These Hanukkah Movies Prove Christmas Shouldn't Have All The Fun
The numbers may not be even, but that's no reason to let Christmas movies have all the fun. Never forget that It's A Wonderful Life season overlaps with the Festival Of Lights. And since festive films are the best part of any holiday (next to themed desserts), I've culled together this list of eight movies that celebrate Hanukkah. Obviously, there should be way more movies about the Jewish holiday, but this selection ought to tide you over until next year. Why watch Miracle On 34th Street for the thousandth time when Santa Claus doesn't come to your house? Why go on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when your family has never had a Christmas tree, with or without a wild squirrel living inside it?
It's true that you've got to dig a little deeper to find those elusive Hanukkah movies. ABC Family has no "25 Days Of Hanukkah" programming block to turn to. But that little bit of effort makes it all the sweeter when you hit on a movie that finally speaks to your traditions and childhood; no chance of taking it for granted, like the Christmas kids. From animated comedy to homage to romances, these eight Hannukah movies are the culturally specific pieces of entertainment you've been waiting for.
Meet floppy-eared immigrant Fievel Mousekewitz. He and his family come to America from Russia for a new life in this 1986 animated musical. In the very first scene of the movie, Fievel gets a hat from his father as a Hanukkah gift. It's a heartwarming if a little depressing "tail," but you'll be singing "There Are No Cats In America" for weeks after.
The live recording of Adam Sandler's "The Chanukah Song" became a massive radio hit in 1996. It also provided the title of this animated feature, which stars Sandler as a town ne'er-do-well who gets his act together one December.
In the third installment of the cringe comedy trilogy, the Brynes family and the Focker family come together for a blended holiday celebration. There have been smoother Chrismukkahs, no doubt, but it just wouldn't be a Meet The Parents sequel if nothing went wrong.
Made for just over a million dollars, The Hebrew Hammer pays tribute to Blaxploitation films by casting Adam Goldberg as a private Jewish detective down to seduce women and save Hanukkah.
The film adaptation of the classic Broadway musical doesn't deal directly with the celebration of Hanukkah. But Fiddler is one of the most famous and most entertaining films about a particular Jewish experience. Anyway, it's "tradition!"
Where there's a holiday, there's a Hallmark Channel movie about it. This rom-com is devoted to equal parts Christmas and Hanukkah. It stars Joey Lawrence and Emily Hampshire as singletons of different faiths who fake a relationship to get their nosy families off their backs. I'm just spitballing here, but I'm guessing they fall in love.
7. The Holiday
Yes, your Holiday leading ladies swap homes and lives for Christmas. But Amanda's neighbor Arthur celebrates Hanukkah. He and Amanda's houseguest Iris bond while she's there, and Iris even throws him a Hanukkah party.
The Disney Channel Original Movie is a cultural force, you guys. And this one is based on a true story about a washed-up former basketball star who transforms the clumsy squad at a Hebrew high school. Full Court Miracle makes a decent case for the correlation between basketball and the miracle of Hanukkah.
There you have it: one movie for every night of Hanukkah.
Image: Columbia Pictures