Thursday, January 01, 2009

Christmas Movies

I just realized that I forgot to do my post on Christmas movies, and though the holiday, and the year, are recently removed, I figured I'd do it anyway instead of waiting a whole year to do it right.

I'm not going to put these in order as I don't have the time or resolve to put these in any kind of order right now. I can tell you that my favorite Christmas movie of all time, though, which is no surprise to regular readers of this blog, is It's A Wonderful Life. In fact, it's one of my favorite movies of all time in general. The message contained within the film is one we should all keep in mind at all times, and one that helps me through a lot.

Now this next modern classic wasn't always one of my favorites, but the appeal of it has grown on me as I've gotten older. And that is A Christmas Story. The story of a boy wanting a bb rifle for Christmas that takes us on an introspective look into the boy's and his family's life. And the narration of the main character all grown up is just poetic and warm. I'm convinced that the style of the TV show The Wonder Years was modeled after this movie because of that.

Elf is only a few years old, but it's popular enough to garner being played multiple times throughout the holiday season, including an all-day marathon yesterday, and yes, I watch it several times every year. I don't know why, but I love that film. I'm not a huge Will Ferrel fan as I find his style of humor most times annoying and distasteful, but there are a few flicks that I just love him in, like Old School and this movie. My favorite scene, though, is when Zooey Deschanel's character, Jovie, is singing in the shower and Buddy (Ferrel) is sitting on the sink singing along with her without her knowing. It's just a romantic, touching and comedic scene.

A Christmas Carol is the Christmas classic of course, and there are two versions I like. I can't remember who stars in the older version that I like, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the ones from the 1930s. Then again it could have been the 1951 version, I don't know. And the other version I like is the one with Patrick Stewart from 1999. Of course, there have been so many adaptations of that book, and Scrooged is another good and unique take on the classic story.

One can't forget the Santa Clause movies starring Tim Allen either. Though the first one is by far the best of the three, the second one was okay as well. The whole concept of the first film, though, was something new and enjoyable.

Miracle On 34th Street was never a favorite of mine because it was kind of boring to me, but the message in it and the whole plot of the movie deserves recognition, so there you go.

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was hilarious, once again reprising the role of Clark Grizwald. Full of hijinks and oddities, this hapless family man tries to make the perfect Christmas for his family, but keeps failing miserably, until he realizes all they really care about is being together. Great film with a great moral.

And who can forget the Home Alone films?

Specifically the first two, the only two worth remembering. Such a clever yet simple concept turned into family comedic gold. Often immitated, never duplicated, these two are classics to be sure.

Ernest Saves Christmas. Yep, it's on the list. My brother's dad loved the Ernest films and got me into them as a kid, and this was one I watched every Christmas for a few years. It's goofy, unbelievable, and as all Ernest movies, pretty stupid, but a lot of fun.

The Family Stone is a romantic and family-centric Christmas film with drama and touching moments throughout. It's not your typical Christmas film, and many people probably don't know about it. It has Luke Wilson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Craig T. Nelson, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Clair Danes in it, and is a very warm, yet controversial film with a lot of heart in it. I've caught this a few times on cable and for some reason it just hits me at certain spots in the movie, namely with Claire Danes and Sarah Jessica Parkers' roles (they're sisters) and what happens with them.

Surviving Christmas was not a big hit with critics or anyone who doesn't like Ben Affleck for that matter, but I actually rather enjoyed it. Of course, I'm a big fan of both James Gandolfini and Christina Applegate, both who were excellent in this film, so maybe that had something to do with it. But Affleck plays this rich guy who has no Christmas plans so he pays this family (who happens to live in his old house from when he was a kid) to pretend to be his family for the holiday. It's quirky and humorous, but emotional (and disturbing at times) as well.

Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington is another favorite with a touching story and great singing. Think what you will of Houston, but she's a pretty good actor and a great singer, and Denzel is one of my favorite actors period. And this is a great story. I didn't see it on this year oddly.

And of course there's the Jim Carrey driven How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which I thought was a decent flick. Could've been better and had some weird parts in it, but it wasn't nearly as campy or goofy as they could have blemished it with either, so it gets a nod.

And there you have it, my list of Christmas movies to see every year. Not to mention all the classic cartoons and claymation features as well. This holiday season I believe I only saw 5 of the 18 listed. Man, I'm slipping! Guess I'll have to make up for it this year!


Crazz said...

I don't know how you don't have Scrooged starring Bill Murray on this list?? For my tastes, I only have 3 favorite Christmas movies and in order they are:

A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation

I guess that says a bit about my childhood eh??

Brant W. Fowler said...

How did you miss the giant picture of Scrooged and the mention of it in the "A Christmas Carol" paragraph?