7. Trading Places
Box office gross: $90.4 million
Trading Places isn't about Christmas, a snooty trader brought low, a hustler-turned-broker or a hooker with a heart of gold, race and class relations in the U.S. or commodities trading -- it's a smart, nuanced and very funny story about all of it.
When Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy) and his brother Mortimer (Don Ameche) make a $1 bet on whether experience or environment make the man, the slow decay of Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and the grooming of Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy, NSFW), everybody ends up learning a couple of lessons. The first is that racially condescending commodities brokers and bookies are not-so-distant relatives and the commodities they traded only got motors running in the go-go '80s.
The second is that when the queen of horror movies manages to keep her shirt on for her entire reign, folks will come out in droves when Jamie Lee Curtis gives them a (NSFW) topless scene for Christmas. Finally, Trading Places makes it known that you can feature in a scene that involves Dan Aykroyd in blackface and still be elected to one of Minnesota's Senate seats, as the gentleman at the 51-second mark of this clip was.
Mostly, however, it's a pleasant holiday reminder that Eddie Murphy could liven up a Christmas movie without disguising himself as a cartoon donkey. For parents who remember Murphy's Raw and just wish he'd do a comedy that they didn't have to show on the backseat screens of their minivan, that's a great gift.