Top 5 Christmas Movies

12/23/2009 Posted by Admin

Top 5 Christmas Movies

By our guest blogger, Spencer Morton

5) Elf

Will Ferrell is easily one of the most dislikeable stars in Hollywood. He’s immature, crude and has a predictable sense of humor. So his turn as the loveable, innocent, holiday-spirit-filled Buddy the Elf in 2003’s “Elf” is a pleasant surprise. The 6’3” Buddy is raised in the North Pole under the false pretense that he is an elf. In fact, when he learns that he is a human, he travels to New York City to reunite with his father.

Ferrell is so joyous and merry; he easily infects viewers with the Christmas spirit. “Elf” has enough humor to keep both kids and adults interested. The mail room scene is particularly hilarious. James Caan is perfect as Buddy’s stern father and Zooey Deschanel is as cute as ever playing Jovie, Buddy’s love interest. “Elf” is more hilarious than heartwarming, but it abounds with holiday cheer, making it a perfect film to enjoy at Christmas.

4) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

In 1963, singer Andy Williams dubbed Christmas as “The most wonderful time of the year…the hap-happiest season of all.” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” reminds viewers of the very real fact that Christmas is not always full of smiles and cheer. Chevy Chase reprises his role as Clark Griswold, a true family man who will stop at nothing to have the perfect “Griswold family Christmas.”

Things get chaotic when his stubborn parents and his uncooperative in-laws show up. Some of the few obstacles Griswold faces while in pursuit of the perfect holiday include a failed Christmas light display, getting trapped in the attic of his house, a set of pretentious neighbors, and the unexpected arrival of cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid).

Most of the humor is slapstick, but it's nevertheless clever. “Christmas Vacation” will have viewers laughing and thinking, “Maybe all these obstacles, setbacks, and annoying relatives are worth it, because Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year."  Or maybe not.  Still, when else is it socially acceptable to make fruitcake, sing hokey songs or shoot your electric bill to the moon by lining your house with 25,000 lights?

3) Home Alone

What’s the worst thing a mother could forget when traveling to Paris for Christmas vacation? Her toothbrush? Passport? English-French Dictionary? How about her youngest child? Such is the plot to Chris Columbus’ 1990 holiday movie, “Home Alone.”

Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin McCallister, a bratty 8-year-old who wishes to never see his family again. He gets his wish when he wakes up to find that his family has forgotten to take him on their holiday vacation to France. At first, things are great for Kevin. He can eat a whole cheese pizza by himself, eat tubs of ice cream, go through his brother's private stash, and careen down a set of stairs on a sled. Unfortunately for Kevin, the Wet Bandits--Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), a couple of low-life cat burglars--are ransacking every house in the neighborhood. Kevin’s house is next on the list.

Kevin’s panicked mother is racing back from France to be with him on Christmas while he booby traps his house to prevent the Wet Bandits from hurting him, but who will reach Kevin first? While young boys in particular probably wouldn't mind being the man of the house for a few days, they likely never considered this.  “Home Alone” makes viewers realize that having family around, even family you don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with all the time, is better than being alone on Christmas.

2) It’s a Wonderful Life

Enough of these “new school” flicks. Number two on the list is 1946's “It’s a Wonderful Life.” James Stewart is George Bailey, a caring, down-on-his-luck businessman who has sacrificed his life goals to better of the small community of Bedford Falls. The maniacal banker, Mr. Potter, is taking over Bedford Falls and George does everything in his power to stop him.  Still, he fails. It’s Christmas Eve and when George is about to attempt suicide,  his guardian angel, Clarence, intervenes.

Clarence takes George on a journey through Bedford Falls to show him what the town would be like had he never been born. George realizes just how influential and important he is. Clarence gives George the ultimate Christmas gift of hope and encouragement. He lets George discover that he’s had a “wonderful life.”

Generally considered one of the greatest movies of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a darker take on the holiday season. It discusses suicide, monopolization, lost love--and death. On the flip side, it’s also inspirational in the sense that it challenges viewers to become more generous, loving and giving during the other 364 days of the year.

1) A Christmas Story

What would “Twilight” be without a bunch of screaming, pre-teen girls? What would Paris Hilton be without a wealthy father? What would Christmas be without “A Christmas Story?” The answer to all of the above: Nothing.

“A Christmas Story” (1983) is a holiday classic in every sense. It combines humor, characters you can relate to and holiday cheer. The film follows the lives of the Parker family and their efforts to get into the Christmas spirit. Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) struggles to fit in with friends at school and has a hard time getting what he really wants for Christmas--a Red Ryder BB gun. Ralphie’s “Old Man” (Darren McGavin) is in a constant fight with the furnace and the neighbor’s dogs. Ralphie’s brother, Randy (Ian Petrella), doesn’t eat anything, hides under the sink and gets bullied at school. Finally, there’s Ralphie’s mother (Melinda Dillon), who is just trying to hold everything together until Christmas arrives.

What makes “A Christmas Story” a classic is how you never tire of it. Quotable lines are everywhere: “You’ll shoot your eye out,” “Fra-gi-le? Must be Italian,” “I triple-dog dare you” and “Not a finga” are just a few. It has memorable scenes--tongues sticking to flag poles, pink bunny costumes for Christmas, the leg lamp, and troubles while changing a flat tire.

The film is an enduring holiday treat--and it tops the list.

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  1. Anonymous said...

    Enjoyed your article!

    Here's a 8 Minute Holiday Treat.

    One of my new favorite Christmas movies, "The Gift Wrapper", I saw in a film festival this year and it was just posted on youtube for the holidays!

    Apparently they are only screening it for the holidays and then it goes back into the vaults till next year.