Monday, December 19, 2005

My Favourite Christmas Movies

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer &
How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Original animated half hour shows. Ever since I was a kid, these are two of the cartoon/clay-mation “movies” that I enjoyed watching the most every year. That hasn’t really changed now that I’m an adult (or rather now that I pretend to be an adult). I think I partially enjoyed them, of course, because of the fear they instilled. I did find the Grinch rather frightening (though not as scary, as Jim Carey’s live-action interpretation of the character) and the Abominable Snow Creature in the Rudolph stop-action show was always rather chilling.

Christmas Vacation

Arguably the most memorable in the “National Lampoon” series of Vacation movies starring Chevy Chase. Randy Quaid’s Cousin Eddy steals many of the scenes in this movie, which has always been an inspiration for me in my own holiday illumination plans. The scene where Clark is stuck in the attic and watching old home movies is funny and cute, but also borders on touching, so this movie is not without its sense of warmth and family. Combine that with the compassion with which Clark Griswold wants his family to have a big old fashioned Christmas, and you’ve got a timeless holiday classic.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

I know, it’s not technically a Christmas movie, but it’s a movie about American Thanksgiving, which is so darned close to Christmas and it’s made such a huge deal of as a holiday in the States that there’s no reason this can’t be considered a holiday movie. I’ve seen this one countless times, and can’t get enough of the chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy. (And yes, that’s two John Hughes movies in a row - speaking of Thanksgiving, thanks Mr Hughes)

Die Hard

This has to be my favourite Bruce Willis movie (yes, despite the really cool eerie movies directed by M. Night Shyamalan). Set during a Christmas party at the Takanomi Corporation, this movie, to me, is evidence of what intelligent action movies can aspire to. To boot, it’s based on a wonderful novel by Roderick Thorpe called "Nothing Lasts Forever", which I managed to track down in a used book store years ago. Brilliant novel. Die Hard 2, of course, also takes place during the Christmas season, and it also ranks right up there.

Lethal Weapon

Here’s another great action movie that takes place during the holidays, and the beginning of a great series of “buddy” movies. I’m particularly fond of the psychotic yet hilarious character that Mel Gibson brings to life and the way in which, through the course of the movie, he gains a sense of purpose and of family through his reluctant partner.

Life of Brian

Although most people quote “The Holy Grail” as Monty Python’s greatest movie, IMHO, this is their best. The movie opens on the first Christmas Eve, where, just down the street from the manger where Jesus is born, young Brian is born. When the three “not so wise” men arrive in the wrong place bearing gold, francincence and murr (“what’s murr?” -- “it’s a balm” -- “you don’t give a bomb to a baby”), Brian’s mom is delighted. When they realize that she’s an opportunistic whore and not the holy mother of our savior, they grab back their gifts and beat a hasty retreat. That pretty much sets the tone for this hilarious movie about Brian who is repeatedly mistaken for the messiah (“He’s not the messiah, he’s a naughty boy”) , and is a glorious example of the Python troup setting the standard for playing multiple characters in the same movie.


Rainypete said...

Cast off the shoe....follow the gourd!

Anonymous said...

I'm all for the original animated Grinch...I also like White Christmas and Scrooge (black and white starring Alister Simm if you please). Muppets Christmas Carol, is also a particularly good romp.

My favorite would have to be...
The Sound of Music. Watching this flick at Christmastime has been a Foottit family tradition for years. I know it has nothing to do with Christmas, but they always tend to show it at this time of year (along with Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins).

Bob said...

Dude.... as much as I like the Grinch and Rudolph, the true winner for me is the classic 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. An honourable mention always goes to 'Pee-Wee Herman's Christmas Special' which my friends and I always put on when we're doing our present exchange.

Franny said...

I too was terrified by The Abominable (Bumble for short). Now the tradition continues with my 4-yr-old who saw Rudolph for the first time and ran crying from the room when he saw the beast gnashing it's terrible teeth behind the snowy mountains. Ahh so cute!

My also children snarl and hurl insults at the (original) grinch. Spirit of Christmas aside, anyone who takes away PRESENTS should be insulted to death according to them.

Anonymous said...

Not one of you has mentioned "A Christmas Story" with Ralphie and the Red Rider B.B. Gun.

THAT is the best Christmas movie of all time!!!!

Sulking now.

(And yeah, I was terrified of the Abominable Snowman too.)

Bob said...

I myself feared Hermie, the elf who wanted to be a dentist, but for different reasons.

Unknown said...

Rudolph was always one of my favorites but I hadn't seen it since I was a kid. That is, until the other night. It might just be me, but Charile in the Box seemed pretty flaming.

Anonymous said...

Cool list. May I suggest a new film called "The Happy Elf". It is animated and was released last year. The story follows an elf trying to bring Christmas to a sad town. Worth seeing.