Merry Christmas ya filthy animal! is probably one of my favourite lines from a Christmas movie. If you don’t know where it’s from, its from the childhood classic “Home Alone” (1990), which definitely changed all of our childhood’s one way or another (I’m pretty sure you tried sabotaging someone with toys and other household items). But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. If you’ve been living under a rock then you probably don’t know that it’s Christmas! Here’s a list of 16 or so movies I usually have on my Christmas playlist every year. Watch one, two or whatever! You don’t need Christmas to watch great (or at least fun), entertaining movies!
HONORABLE MENTION: “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940) and “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) – honourable mention goes out to the James Stewart starring 1940 Christmas classic “The Shop Around the Corner”, and it’s re-make “You’ve Got Mail” (1998) starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Though you’ve got mail doesn’t touch on Christmas as much as the first film, it’s still a great Holiday movie. And if you’re a sap, you’ll truly feel what I’m talking about.
16. Elf (2003) – It’s one of Will Farrell’s best – yes, the cheesy, super slapstick, “Buddy the Elf” lays as one of his greatest performances. Why? Because he’s so committed. You gotta give the man some credit for going looking and acting borderline crazy in the film. But truthfully, the message of family and belonging is what makes “Elf” such a great film. Not to mention it’s central theme is to “restore Christmas spirit”. I’m not a Zooey Duschanel fan either, but plus points for having her sing here and letting us hear that wonderful voice of hers.
15. The Muppet’s A Christmas Carol (1992) – Michael Caine and the Muppets? I’m sold. I’ve always found “A Christmas Carol” to be a little bit freakier then I probably should. But adding the Muppets into the picture doesn’t only making it a wacky little joyride, but also a sappy, iconic, sentimental flick. The production designs fun and music is great too!
14. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – I’ve always been a fan of these National Lampoon “Vacation” movies. Not because of the cast and crews artistic decisions, but they’re just too funny to turn your back on. Thanks to the comedic timing of the ensemble and especially the leading male Chevy Chase, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is an inside look at everything that can go wrong during the Christmas seen, but reminds us about everything that can go right.
13. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – I miss old school Tim Burton. Ever since it’s first release, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” has become more then iconic, but one of the toughest holiday cartoon’s ever to beat on anyone’s list. The plot is perfect. Danny Elfman’s score is irresistible! The animation (at the time) was so special and different that the film looked edgy. In 2013, the film remains to grow well with time. Nothing beats the animated story of our skeleton boy, Jack!
12. Batman Returns (1992) – The second (and not the last) Tim Burton Christmas film to make my list is 1992’s unconventional holiday film “Batman Returns”. The plot plays out with the background of Christmas. But theirs more colours to it then monochromatic palette the director has chosen, the film boasts a large array of color and bright characters that give Christmas a run for it’s money. From the brooding Batman (Michael Keaton), to the devious boss played by Christopher Walken, to the psychopathic behaviour of Penguin (Danny De Vito) all the way to the unbeatable performance of Michelle Pfeiffer as possibly the greatest Catwoman every played on screen!
11. Home Alone (1990) – as mentioned earlier, “Home Alone” remains an endearing classic, most especially to our generation. The film spewed numerous sequels after its release, including the second one “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (1992) which is almost (but not quite) as great. Macaulay Culkin thrills us all every time we see his sweet (not really) character Kevin torture the lives of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. That boys got skills!
10. Love Actually (2004) – the first ensemble romantic-comedy of our generation (sorry I can’t count older films like “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994), at least for our “generation”) is one of the sappiest (arguable good) films ever made. Featuring a very large cast of famous faces from Keira Knightly to Bill Nighy to Emma Thompson to Hugh Grant (basically everyone from England, except Laura Linney), the movie features the central theme of “love” on Christmas time. More specifically, the different kinds of love.
9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – when Gossip Girl’s “Little J” (Taylor Momsen) was still adorable. The film, though pretty much so critically panned, does not get enough credit for it’s many achievements. Firstly, Jim Carey is a comic genius. It isn’t his best performance to say the least, but man was he committed in that Grinch outfit. Secondly, the production design is beautiful. The art direction, the costumes and the makeup is exactly was Christmas is about, and remains in our minds after all these years. Lastly, the score is fantastic. Whoo Christmas music is the best! “Where Are You Christmas?” and a bunch of the other music written for the film is still played around establishments today.
8. Just Friends (2005) – Hater’s gonna hate, but I will always love and defend this movie. Come on, it’s hilarious! And putting it in the backdrop of Christmas was the perfect choice. We hear carolling throughout the entire picture, as havoc runs array. Ryan Reynolds is never funnier. And Anna Faris was never, ever better as the bubble gum Princess pop star diva Samantha James.
7. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – Santa Claus being judged? Completely original and endearing. The movie boasts an Academy Award winning performance from Santa himself, Edmund Glenn, who won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Did I mention that the film won everything it was nominated for, only loosing one for Best Motion Picture of the Year? Arguably, it’s the most acclaimed Christmas movie on the planet…until you see my #1 (which is a pretty obvious choice).
6. Edward Scissorhands (1990) – The last Tim Burton film on the list. There’s something about him when it comes to Christmas films. I’m not even a big fan, but here we have three movies of his on my list. But the way he creates such dark Christmas movies are truly admirable. His best screen achievement to date is this one, starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. The little tail on how snow came to be is perfectly original and touching to boot!
5. White Christmas (1954) – My original favourite Holiday movie as a kid, still remains in my top 5. It’s the goldmine for classic Christmas songs if that’s what you’re looking for. Though the song “White Christmas” actually originated from the Bing Crosby starring “Holiday Inn” back in 1942, the song was so popular they built another Bing Crosby picture around it. In addition to that, they added tons of awesome other Christmas songs by Irving Berlin like “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Snow” and “Mandy”!
4. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) – Thought you have to wait for the last 40 minutes or so to reach the Christmas portion of the film, MGM big, fluffy, technicolor holiday musical is both Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli’s best work! The story of a family leaving their St. Louis home for New York, was the only set up the plot needed to be incredibly touching and memorable. With a large array of musical numbers features in the film, the most memorable is the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that Garland sings to her little sister, played by Margaret O’Brien, to comfort her in her time of need.
3. A Christmas Story (1983) – Why this film is promoted for kids, I don’t know. But really, it’s a film for adults, starring a kid. That’s no problem though, because everyone needs to see “A Christmas Story”. It’s dry wit, funny situation and Christmas family theme sums up how everybody wants their childhood to be. Cleverly written and very well acted (even if it is slapstick), the film remains to be watched by hundreds every single year. And there’s a reason for that: it truly is a good movie.
2. The Family Stone (2005) – the truth of the matter is, “The Family Stone” isn’t as bad as the critics say it is. I for one, loved it. It’s a nearly perfect Christmas movie for me because it shows something that everyone can relate to: a crazy family. Apart from the birth of Jesus Christ, that’s what Christmas is really all about. Not the presents or the lights or traditions, but its a holiday where we can take a break from the world and really appreciate our families no matter how crazy they are. That’s why I love the film. In addition, it’s got a fabulous ensemble, it’s wickedly funny (in a non slapstick way) and it’s different. An underrated gem, that’s for sure.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – The King of Christmas Movies starring one of the Kings of the Silver Screen, the great James Stewart. It’s one of the most unfortunate snubs in Academy Award and movie history. It’s sentimental, emotional, and on point. Perfect in every way. It teaches us to value life no matter how hard it is. It teaches us to love our family, to never regret our decisions and look at the bigger picture. It’s the best Christmas movie of the ages., and one of the best movies of all time