new one, which is a weird celebration of awful themes. Watch the one in which Goose dies and volleyball gets sexy.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie:You know who else was a top gun? Jesus.

Seven Swans-a-Swimming

Arguably one of the best scenes in all of “Hot Fuzz” is the recurrent chasing down of a swan. Sure it’s a hilarious spoof of a very particular brand of now-dead action films, but any excuse to watch Simon Pegg and Nick Frost goof off is a good one.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: There’s a Santa in it! And he stabs someone! Which I believe is something Santa really wants to do more than he does.

Eight Maids-a-Milking

“Alien.” That’s right, you’ll be watching the 1979 space-horror classic because the android in it is clearly powered by milk. White fluid is what this day of Christmas is clearly all about in the song, and the man who would one day be Bilbo Baggins is covered in it in this one.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: You better watch out. You better not cry. This is really just a more graphic retelling of what happens to those on the naughty list.

Nine Ladies Dancing

At some point in “Black Swan,” there are at least nine ladies dancing. You will primarily be focused on the mental breakdown of Natalie Portman who may or may not be Mila Kunis. Nothing screams “seasons greetings” like disassociation and doppelgangers.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: The bulk of the movie is about how much Portman’s mom messed her up, which is a thing that many grown-ups realize happened to them when they gather for the holidays. Right?

Ten Lords-a-Leaping

Kick back and relax with “The Muppets Take Manhattan,” which features the best-known leaping lord, Kermit the Frog. It also features one of my all-time favorite Fozzie Bear gags, as he hibernates with bears, and really cements Rizzo as a star.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: Sure, the Muppets have a Christmas movie, but a frog doesn’t get karate chopped out of a false identity as Phil in that one. Sorry, what were we talking about?

Eleven Pipers Piping

On the second-to-last night, you’ll watch “The Sound of My Voice,” which is a movie about a cult that develops around a prophet or “pied piper.” It features potential time travel and Brit Marling, which is all anyone should need to know.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: Honestly, this kinda works, as it is an exploration of faith and miracles. And Brit Marling, did I mention that?

Twelve Drummers Drumming

You’ve done it! You have reached the last of the 12 days of Christmas movies (that aren’t really Christmas movies). You’ll finish with “The Sound of Metal,” which is a nice complement to last night’s film as a title but is also great. It is about a drummer who is losing his hearing, so just pretend there’s a dozen Riz Ahmeds.

Why it counts as a Christmas movie: Come on, not only does it feature a “silent night,” but it is all about attaining peace while on this earth. Boom! Super Christmassed.


Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to thereader.com and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

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