There is something about Christmas that makes some fine films. Of course, there is also something about Christmas that makes some really awful and sappy films. It was the best of times and the worst of times. I could go on, but I think you get my point.
There are a few movies that I get out every Christmas that help me to get into the spirit of the season and I thought I would share them with you. Consider this a little gift under your Christmas tree from me to you. Sorry the bow on the gift is a little off…I did my best.
White Christmas: It is called a classic for a reason. Bing Crosby is his usual cool self and Danny Kay makes a great wiry sidekick, and the girls, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen, aren’t bad either. This story of a Christmas show put on for a retired General by his former troop is like a swirling snow globe that you can’t wait to pick up and view that tiny magical scene again and again. The music by Irving Berlin is stellar, including the favorite White Christmas, but Snow and Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep are winners as well.
Elf: After a string of Christmas disappointments at the movies, I was beginning to think that I would never find a new Christmas classic in my stocking. I was wrong. Elf floats along with an undeniable charm and whimsy guided by Will Ferrell. Ferrell plays a human adopted by elves that just wants to find his real father and his place in the world. Being a Christmas elf, he can’t help but bring his cherry disposition to the cynical New Yorkers and eventually his father as well. This movie came out in 2003 and I think that was the last Christmas Classic. Shows you what a rare treat this really is.
Jingle All The Way: I can hear you crying foul already. A Christmas movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger? Trust me on this one. Arnold plays a father that forgot to get a present for his son. This present happens to be the hottest toy of the year; Turbo Man. Hilarious happenings ensue. I don’t know why I love this movie so much but I do. It probably has something to do with Sinbad as a psycho postal worker and Phil Hartman as a smarmy but charming neighbor with the hots for Arnold’s wife. I also think this is Arnold’s best work in a comedy. Watch this one and you will always say the names of Santa’s reindeer with an Arnold/Austrian accent. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen…
Earnest Saves Christmas: Few Christmas movies can match the magic and mirth of Earnest. I feel this movie has been undervalued and you will be hard pressed to find a good copy of this on DVD. Do yourself a favor and search it out anyway. If the thought of Earnest having to fill in for Santa while a new Santa is being prepared, doesn’t fill your mind with swirly high jinks, your imagination is dead. If you have no idea who Earnest is, then I pity you and hope you intend to rectify this immediately.
Home Alone: I know of few movies that made my Dad laugh as much as this one did. The slapstick nature of the two bumbling robbers played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as they attempt to rob a house guarded by a lone 8-year-old, is hard to resist. John Hughes is certain to inject some heart into the film as well. Everyone learns a lesson but it is done in such an honest way that keeps a smile across your face the entire time. I wish more directors would take notes from Hughes on how to do a family comedy right.
That is all I have for my gift. Feel free to add your own Christmas favorite in comments below. May you all have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year.