Christmas movies are a big deal. There’s a ton of them, and they include significant films like Home Alone, Elf, It’s A Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown’s Christmas. Holiday movies rake in cash and profoundly effect our most important years. They’re often sappy, sometimes cynical and usually fun. For now, enjoy 6 Christmas Movies you should go watch this week to get ready for the big day.
A Christmas Story
The most important Christmas film of the 80s, A Christmas Story takes place in Indiana (on Cleveland St.) but was famously filmed in Cleveland. Every minute of the film has something memorable happening, whether it be a pink bunny outfit, a tongue stuck to a pole, dogs stealing a meal or a strange obsession with a lamp.
The film is still so dear to our memories, there’s a contest for people to win a night at the house the movie was made in.
Turner Classic Movies has made this one of the most watched Christmas films ever thanks to their endless holiday programming that includes this regardless of which holiday they’re programming. Holiday Inn may include scenes that take place on a number of holidays, but if an Irving Berlin movie starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby that opens on Christmas (with the song “Happy Holidays”) and sweeps into its dramatic conclusion on the following Christmas with the greatest rendition of “White Christmas” ever recorded isn’t a damn Christmas movie, then I don’t know what the hell is. And the argument that it ends at a New Year’s Eve party is invalid, because that’s an epilogue – the same as New Year’s Eve is an epilogue to the holiday season.
Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn have competed with films since they worked together on Swingers. Favreau’s Elf was his toss into the holiday hat that became an overnight Christmas classic. Vaughn’s Fred Claus did well, but wasn’t nearly as well-received. People need to go back and take another look at what they’re missing. Fred Claus includes Kevin Spacey as the evil bureaucrat trying to destroy Christmas, ninja elves, Paul Giamatti as Santa and a siblings anonymous meeting that includes a Stallone, a Baldwin and a Clinton. It also has this exchange:
Although National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation may be the most well-known of the SNL alum holiday stories, Scrooged is my far-and-away favorite. The film stars Bill Murray (I could stop right there and be validated) as a chronically pissed-off media exec playing out “A Christmas Carol” in the coke-fueled glam of the late 80s. It’s a darker comedy than the usually holiday fare, but the reality is that the source material is meant to be pretty damn dark as well. The upbeat ending with the smiling Tiny Tim is made stronger by the despair being warded-off by Scrooge’s change of heart. That’s what makes it so endearing.
Did I mention that it stars Bill Murray?
Babes In Toyland
Which Babes In Toyland am I talking about? Is it the original Laurel and Hardy version? Perhaps I preferred the 1961 flick that starred Annette Funicello, Ray Bolger and Fred Wynn. Or my 80s nostalgia could kick in and I could choose the goofy version that starred Keanu Reeves, Drew Barrymore and Pat Morita. Maybe I’ve completely lost my mind and think the 90s animated version is the best. The answer is: yes, except for the animated one and even that one is okay. Every significant version of Babes In Toyland is worth watching for one reason or another. If I were pressed to answer which is definitively better, I would say the Laurel and Hardy version and use the tired excuse that it was first just so I could be done with it, but they’re all good.
All John McClain wanted to do for Christmas was see his estranged family. Just as we started to feel for the man, because who doesn’t love squishing their bare toes into the carpeting, he learns that terrorist are holding his ex-wife hostage and he has to go kill them all with almost nothing. “Now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho” may be the greatest message anyone ever sent anyone at Christmas.
Spoiler: at the end of the film Snape dies. But you better have known that, because if you haven’t seen Die Hard you should be hunted by John McClain.