I’m particular about my holiday season. I’m one of those who scowls when the Christmas music begins the day after Thanksgiving, but it’s not because it’s too early–it’s because I hate 90% of the Christmas music that’s out there. Aside from a few modern tunes, for the most part I can’t stand it. I guess my sweet tooth doesn’t translate to sicky-sweet happy holiday music.
However, I’m just a little bit less picky when it comes to my Christmas movies. Some of the typical favorites aren’t on my list–It’s a Wonderful Life is not so wonderful and actually moreso depressing than anything–and most were made in the last two decades, but to prove I’m not totally a Christmas Entertainment Grinch, here is my list of my favorite Christmas movies.
The Holiday–As a Christmas Chick Flick, this is pretty good. The majority of Christmas Chick Flicks (let’s call them CCF’s for the rest of this blog post, ok?) are Hallmark specials where the actors are all soft-spoken, yet somehow over-acting, and there’s so much sap that you just want to drown all the actors in it. This movie… is not like that. It’s sweet and I find myself rooting for all the characters even though I’ve seen it enough times to know how it all turns out. And while I feel a bit bad for Kate Winslet (the other leading lady gets Jude Law and she has Jack Black… sad) the coupling works and it’s all adorable without overdoing it. It doesn’t beat #1 on my list for a CCF, but it does the trick for something happy and fairly mindless.
A Christmas Story–I grew to love this movie sometime after the third year my brother insisted on watching the 24 Hour TNT Marathon of it. Before that I felt kind of “meh” about it. But, after actually sitting down and watching it beginning to end, I was immediately taken back to every year that my tiny childhood self wished so hard for that magical Christmas gift of the year. Though I wanted Magic Attic Club dolls or an Easy Bake Oven and not a Red Ryder BB Gun, the feelings were the same. This movie adorably illustrates what it’s like to be a kid at Christmas… I just won’t be watching 24 hours of it, ever.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation–This movie would be a nearly perfect comedy if they didn’t kill the cat. Seriously, don’t kill the cat. It’s just not cool.
The Santa Claus–This movie makes my list not only because it’s a lovely, original idea (you kill Santa? Now you ARE Santa, HAH!) but because the sequels actually don’t suck. Neither can compare to the original, but even the worst of the bunch isn’t that bad. If nothing else it’s cute to see how the characters have aged. As a kid I was convinced Judy the elf’s secret recipe for the best cocoa ever would work (shaken, not stirred) and it resulted in many a messy kitchen.
The Year Without a Santa Claus–This was my favorite stop-motion movie as a kid. I never saw the live action update and have always wanted to, but I know it just won’t compare. It’s cheesy, yeah, but the songs are so catchy. Also the premise is kind of neat. Christmas isn’t in danger because of something catastrophic, it’s just that Santa is feeling under the weather and needs a break. The guy has the most demanding job like, ever, so I can understand.
Nightmare Before Christmas–Is this a Halloween movie? Or a Christmas movie? Ehhh I’m going to lean towards Christmas, since that’s when all the action takes place. It meshes my two favorite holidays with awesome music and amazing stop motion by Tim Burton before he got too full of himself and Tim Burton’d himself all over the Tim Burton Movies. And before Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, even though they both are fantastic they are both SO overused it hurts my eyes. Nightmare is a golden time for Tim, and one we should all remember.
Scrooged–I love this movie. It’s laugh out loud funny and the ONLY version of A Christmas Carol that I can actually stomach. And in these days of big business sucking the souls out of us all, it rings true even louder today. Bill Murray is just at his best and funniest, years before he’s become somewhat of a cult icon that is moreso stuck in a movie for an inside joke (Zombieland…) than anything else.
Elf–I remember when the previews for this first came out and I said “woah, this is going to tank BAD.” And then it didn’t. Oh holy wow did it not tank. I finally watched it on DVD after it came out and, while I’m not the biggest Will Ferrell fan, I fell in love with this adorably hilarious movie. You can tell that some of the lines are improvised–much like in Anchorman, another film I love of Ferrell’s–and the situations and dialogue are just downright funny. It also doubles as a movie you can watch with the whole family, since any of the more adult jokes will definitely fly over the kids’ heads.
Love, Actually–I just love this movie. The perfect CCF. The storylines run the gamut from adorable to heartbreaking and it’s all good. Plus British Accents. Disregard Hugh Grant. Focus on Alan Rickman and Liam Neeson and That Guy From Walking Dead and Laura Linney and even Kiera Knightly a little bit. It’s all good.
Runner Up: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer–I can’t handle it now, but it was my favorite as a kid. Though it kind of perpetuates the whole “people will hate you until they need you” playground crap.