There is nothing like putting up a Christmas tree to get you into the spirit of the holidays. Everyone knows how much I love Christmas, and if you live in New York, you have many reasons to love the holidays. Store windows, Rockefeller Center, The Bronx Zoo at night, etc. I also have a fondness for holiday movies, so I decided to list my favorites. Keep in mind, this is my self-indulgent, slow news week self telling you that these are my favorite Christmas movies, not the greatest, so White Christmas (classic songs, but whatever) Miracle on 34th Street (The 1947 version, the weak remake gets no mention here) and A Christmas Carol (1951 Alastair Sim version) are not here. Holiday TV specials are also omitted even though I love so many of them. So, in no particular order, see if this list gets you in the holiday spirit at all…
MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES
Scrooge 1971 – OK it is a story that has been told many times on film in many variations. I have never been a fan of musicals, not just because they can be so corny, but I have always had a problem with watching a story unfold then having characters just breaking out into song whenever the hell they feel like it. This one is different for some reason, and I don’t know why. Albert Finney isn’t exactly Beverly Sills or Bing Crosby so it wasn’t his voice. Who knows, but I love how this version stayed so true to the book, without the songs of course.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 1989 – There is nothing funnier than Chevy Chase freaking out at the end of the “Vacation” movies.
Joyeux Noel 2006 – This was inspired by a fascinating true event that took place during World War I, where German and Allied troops from both trenches decided to call a truce on Christmas Eve. The moments created in a situation like this must have been enormous for any soldier, at any time.
Better Off Dead 1985 – I don’t know if this is really a Christmas movie, but it sure is hysterically funny. John Cusack’s first “jilted lover” movie, but certainly not his last. TV dinners and Moose outfits under the tree…classic. Not to mention two Chinese immigrants who learned how to speak English watching Howard Cosell on Wide World of Sports.
It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 – OK does a bell ring in Heaven every time I get a cliché over with already? I can’t help it if I love this movie. Economic strife and contemplation of suicide notwithstanding, this is a great Christmas movie. It really is that simple, tradition or not.
Bad Santa 2003 – Probably the funniest Christmas movie ever. I can’t even think of a scene in this movie that isn’t funny in an odd, repulsive sort of way.
A Christmas Story 1983 – Probably the funniest Christmas movie ever. Is there anything more politically incorrect than having a group of Chinese waiters singing “Deck the Halls” in heavy Chinese accents?
Love Actually 2003 – Ok incredible amount of sap in this one, but I really liked it. So many over lapping story lines it was like the “Pulp Fiction” of romantic comedies.
Scrooged 1988 – No one plays this type of character like Bill Murray. In yet another overlooked role, he keeps you watching every frame wondering what he is going to do next. You would think that his character, when mistaken for Richard Burton by a group of homeless people, would tell them to go to hell, not start doing an over the top impression. Hysterical.
Fred Claus 2008 – Fuck You I liked it!