Christmas songs are the gifts that keep on giving to Hollywood.
Based on the Wham! song of the same name, Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, joins the list of festive tunes turned into holiday movies, which includes the likes of White Christmas (1954), I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998), and Deck the Halls (2006). Although, Last Christmas takes the concept of basing the plot of a movie on the lyrics of a song to an extreme that goes well beyond a shared title and premise.
Taking a page out of Last Christmas writers Emma Thompson and Greg Wise‘s playbook, we came up with a list of other seasonal tunes we’d like to see made into Christmas movies that take the song titles or lyrics a bit too literally. See our picks below.
Plot: While goofing off in Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve, two bumbling elves (Jenny Slate and Billy Eichner) accidentally fire up their boss’s time machine (how else do you think Santa gets everything done in one night?) and mistakenly turn Santa Claus into an infant. Now, to save Christmas (and their jobs), the elves must race to deliver all the presents themselves, while taking care of baby Santa until they can change him back in the St. Nick of time. —Chuck Kerr
“Do You Hear What I Hear?”
Plot: A high-powered, elitist young woman starts hearing a song almost constantly, but she’s dismayed to discover that when she asks others if they can hear it, she’s the only one. She becomes convinced it’s a sign from God and upends her life overnight, spending more time with family, looking up an old flame, and donating all of her time to charity – she later learns she simply had tinnitus, but has become a changed soul. —Maureen Lee Lenker
“Run Rudolph Run”
Plot: None of the popular kids at Holly High School are aware of Rudolph’s (Noah Centineo) existence. He has his sights set on school vixen, Donna (Zendaya). There’s just one problem: she’s dating the school track star, Dasher (Jacob Elordi), the rein-ing champion of Holly High School’s annual Christmas Marathon. Donna has a thing for guys that can keep up with her mentally and on the track, so, Rudolph decides to enter the race and once and for all “whiz like a Saber jet” past Dasher. He enlists the help of his beloved uncle Nick, a quirky, retired Olympian to train him for the run. —Kristin Vartan
“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”
Plot: A loveless divorcee Ben (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is stuck living a disastrous date on Christmas Eve over and over again, ala Groundhog Day. Ben first gets “the holly” on his own front door when he gets a surprise Facebook message from his high school crush, Holly (played by Zooey Deschanel, duh). Ben invites Holly to relive their past before he leaves town for Christmas, going to the park they first met. After each failed attempt to sweep her off her feet, Ben begins to learn that in order to move forward to Christmas, he must first reconcile with the life he left behind. Or as the song says, you’ll make the bells ring with “the carol you’ll sing right within your heart.” —Omar Sanchez
“I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”
Plot: When a child (Jacob Tremblay) wants a hippopotamus for Christmas, his eccentric mother honors his wishes – and havoc ensues. —Maureen Lee Lenker
“Frosty the Snowman”
Plot: Christmas Eve, 1980: Frank (Joaquin Phoenix), a downtrodden ice cream salesman, pushes his cart through the grim and gritty streets of New York. A turn down the wrong alley puts him in the middle of a drug deal between a top-hat-wearing cocaine kingpin and drunk, aggro Wall Street bros. In the confusion, a violent shootout erupts, leaving only Frank alive — but the carnage snaps his sanity like a Twin Pop. Fed up with society, he puts on the top hat and resolves to take over the city’s drug trade under the name … Frosty. (Rated R.) —Chuck Kerr
“Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson
Plot: Kelly Clarkson brings her Christmas jam to life in this musical film about a singer in a career slump who learns that family time and love is better than any gift she could give those close to her. Unable to afford taking her family on their traditional epic (and expensive) holiday vacation, “Kelly” (played by Clarkson, obviously) resigns to taking her husband (played by Justin Guarini, obviously) and kids to her small Texas hometown for Christmas. But their unexpected detour brings the family closer together as Kelly embraces her southern roots, obviously. —Patrick Gomez
“Cold December Night” by Michael Bublé
Plot: Michael Bublé makes his big-screen debut in this musical rom-com about a lounge singer whose only Christmas wish is for the woman he’s crushing on to fall in love with him. After visiting the bookstore she owns day after day, he makes a grand gesture of singing her the title song he wrote just for her – but will he get his kiss on this cold December night? This musical extravaganza features numerous Bublé tracks, including holiday favorites. —Maureen Lee Lenker
“Christmas in the City” by Mary J. Blige featuring Angie Martinez
Plot: Trevor is a recent college grad who is down on his luck. All he wants for the holidays is to reconnect with his murder-mystery-loving high school friends, hang with his family, and keep questions about his unemployment to a minimum. That is until the nicest guy in his high school class is killed at a reunion party. Now, Trevor and his friends have a case to solve. Faced with the minefield of dealing with the crappy people from high school, his feeling lost, and an actual murder case, the question is will he survive this Christmas in the city? —Alamin Yohannes
“Good King Wenceslas”
Plot: A modern retelling of this hymn finds a wealthy CEO inviting a homeless person in for Christmas Eve dinner — only to have his life changed by his sudden burst of compassion realizing that those who bless the poor shall themselves find blessing. —Maureen Lee Lenker
“Same Old Lang Syne”
Plot: On a snowy Christmas Eve, a successful pop star meets his high school sweetheart in the grocery store. The two reconnect over a six-pack in his car, sharing stories of the successes and disappointments of their lives and drink a toast to innocence and to now. The next morning he has to decide whether to go after her, and risk breaking up her loveless marriage, or letting her always be the girl who got away. —Maureen Lee Lenker