I am a huge film geek. I love holidays, and I really love holiday movies!
Here are my top eight Christmas movies, in order:
- Brazil – Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece! This is, by far, my favorite Christmas movie ever!!!
- It’s a Wonderful Life – I love Jimmy Stewart and, surprisingly enough, the ultra-saccharine story really works for me! Lionel Barrymore makes the perfect evil Mr. Potter!
- A Christmas Story – Ralphie wants that BB gun!
- A Charlie Brown Christmas – Best X-Mas mood movie ever! Yeah, yeah, this is about “The TRUE meaning of Christmas” – blah, blah, blah – I pretty much tune out for the Linus soliloquy…
- Meet John Doe – Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, and Frank Capra – individualism, suicide, alienation, political machinations, and redemption make for a great Christmas flick.
- Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Chuck Jones plus Boris Karloff equals a classic movie
- Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer – Hermey the dentist-wannabe-be elf, The Island of Misfit Toys, Bumbles Bounce… C’mon, how can you not love this navel gazer?
- Planes, Trains & Automobiles – Steve Martin and John Candy are brilliant. Ok, so this movie is actually about Thanksgiving. But I love it so much that I’m going to list it here. My list, my rules…
I also really like, but don’t hold them in the same esteem as the top eight:
- Nightmare Before Christmas – I’m just not Goth enough to love this.
- Scrooged – Bill Murray’s second best Holiday movie (after Groundhog Day)
- Christmas in Connecticut – Barbara Stanwyck seems to play a sassy reporter/journalist in myriad films. This time she plays one in a goofy, sweet x-mas flick
- The Shop Around the Corner – A Jimmy Stewart classic.
- Remember the Night – I’m also a sucker for early Fred MacMurray films.
- The Year Without A Santa Claus – Heat Miser and Snow Miser are two of my favorite characters ever.
- Bad Santa – just funny
- Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas – This is the Muppet movie to watch for Christmas. Ignore the Muppet Christmas Carol and the other bunch of Muppet X-Mas films.
Some movies may not initially seem to be Christmas movies to the untrained eye. These are indeed Christmas movies, and I really like ‘em. If you want me to explain the X-Mas connection, I’ll be happy to:
- Castaway – The movie is set as a Christmas movie for the first 20 or so minutes, then our man Tom Hanks goes down with the plane. Watch the entire movie thinking about how the entire movie relates to Christmas. Good stuff!!
- Die Hard and Die Hard II – Bruce Willis as John McClane kicking ass on X-Mas.
- Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and Monty Python’s The Life of Brian – Yes indeed, Terry Gilliam loves to make movies about religion (and Christmas) – and I love to watch them…
- Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton should have directed more movies – Night of the Hunter is one of a whole bunch of great movies that come to my mind as Christmas movies. Usually because of very memorable Christmas scenes or how Christmas relates to the theme, setting, or plot of the film.
- Others include Stalag 17, Rushmore, Raising Arizona, Rocky, The President’s Analyst, One Hour Photo, Ordinary People, Kramer vs. Kramer, L.A. Confidential, Goodfellas, Catch Me If You Can, The Apartment, and lots of others. I love talking and talking and talking about movies, so I’m happy to chat about specific scenes etc…
Ok, if you haven’t seen a movie listed above, I implore you to watch it this holiday season!!!
I want to mention a bunch that I don’t like:
- Jingle All the Way – Governor Schwarzenegger’s crappy Christmas movie – yet another waste of Phil Hartman’s talent. Also, Sinbad was in this, and Sinbad’s name on a movie is a sure sign of crap. I defy you to name a good Sinbad movie.
- A Christmas Carol – I am sick of every single version except for Bill Murray’s Scrooged. Maybe a couple of others are tolerable, such as Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, but the story is so threadbare and worn.
- Miracle on 34th Street – Way too cloying.
- Home Alone and all of the Home Alone movies – Yuck.
- The Bishop’s Wife – this is supposed to be a classic, but I’ve attempted to watch it at least half a dozen times before dozing off somewhere in the middle.
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Chevy Chase makes it harder and harder and harder for me to enjoy his past successes. Randy Quaid is worth watching as usual.
- Frosty the Snowman – this animated mess leaves me cold.
- The Grinch – An unwatchable Jim Carrey remake of the animated classic.
- Reindeer Games – Ben Affleck is just a terrible actor.
- Robo-Cop 3 – Frank Miller’s (and my) most painful Christmas experience.