Thursday, December 6, 2007

Top 5: Holiday Movies

It's that time of year...when your TV set is bombarded with ads for diamonds and HDTVs (which are both great gift ideas if you were thinking of sending me something) and holiday movies like It's a Wonderful Life. And while I do love a good morality tale, you won't find me watching Jimmy Stewart this time of year. Instead, here are the 5 films that get me in the holiday mood:

1. Scrooged - My all time favorite Christmas movie and, in my opinion, the best telling of A Christmas Carol ever (Yes. Even better then the one with Mickey and Scrooge McDuck). Bill Murray is funny as ever and pretty much makes the entire movie. Sure the supporting cast is wonderful, but this is Bill Murray's movie. I still remember seeing it in the theater and people singing along at the end...makes the world seem a little brighter during the holidays.

2. A Christmas Story - I think most people regard this as a modern Christmas classic...and rightly so (they don't play it for 24 hours every Christmas Eve for nothin'). I think my favorite moment is when the family is at the Chinese restaurant for dinner (because the neighbor's dogs have ruined Christmas dinner) and Father is trying to get the Chinese waiters to sing "fa-la-la-la-la" rather than "Fa-rah-rah-rah-rah." Hilarious. And I learned some valuable lessons from this movie...don't stick your tongue to a frozen pole or it will get stuck; eating soap can make you blind; "fragile" is Italian; "fudge" is a perfectly acceptable alternative to "fuck"...valuable lessons, all.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - I've never seen the Bass and Rainkin stop motion movies (like Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Year Without Santa Claus), which I'm sure is creating a serious hole in my life, but HTGSC has always been enough to fill the void. This wonderful (original) animated telling of the Dr. Seuss story is always a highlight of the holiday season (we'll just pretend the dreadful live action version never happened).

4. White Christmas - This is about as old-school classic as you can get. Bing Crosby is so charming and Danny Kaye is just phenomenal. I also really like Holiday Inn (which is basically the exact same movie and the first time Bing Crosby sang White Christmas). They both make me wish I lived somewhere with snow...if only during the holidays.

5. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - It's kinda sad the National Lampoon movies have become such crap because the Griswolds were a truly great American family. I know this film is not what you would call "good" or "smart" or "original" or, I dunno, worth watching multiple times, but I love it and have probably seen it 20 times (though it has been awhile). Sure it has the exact same plot as all the other Vacation movies (Chevy Chase is an idiot, screws up as much as possible, gets really angry at someone and does something illegal and it all works out in the end), but this is holiday film making at it's finest! (That last bit is completely untrue)

So, what are your favorite holiday movies?


Carey said...

I totally agree with A Christmas Story and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

I literally cannot listen to "Deck The Halls" without singing along, "Deck da halls wit bows of horry, fa-rah-rah-rah-rah rah-rah-rah-rah. 'Tis da season to be jorry... "

And, I can never get enough of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I've seen this movie more times than I will ever admit aloud.

I've come to realize that I get the most joy out of subtleties, in both TV and film. There was this one episode of The Office a long while ago titled "Beach Games." All of the workers travel by bus to a day at the beach, and as they get off the bus, Michael is standing there talking to Dwight. It's an unremarkable scene except for the fact that Michael is wearing this particularly festive hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned, partially obscuring a t-shirt underneath. The t-shirt? A "Sandals" logo tee, as in Sandals resorts, as in the corny hotspot that all tourists lame and lamer flock to. It was one of those visions that so aptly sums up a character that words are not needed. By the way, this is also the episode where Creed catches a fish with his bare hand, at which point I pretty much lost it and started screaming, "GENIUS! GENIUS!" at my television. I digress.

Anyway, this does have a point. My favorite part in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (other than the grandparents wrapping up the cat and the jello mold) is something similar. There's a scene inside the house where everyone is enjoying some egg nog, and Clark and Eddie are talking. Well, you can clearly see Eddie has brought out his "Sunday best" to wear at this little holiday soiree, and underneath his paper-thin knit cream-colored v-neck sweater, you can make out the entire outline of a very dark-colored dickie. Just thinking about this scene gives me great pleasure; there's no better way to sum up Eddie's complete lack of class.

Now I must go watch Scrooged (I haven't ever seen it).

Great post! :)

Liz said...

You've never seen the Rankin-Bass movies!!! If I had known I would have taken this up with your mother. Rudolph is the best one.

I think the only glaring ommission here is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love that one. A Christmas Story is my personal fav. They have a leg lamp in that lamp store in Hillcrest. I've thought about getting it.

Red said...

Never seen Scrooged, Carey?!?!? You will love it...especially since you appreciate the greatness of Christmas Vacation (and I completely agree about the navy blue dickie. Classic!)

And Liz, A Charlie Brown Christmas was number 6...for sure

Dan said...

Santa Claus:THE MOVIE - from 1985 w/ Dudley Moore and John Lithgow! CLASSIC.
also the Albert Finney Christmas Carol...great version! "I HATE PEOPLE!" sweet musical...
and..."THE REF" - great movie...xmas w/a twist.

Garney said...

Excellent top 5. Here are two runner-ups:

Miracle on 34th Street - either version though I prefer the remake

Bad Santa - or Badder Santa if you prefer the "extended" version

Garney said...

I forgot about the original Home Alone. Gotta add that to the list of runner-ups.

Red said...

Home Alone would def be in the top 10. Bad(er) Santa was tough for me. Lorelei Gilmore does NOT have a filthy mouth like that!!!

CL-Meister said...

OMG. That is pretty much my exact list (with the Jim Carrey Grinch movie at #6). :)

I cannot go through the holiday season without watching Scrooged. I hurt myself laughing every time I hear Bill say, "The bitch hit me with a toaster."

HAHAHA! I'm giggling right now!