Classic Xmas flicks (and crappy ones, too)

An evil spirit named Pitch tries to corrupt little children in the 1959 film <i>Santa Claus</i>.

An evil spirit named Pitch tries to corrupt little children in the 1959 film Santa Claus.

Although watching movies around Christmastime is a tradition for many—especially in Jewish families like mine—I was never a fan of watching holiday films (except that one year Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was on). Fortunately, this year, there are several good Christmas big-screen options.

One of those options is part of Movies on a Big Screen’s Crappy Christmas programming. On Thursday, December 20, it will screen the Mexican exploitation film from 1959, Santa Claus. It’s a notoriously bad film, with Santa Claus battling an evil spirit named Pitch and teaming up with Merlin to defeat him. It’s been panned by Mystery Science Theater 3000 and, as of this writing, it ranks No. 57 on IMDb’s Bottom 100 list, as voted by the site’s users. The screening will be hosted by Cinema Insomnia’s Mr. Lobo, and audience members will randomly be given “Crappy Christmas presents”—whatever those are. It happens at 7 p.m. at the Grange Performing Arts Center (3823 V Street). Tickets cost $5. For more information, visit

A second Christmas-film option is a pair of film screenings at La Raza Galería Posada. The arts group will show La Pastorela: The Shepherd’s Tale on Friday, December 21; and Pastorela on Saturday, December 22. The former, a kid’s movie, and the latter, for adults, both are pastorelas, traditional Mexican (with roots in Europe) holiday stories about shepherds seeking the power of Christ. Both screenings happen at 7 p.m. at La Raza Galería Posada (2700 Front Street); both feature an introduction by LRGP director Marie Acosta; and both events are free. Find out more at

For the Christmas-movie purist—or your relatives who voted for Mitt Romney—there’s White Christmas, the 1954 musical film classic starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and featuring the music of Irving Berlin. It screens at the Crest Theatre (1013 K Street), Friday, December 21, through Monday, December 24. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday; and 1, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Tickets are $6.50 for students, seniors, or matinee showtimes, and $9.50 for general admission. Visit for more information.