Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Movies 12/22/11

Everyone knows how much I love Christmas, and if you live in New York, you have many reasons to love the holiday - 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. I was inspired to write this up again simply because I saw another list of Top Christmas movies and wondered how they could possibly include such lameness that will remain nameless so as to not bring a negative vibe to the season. Having said that, one list in particular included “Die Hard” as a Christmas movie. Really? An odd choice considering that it came out during the summer, and you'll forgive me if automatic weapons and exploding rooftops fail to put me in the holiday spirit. So would the first “Lethal Weapon” be considered a Christmas movie too according to this clown?
Keep in mind, this is my self-important 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 love here) and A Christmas Carol (1951 Alastair Sim version) are not here. Holiday TV specials (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas) 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…


Scrooge 1971 – OK it is a story that has been told many times on film and in so 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 certainly wasn’t his voice. I think the make up was totally ahead of its time because they aged him well for a man only in his thirties at the time the film was made. Who knows? The sets were so typical of what post-industrial revolution Victorian England looked like, and 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 the eventual Chevy Chase freak out due to his unreasonably high expectations in a “Vacation” movie.

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. The creators of this type of film have since oversaturated the market with clunkers like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, but this original still holds up well.

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. A maniacal paper boy out to collect two dollars, and let’s not forget two Chinese immigrants who learned how to speak English watching Howard Cosell on Wide World of Sports.

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.

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 all to go to hell, not start doing an over the top impression. Hysterical.

The Family Stone 2005 – This film is overlooked as a Christmas movie, and certainly not a classic by any means, but I loved it. The family was so cool and each character gets a chance to carry the movie with their quirky story line. I had to put it on here just because it reminded me how Christmas is with my family, and how at one Christmas or another, I was every one of the Stones.

It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 – 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 cliché 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. Ok I know I said that already, but is there anything more politically incorrect than having a group of Chinese waiters singing “Deck the Halls” in heavy Chinese accents?

Fred Claus 2008 – Fuck you, I liked it!


  1. I liked the Family Stone especially when everything falls apart at the end of the movie. It just felt real with all the family drama; people walking out and the physical fighting.

    Scrooge is still my all time favorite. Doesn't the fairy kick his ass?

    I can agree with all except 2... I never saw Joyeux so I have no input there and really Fred Claus??? really???