There are several calendar dates throughout the year where studios rush to release all their big tentpole films in an attempt to maximize on the number of people who will see them, and each date corresponds with a major U.S. holiday – Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Christmas.

Films released during Memorial Day and 4th of July usually open on the exact dates of those holidays, while films being released for the Christmas season begin showing up in theaters anywhere from ten to fifteen days before December 25th.

Some of these films are highly anticipated and draw in millions of viewers, generating obscenely large box office numbers (think Avatar), while other films only have moderate expectations. Then there are the failures – the films so bad, so ridiculously inept, that one wonders how they ever got the green light and funding to begin with.

We’ve gone back ten years to look at every film released within the Christmas Movie Season,  and we’ve sorted those films as if they were presents under our Christmas tree: Awesome Gifts, Practical Gifts, Stocking Stuffers and Lumps of Coal.

Criteria

Just so you know where we are coming from, here’s an explanation of each type of”gift” in our list:

Awesome Gifts – The movies in this category are like those gifts we’ve all wanted so bad that we lied to our friends when we didn’t get it, just so that we would still look cool. It’s the equivalent of finding a Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii or 46” plasma TV nestled gently under the decorated Douglas fir.

Practical Gifts – The movies in this category are like those gifts we get from grandparents and those strange aunts who pinch our cheeks – stuff like socks, undershirts and underwear. These aren’t necessarily bad gifts – we use and enjoy them – but just like the movies in this category, we weren’t looking forward to getting them, but ended up liking them regardless.

Stocking Stuffers – The movies in this category are like extra little surprises we weren’t expecting to find on Christmas Day. They are good enough to enjoy throughout the day and possible a short time after, but soon we forget all about them and they end up in a pile of used presents for years to come.

Lumps of Coal – The movies in this category are so bad that they make you feel like you did something wrong all year long to end up on Santa’s naughty list. Just like a lump of coal sits there adding nothing of value to your gift pile, so to do these movies – they’re utterly worthless.

2000

Awesome Gift

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (12/22/00)

Practical Gift

Cast Away (12/22/00)

Stocking Stuffer

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (12/22/00)

Lump of Coal

Dude, Where’s My Car? (12/15/00)

2001

Awesome Gift

Lord of the Ring: Fellowship of the Ring (12/19/01)

Practical Gift

Ali (12/25/01)

Stocking Stuffer

The Royal Tenenbaums (12/14/01)

Lump of Coal

Not Another Teen Movie (12/14/01)

2002

Awesome Gift

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (12/18/02)

Practical Gift

Narc (12/20/02)

Stocking Stuffers

Star Trek: Nemesis (12/13/02)

Lump of Coal

The Hot Chick (12/13/02)

Continue to 2003 – 2006…

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

2003

Awesome Gift

The Lord of Rings: Return of the King (12/17/03)

Practical Gift

Cold Mountain (12/25/03)

Stocking Stuffer

Paycheck (12/25/03)

Lump of Coal

Stuck on You (12/12/03)

2004

Awesome Gift

None frownie Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years

Practical Gift

Million Dollar Baby (12/15/04)

Stocking Stuffer

Flight of the Phoenix (12/22/04)

Lump of Coal

Fat Albert (12/25/04)

2005

Awesome Gift

King Kong (12/14/05)


Practical Gift

Memoirs of a Geisha (12/23/05)

Stocking Stuffer

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (12/09/05)


Lump of Coal

Fun with Dick and Jane (12/21/05)

2006

Awesome Gift

Rocky Balboa (12/20/06)

Practical Gift

The Pursuit of Happyness (12/15/06)

Stocking Stuffer

We Are Marshall (12/22/06)

Lump of Coal

Black Christmas (12/25/06)

Continue to 2007-2010

–~~~~~~~~~~~~–

2007

Awesome Gift

I Am Legend (12/14/07)

Practical Gift

The Kite Runner (12/14/07)

Stocking Stuffer

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (12/21/07)

Lump of Coal

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (12/25/07)

2008

Awesome Gift

Slumdog Millionaire (12/19/08)

Practical Gift

The Wrestler (12/17/08)

Stocking Stuffer

Bedtime Stories (12/25/08)

Lump of Coal

The Day the Earth Stood Still (12/12/08)

2009

Awesome Gift

Avatar (12/18/09)

Practical Gift

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (12/25/09)

Stocking Stuffer

Sherlock Holmes (12/25/09)

Lump of Coal

Alvin and the Chipmunks the Squeakquel (12/23/09)

2010

Technically not all of these films have released yet and this would make year number eleven. Still, we thought it would be OK to go ahead and predict what films from this Christmas movie season would occupy our “gift” categories:

Awesome Gift

TRON: Legacy (12/17/10)

Practical Gift

The Fighter (12/17/10)

Stocking Stuffer

True Grit (12/22/10)

Lump of Coal

Gulliver’s Travels (12/25/10)

Which of these film choices do you agree or disagree with and what are your favorite , worst and guilty pleasure films from the past ten Christmas movie seasons?

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