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)

crouching tiger hidden dragon Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

Cast Away (12/22/00)

cast away Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

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

o brother where art thou Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

Dude, Where’s My Car? (12/15/00)

dude wheres my car Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2001

Awesome Gift

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

fellowship of the ring Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

Ali (12/25/01)

ali Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

The Royal Tenenbaums (12/14/01)

the royal tenenbaums Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

Not Another Teen Movie (12/14/01)

not another teen movie Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2002

Awesome Gift

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

the two towers Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

Narc (12/20/02)

narc Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffers

Star Trek: Nemesis (12/13/02)

star trek nemesis Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

The Hot Chick (12/13/02)

the hot chick Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Continue to 2003 – 2006…

2003

Awesome Gift

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

return of the king Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

Cold Mountain (12/25/03)

cold mountain Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

Paycheck (12/25/03)

paycheck Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

Stuck on You (12/12/03)

stuck on you Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2004

Awesome Gift

None :(

frowny face Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

Million Dollar Baby (12/15/04)

million dollar baby Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

Flight of the Phoenix (12/22/04)

flight of the phoenix Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

Fat Albert (12/25/04)

fat albert1 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2005

Awesome Gift

King Kong (12/14/05)

king kong Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

Memoirs of a Geisha (12/23/05)

memoirs of a geisha Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

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

the lion the witch the wardrobe Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

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

fun with dick and jane Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2006

Awesome Gift

Rocky Balboa (12/20/06)

rocky balboa1 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

The Pursuit of Happyness (12/15/06)

the pursuit of happyness Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

We Are Marshall (12/22/06)

we are marshall Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

Black Christmas (12/25/06)

black christmas Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Continue to 2007-2010

2007

Awesome Gift

I Am Legend (12/14/07)

i am legend Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

The Kite Runner (12/14/07)

the kite runner Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

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

national treasure book of secrets Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

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

alien vs predator requiem Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2008

Awesome Gift

Slumdog Millionaire (12/19/08)

slumdog millionaire Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

The Wrestler (12/17/08)

the wrestler Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

Bedtime Stories (12/25/08)

bedtime storires Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

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

the day the earth stood still2 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


2009

Awesome Gift

Avatar (12/18/09)

avatar3 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

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

the imaginarium of doctor parnassus Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

Sherlock Holmes (12/25/09)

sherlock holmes3 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

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

alvin and the chipmunks the squeakquel Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


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)

tron legacy3 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Practical Gift

The Fighter (12/17/10)

the fighter Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Stocking Stuffer

True Grit (12/22/10)

true grit Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


Lump of Coal

Gulliver’s Travels (12/25/10)

gullivers travels1 Best & Worst Christmas Movie Releases of the Past 10 Years


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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