Sunday, December 23, 2007

As the song says "It's the most wonderful time of the year" and I personally believe it. The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year with only Halloween coming in a close second. So with the holidays upon us I figured it was time to give a list of my favorite holiday movies, in no particular order save for number 1.

5. Die Hard
Die Hard is not only The Quintessential Action Movie, it spawned it's own genre ("Die Hard on a ..."), but it's also a Christmas movie. Sure it's set at Christmas but as someone over at recently pointed out it has all the things that make Christmas, well Christmas. It's got holiday travel, family gatherings, work parties, and of course terrorists...ok so maybe it's not all Christmas, but you get the picture.
If you've been in a crate for the past 19 years, Die Hard is the story of John McClane, a NYC cop whose in LA to see his wife and kids who've moved there without him. His first stop is his wife's office which is having a Christmas party and is quickly taken hostage by a group of terrorists. It's up to McClane, whose evaded the terrorists and stands as the only man between them and freedom.
Bruce Willis is great as a normal guy thrown into an extraordinary situation and forced to do the impossible to save his wife. And Alan Rickman is wonderful as the terrifying Hans Gruber. Definitely one of the best holiday movies around.

4. Love Actually
An R-Rated comedy set at the holidays and all about love what more could you need for the holidays? It's numerous stories all have happy endings and makes you feel all warm inside without having to spike your eggnog.
One of the funniest storylines is also probably the main reason the movie is rated R, the story of two movie stand-ins who met on set and slowly fall in love is made hilarious by the fact that all of the scenes they are standing in on are sex scenes and so they have casual conversations whilst in various states of undress. This may offend some, and sure it's a bit unneeded, but it is quite funny.
But honestly it's the entire cast that make this movie so wonderful. Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman (He's in two of my favorites!), Bill Nigh, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kiera Knightley, Laura Linney, Billy Bob Thorton, and many, many more do a great job elevating the movie. What could have been simply saccerine sweet is instead a holiday movie sure to become a classic.

3. Elf
Will Ferrel as Buddy, a human raised as an Elf, what more do you need to know?
Well how about the beautiful Zooey Deschanel singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside"? What about James Caan as Buddy's grinch of a Dad? Or Bob Newhart as Buddy's adoptive father, whose also an elf?
Well if that doesn't get you then maybe Buddy turning a Macy's type store into a winter wonderland with paper snow flakes and other amazing decorations, or Will Ferrel eating Spaghetti with maple syrup?
It's great for kids and adults alike and quite simply the most fun Christmas movie to come out in years.

2. Gremlins
I used to love watching this movie when I was a kid. I've recently reacquired it can't wait to watch it again. But who can beat a movie which borders on Sci-Fi/Horror and is aimed at kids, all taking place at Christmastime with a cute cuddly little animal voiced by Howie Mandell?
The movie tells the story of what happens to a small town when the aforementioned cuddly little creature spawns more cuddly little creatures who turn into horrible little monsters when fed after midnight. The movie features homages to both It's A Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz, and features Phoebe Cates.
I'll admit it's probably because it's from my childhood that I like it so much, but I don't care it's a great movie.
Plus, it holds a place in cinematic history as one of two movies from Steven Spielberg (he produced Gremlins) that lead to the creation of the PG-13 rating when parents complained they were to violent for the PG rating, but we deemed not bad enough for R by the MPAA (The other was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)
A great little "horror" movie for most ages that's set at Christmas and thus not you typical Christmas fare.

1. The Back to the Future Trilogy
This is my number one holiday movie, and yes I realize it's actually three movies, but it's all one big story to me.
I know this is not really a holiday movie, it's not set around Christmas and in fact has nothing to do with Christmas. But to me it's just not Christmas without watching at least one of the Back to the Future movies.
For years my brother, dad, and I would get together every Christmas and watch the entire trilogy. Last year I actually watched it twice as I watched it once at home and then watched Parts 1 and 3 on my dad's new HD TV, which made them even better than they had always been.
Just today I watched the original and I'm planning to watch parts 2 and 3 before the holidays are over.
I'll be discussing BTTF in more detail in an upcoming entry, so I'll just leave it at that. But know that to me Back to the Future IS Christmas.

So what's your favorite Christmas movies?


jana said...

I have 2 favorites: Holiday Inn and Elf. The first for its wacky hi-jinks and music, the second for, oh, its wacky hi-jinks and music!

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