Staying in for Christmas? Watch a feel-good holiday classic. Or stream a Marvel film or two.
What’s on TV
A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) 6 p.m. on TBS and 7 p.m. on TNT; also on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu and YouTube. The annual marathon of this Christmas classic wraps up. Peter Billingsley plays Ralphie, a 9-year-old in 1940s Indiana who aches for a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas but is constantly being warned by adults that he’ll shoot his eye out. The movie may be a holiday favorite today, but it didn’t impress The New York Times critic Vincent Canby when it opened. “There are a number of small, unexpectedly funny moments in ‘A Christmas Story,’” he wrote in his review. “But you have to possess the stamina of a pearl diver to find them.”
WHEN CALLS THE HEART: THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS BLESSING (2018) 8 p.m. on Hallmark. This Christmas special picks up where Season 5 of the Canadian drama series, based on novels by Janette Oke, left off. (Spoilers ahead!) While the newly widowed Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) focuses on welcoming her new baby, Abigail (Lori Loughlin) prepares for Hope Valley’s Christmas gathering and the town greets unexpected guests.
BAD SANTA (2003) 8 p.m. on Comedy Central; also on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Netflix, Vudu and YouTube. While the titles above contain good old holiday spirit, this dark comedy offers anything but. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Willie, a foul-mouthed, alcoholic con man who is a department store Santa, alongside his elf-playing partner in crime, Marcus (Tony Cox). The two take a job in Phoenix so they can rob a store on Christmas Eve. Their scheme goes off the rails thanks to a sharp security chief (Bernie Mac), a skeptical store manager (John Ritter, in his last film role) and a gullible 8-year-old (Brett Kelly).
AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018) on Amazon, Google Play, Netflix, Vudu and YouTube. In this nearly three-hour sequel, the Avengers and their superhero allies team up to try to stop Thanos (Josh Brolin) from obliterating half the universe. The blockbuster hit, the 19th installment in the Marvel franchise, features an A-list ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson. The movie broke a number of records when it opened, but despite that success, The Times’s co-chief film critic A. O. Scott couldn’t help but notice some shortcomings. “The action is especially tedious and predictable,” he wrote. “The noisy, bloated spectacles of combat were surely the most expensive parts of the movie, but the money seems less like an imaginative tool than a substitute for genuine imagination.” If one Marvel movie leaves you wanting more, IRON MAN 2 is newly available to stream on Amazon Prime.
BECK on MHz Choice. In four new episodes of this popular Swedish noir series, Beck (Peter Haber) is pulled out of retirement to help pin down a suspected terrorist while a lead takes Steinar (Kristofer Hivju of “Game of Thrones”) to Jordan.