Thanksgiving is over, which means that the holiday season is fully upon us now. The endless jingles… The same Christmas songs relentlessly drilled into your ears for weeks on end… Braving the harsh weather for gifts that some people will never look at twice… Luckily, there’s a way to escape this holiday hell: by catching a movie in one of Boston’s many independent theaters. This month, in particular, is brimming with cinematic riches, from alternative Christmas cult films to Bill Murray gems. Here are the best screenings to check out in Boston in December.

The Brattle Theatre

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (directed by Frank Capra, 1946): Fri., 12/19 at 7:00, 9:45 PM & Sat., 12/20, Sun., 12/21 at 1:00, 4:00, 7:00, 9:45 PM
If this Christmas classic doesn’t make you tear up, you may want to check and see if you’re made of stone. Or maybe I’m just a sap.

“Die Hard” (directed by John McTiernan, 1988): Tue., 12/23 at 7:00 PM
If you like your Christmas movies action-packed and quippy, then look no further. Plus, it’s prime Bruce Willis, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“Groundhog Day” (directed by Harold Ramis, 1993): Sat., 12/27 at 2:30, 7:00 PM
One of the greatest comedies of all time has more than just laughs on its mind.


“Rushmore” (directed by Wes Anderson, 1998): Sun., 12/28 at 2:30, 7:00 PM
With “Rushmore,” Bill Murray went from comedy king to indie “heartthrob”/Wes Anderson muse. It’s also a hell of a movie, still one of Wes Anderson’s best.

“The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (directed by Wes Anderson, 2004): Sun., 12/28 at 12:00, 4:30, 9:00 PM
Drawing mixed reviews upon its initial release, it’s since come to be seen as one of many highlights in the careers of both Murray and Anderson.

“Lost in Translation” (directed by Sofia Coppola, 2003): Tue., 12/30 at 7:00 PM
Bill Murray once again, this time sans most of the humor.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre

“Airplane!” (directed by Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, & Jerry Zucker, 1980): Mon., 12/8 at 7:00 PM

“Batman Returns” (directed by Tim Burton, 1992): Fri., 12/5 & Sat., 12/6 at 11:59 PM
Definitely the weirdest Batman movie (but also very good), “Batman Returns” finds oddball Tim Burton working in full-on superhero/Christmas/art deco/gothic mode.

“The Babadook” (directed by Jennifer Kent, 2014): Fri., 12/5 & Sat., 12/6 at 11:59 PM

“Black Christmas” (directed by Bob Clark, 1974): Fri., 12/12 & Sat., 12/13 at 11:59 PM
If you’d prefer your holiday sweetness with a shot of murder and madness, then be sure to see “Black Christmas.” Easily the best Christmas horror movie, it also helped to launch the slasher genre, even influencing John Carpenter’s “Halloween.” It’ll make sure you never go into your attic again.

“Home Alone” (directed by Chris Columbus, 1990): Sat., 12/13 at 11:59 PM

“Elf” (directed by Jon Favreau, 2003): Fri., 12/19 & Sat., 12/20 at 11:59 PM
The endlessly-quoted “Elf” has quickly become a staple of Christmas movie viewing sessions.

The Museum of Fine Arts

“Fat Girl” (directed by Catherine Breillat, 2001): Sat., 12/20 at 1:00 PM