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The Best Movies to Watch Over Winter Break


Now that it’s winter break – or for some of us, about to be – you’ve got weeks of relaxation ahead of you. Between shopping with your friends and catching up with the family, you’ll probably want to spend a few nights relaxing with the people you love. Get the hot chocolate ready – we’ve got your complete guide to the best movies to watch at home this season with everyone from your hookup buddy to your grandma. 

When You’re with Your Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Crush

We’re not saying you have to watch romantic comedies all season, but date night probably isn’t the best time to break out heavy films like “127 Hours” or “The King’s Speech.” Winter break doesn’t mean you have to watch cheesy holiday movies, though, so here are some of our favorite films to watch with your significant other or potential beau.

Going the Distance (2010)
If you want something romantic but aren’t into romance, this film is perfect. Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s chemistry will bring out your soft side, but costars Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis will keep you and your boo laughing the whole time. The film also features multiple performances by The Boxer Rebellion, a twist you’ll enjoy if you like alternative music.

Love Actually (2004)
Universal advertised this film as “the ultimate romantic comedy,” and it inspired the ensemble-cast trend followed in films like “He’s Just Not That Into You,” “Valentine’s Day,” and “New Year’s Eve.” With stars like Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson, this British film follows relationships ranging from stepson and father to sister and mentally-handicapped brother to (of course) romantic relationships. It’ll put both of you in the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of love, for your families and for each other.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
As far as Christmas movies go, this film really is the best. And after a stressful semester and string of exams, college students can use the reminder that life does get better! If you’re someone who finds Jimmy Stewart’s voice annoying you may not enjoy this film, but if you’re looking for a holiday movie that’s deeper than the Claymation Rudolph stories, this film is a great choice.

When You’re with Your Family

As much as you’d like to stay out with your friends for all of break, your parents and siblings really do miss you when you’re at school and will be eager to spend time with you. And besides, is watching old Disney cartoons or recent Pixar films really that bad? 

Despicable Me (2010)
We love Steve Carrell for his portrayal of Michael Scott on “The Office,” but he brings some serious fun and cuteness as Gru in this animated film. An all-star list of costars including Russell Brand, Kristen Wiig and Miranda Cosgrove make the movie hilarious, and watching Gru’s relationship with the orphan girls evolve will make you remember why you love your family.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)
If you’re planning on seeing the just-released twist on Aurora’s story (a movie you should probably see with your friends and not younger sibs), you’ll want a refresher on the classic tale. Timeless songs like “Once Upon a Dream” will make you smile, and the movie is great for any age, so your parents will like it just as much as your little sister does.

Up (2009) 
From the too-perfect Pixar animation – we know we weren’t the only ones who caught Carl’s stubble a day after the house took off – to the complex plot, there’s nothing that “Up” didn’t get right. You’ll cry within the first 10 minutes of watching the film, but it will make you appreciate the relationships you have in your life. Even though it’s a Disney movie, this film is difficult for children to appreciate and deals with some pretty heavy issues, so it’s not the best film to watch with children who are super young.

True Grit (2010)
Even if your parents know the 1969 Western with John Wayne and you only recognize Hailee Steinfeld from the fall Miu Miu ads, you’ll both appreciate the Coen brothers’ take on Charles Portis’s classic novel. The score is soothing (not your typical Western music) and the film retains a lot of Portis’s blunt humor, and who doesn’t love a strong heroine? Skip this film if sibs or cousins younger than high school are joining, though – they’ll be bored.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
You hear the music everywhere, and stores like Urban Outfitters still sell Charlie Brown Christmas trees each year. You, your parents and your younger siblings will love this “Peanuts” classic, whether it’s the first or tenth time you’ve watched it.

Holiday (1938)
If your grandparents love Cary Grant, this Christmas-themed film is a must. Katharine Hepburn is hilarious, and you’ll love the story as much as they do. If you haven’t seen the film, you’ll be in suspense wondering what will happen, and you’ll be entertained and laughing along the way!

When You’re with Your Friends

Mamma Mia! (2008)
You all know all of the words, and if it’s just you and the girls, you won’t be embarrassed to sing along. You’ll marvel at Amanda Seyfried’s Hollywood transformation and Meryl Streep’s versatility as an actress, and supporting actors like Christine Baranski and Colin Firth will keep you laughing the whole time

(500) Days of Summer (2009)
After “Inception,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt became a household name, but even before that he was a great actor, and totally adorable (case in point: “10 Things I Hate About You”). Zooey Deschanel is at her finest, and the film is simultaneously funny and thought-provoking. Chloe Moretz and Minka Kelly also star in the film, which was released before either of them were A-list celebrities, and if you watched the ABC show “Greek”: yes, that is the guy who played Chicken Joe.

Clueless (1995)
This is the ultimate chick flick classic. Paul Rudd could not be cuter, and we can all quote along with the characters.

After a grueling winter semester, everyone deserves a little rest and relaxation, so grab a blanket and pop in one of these DVDs. With Redbox, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and Blockbuster, now it’s easier – and more affordable – than ever to rent movies, so use this break as a time to unwind.


What movies are you looking forward to watching this season? Let us know in the comments section!

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