Ahhh, Santa’s almost down your chimney, that turkey’s almost filling your kids’ school lunchboxes and by this point you’re most likely feeling super festive, with your feet up to a great holiday movie. But with the many choices we have up to now, which movies are the ones that light up your tree the brightest? And who you do snuggle up with to watch them?
Since filmmaking began, Christmas movies have been a driving force around the holiday season, ranging from early adaptations of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol, to masterpieces such as It’s A Wonderful Life, The Holiday Inn and Miracle On 34th Street, and all the way down through the years delivering movies like A Christmas Story (The classic 30 year-old movie of young Ralphie who wants a toy gun for Christmas), Santa Claus The Movie (A forgotten classic starring David Huddleston and Dudley Moore, with producers the Salkinds from Superman fame), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation carrying on the Chevy Chase Vacation series and is genuinely one of the funniest movies i’ve ever seen, Home Alone 1 & 2, Disney’s The Santa Clause trilogy starring Tim Allen, the fantastic remake of Miracle On 34th Street starring the legendary Sir. Richard Attenborough as the main man Santa, the horribly underrated gem Jingle All The Way starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a forgetful father with the unfortunate task of finding the world’s most popular toy on Christmas Eve, Ron Howard’s live action version of the iconic Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas story starring Jim Carrey as the angry and maniacal Christmas hater, the beloved modern day Christmas classic Elf starring the always wonderful Will Ferrell as a man raised by Santa’s elves, the brilliant Fred Claus with Vince Vaughn as Santa’s lowdown brother who’s out to make some money and takes a job working at the North Pole, only to destroy Christmas and then step up to save the day as Santa (Paul Giamatti) is unable to deliver the world’s gifts. And lest we forget the movie that is one of the least festive and most popular Christmas movies out there… Bad Santa . I guarantee many of you will have Bad Santa near the top, or topping, your list of holiday greats. Then of course, the mmmmmmaaaaaaaannnnnyyyyy theatrical and television re-tellings of A Christmas Carol / Scrooge (And before anyone shouts it, Scrooged, that Bill Murray gem that never ages), the most recent being Disney’s motion-capture epic directed by Robert Zemeckis (Who is also responsible for the wonderful motion-capture animated The Polar Express starring Tom Hanks as almost everyone, another festive cracker) and starring Jim Carrey in many roles, including Scrooge himself. The most recent Crimbo treat is Aardman’s wonderful animated movie, Arthur Christmas, a big adventure following Santa’s son who must get a toy from the North Pole to a little girl in England who was missed in all the frantic holiday rush, by old-fashioned sleigh with his grandfather, the former Santa Claus.
Then we have the treasure trove of “It’s a Christmas movie not about Christmas” movies, from incredible action masterpieces Die Hard 1 & 2 and Lethal Weapon, to many comic faves like Eddie Murphy’s classic Trading Places, the family faves Home Alone 1 & 2 and of course, the many horror movies with that festive glow… Black Christmas comes to mind.
As someone who classes himself a Christmas-loving Jingle Bells psychopath, i have my personal favourites, topped of course with Jim Carrey’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, a movie that’s very dear and close to my heart, having my favourite movie star, Jim, one of my favourite filmmakers, Ron Howard, having a beautiful Christmas song by the woman i deem to have the greatest voice in female music, Faith Hill, and to top it off, the first movie i’d ever seen at a cinema. Moving on, Jim’s A Christmas Carol follows The Grinch, The Santa Claus trilogy, i’m a fan, and love Tim Allen as an actor and comedian, Jingle All The Way is high up there, and of course Bad Santa, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Fred Claus and the glorious Arthur Christmas. Many others to mention like Christmas With The Kranks (Another brilliant Christmas movie from Tim Allen), Deck The Halls (With Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick at Christmassy war) and Surviving Christmas (With Ben Affleck as a rich, lonely loon who pays an unbalanced family to pretend they’re his very own over the holidays). And i can’t forget to mention the lovable buffoon, Ernest, who starred in his very own Christmas adventure, Ernest Saves Christmas, one of my childhood favourite Christmas movies. The late great Jim Varney will always be missed.
But what are your favourite holiday classics? When that tree goes up, what you sit down to first? Take advantage of the comment box below to share with us your thoughts on your fave festive movies and the memories you have of them, whether you watch them with your kids or enjoyed them yourself as kids.
I’ve also included some full-length Christmas classics from Youtube, perhaps you may feel like watching one after reading all of this.
Merry Christmas, blessings to you and your loved ones for the holidays and 2014.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1947, starring James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore and Donna Reed)