Entertainment Movies Boxing Day movies: Take a streaming trip back in time

Boxing Day movies: Take a streaming trip back in time

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The pandemic has all but killed the Boxing Day cinema tradition this year.

There are just a handful of releases premiering on December 26, spearheaded by Wonder Woman 1984.

For the family, there’s The Croods sequel; history buffs can nerd out on World War II drama A Call to Spy; and the romantics can bliss out on Argentinian flick End of the Century.

There’s still enough there to make an outing (how many films are you going to watch on Boxing Day, really?) but for those who want to recreate the Boxing Day cinema experience at home, there’s a rundown of the best performers from the past decade.

Enjoy on the screen of your choosing.

2009 – A classic detective and a classic romance

Of course 2009 is famous for Avatar, which still remains Australia’s highest-grossing box office film of all time.

It came out on December 17, somewhat overshadowing the Boxing Day releases for that year.

But we still had the Guy Ritchie rendition of Sherlock Holmes, starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law. It does what it says on the box, but it does it well – see it on Stan.

Two Hollywood heavyweights Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin also teamed up for the romantic It’s Complicated, which seeks to answer the age-old question of, are they really an ex for a reason?

It’s streaming on Netflix.

2010 – The third Fockers and a Ryan Gosling classic

Between third Stiller-De Niro team-up Little Fockers and Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp’s The Tourist was Blue Valentine.

Starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, it’s about two young lovebirds who just can’t seem to get a break.

Blue Valentine is streaming now on Stan.

Catch The Tourist on Netflix, and Little Fockers on Stan, Netflix, Binge and Amazon Prime.

2011 – Historical drama central

Meryl Streep transformed into the infamous UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, in a Boxing Day release field full of throwback stories.

We also saw Albert Nobbs, the biopic of an Irish woman living as a man in the 19th century – the only way they feel they can lead a life of their own choosing.

But Steven Spielberg took out the prize with War Horse, a story about the pure relationship between a man and his horse, set against World War I.

Albert Nobbs and War Horse are available to rent/buy on Apple TV, while The Iron Lady is streaming on Stan and SBS on Demand.

2012 – Back to Middle Earth

Peter Jackson brought the magic of hobbits and orcs and wizards back to the cinema with the first instalment of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

It was one of two heavyweights making their debut on Boxing Day 2012 – the other being Les Miserables, immortalised on screen by Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.

Maybe eight years ago you saw these blockbusters.

Maybe eight years on, you want to watch something new: enter Sightseers, a black horror comedy out of the UK. It’s a little different for your Boxing Day viewing.

The Hobbit is streaming on Stan, Les Mis is on Netflix and Amazon Prime, while Sightseers is only for rent/buy on Apple TV.

2013 – Parents rue the day

The mere mention of Frozen can send a shudder down the spine of parents whose children fit a particular age bracket.

We also had the second part in The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug.

But it was also a year of heartfelt flicks: Philomena tugged on the heartstrings with the 50-year journey of a woman, seeking the son she was forced to give up for adoption.

Frozen is streaming on Disney+, Smaug is on Stan and Philomena is creating waterworks on Netflix.

2014 – End of a trilogy and the Anzac spirit

Russell Crowe put his heart on his sleeve with The Water Diviner, a passion project he directed and starred in, about a father who tries to bring his missing sons home from fighting at Gallipoli.

Meanwhile, Bill Murray lined up with Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd for the surprising comedy St. Vincent.

And we saw the last of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

All three of these flicks are on Stan.

2015 – Too much to choose from

Jennifer Lawrence got rid of her Hunger Games one-trick-pony coat to star in Joy, the true story of a single mum who makes it as an entrepreneur with the Miracle Mop.

Potentially the only time a story about a mop has been enthralling.

The power of Emmeline Pankhurst got given another boost with Suffragette, in a starry cast of Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Brendan Gleeson.

The flick to see from that year is Youth, where Michael Caine is the conduit for Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s musings on growing older.

Joy is streaming on Foxtel Now, Suffragette is on Netflix and Stan, while Youth is renting on Apple TV and YouTube.

2016 – Going ga-ga in a musical year

Sure, it was the year of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land, but there was an understated musical star to 2016: Sing.

Sing is an animated musical-ish flick that won hearts and stretched vocal chords.

And because there are two kinds of people in the world, the non-musical pick is A United Kingdom, a historical flick based on the Prince of Botswana, who creates enormous controversy when he decides to marry a white, British woman.

A United Kingdom is streaming free at SBS on Demand, and on Netflix and Stan. La La Land is on Netflix and Sing is on Binge/Foxtel Now.

2017 – Triple threats and do-overs

The Greatest Showman took its name as a challenge when assembling its cast: it pulled together Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya for a musical retelling of the bloke who made famous touring freak shows.

The 1990s classic Jumanji got a makeover courtesy of The Rock and Jack Black, but the must-see on everyone’s agenda in 2017 was a surprising one.

Call Me By Your Name follows two teen boys in the Italian countryside in the 1980s, as they discover their true, adult selves.

Showman is on Disney+, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is on Netflix, as is Call Me.

2018 – Cartoon dogs still rule

The family favourite Wreck-It Ralph came back just as loveable as ever while Jason Mamoa ruled the seas in Aquaman.

But it was The Favourite that was – and still is – the pick of the bunch.

Starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Nicholas Hoult, the period-out-of-place black comedy as Princess Anne’s health wanes amid war between England and France.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is streaming on Disney+. To tick Aquaman and The Favourite off your watchlist, you’ll have to rent/buy it from your favourite online provider.

2019 – A clear winner

Wow, how quickly a year passes when you’ve barely set foot in the outside world.

Straight off the bat, JoJo Rabbit was the best movie to come out of the Boxing Day bunch.

(It’s not streaming at present, but do yourself a favour and rent/buy JoJo through your chosen provider.)

Moving on, Portrait of a Lady on Fire spent most of the year whipping up film festival awards for its storyline set in 18th-century France, dancing the line between art and love story.

Let us not forget the flop of the year, Cats.