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Friday, December 4, 2009

Movies to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

Right, so, I used to have one movie I HAD to watch every holiday season, and it was MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET. The original. Not the cheesy "modern" version with Dylan McDermott (although he's, admittedly, gorgeous), but the original classic. And it had to be the black and white version, not that horrifyingly awful colorized crap. I mean, who do they think they're kidding with that technology? When the eight year old's skin looks grayer than your grandma's, the tech is not working.

But I digress. Over the last few years I've discovered that I feel the need to whip out a few other films during the holiday season. Some really are Christmas movies. Some just have Christmas in them. But all of them put me in a holly-jolly kinda mood. So here they are, in no particular order.

Sandra Bullock saves Peter Gallagher from getting splatted by a train on Christmas Eve, falls in love with his family while he's in a coma, and by New Year's Eve, is giving googly eyes to his brother, played by Bill Pullman. This movie made me wish I worked at the EL in Chicago just so I could get proposed to by someone dropping a ring in my token tray. Crap. I just spoiled the ending.

"So, good news. I saw a dog today! Have you seen a dog? Yeah, you probably have."
"Buddy the Elf! What's your favorite color?"
"Francisco! That's fun to say."
"I love smiling. Smiling's my favorite."
"The yellow ones don't stop."
This movie is beyond sweet, and the stellar writing cracks me up every five seconds.

It's just not Thanksgiving in my house without the sound of Kevin McAllister screaming over some ill-advised aftershave. Plus the soundtrack makes my Christmas.

So this movie takes place over the course of about ten months, but the Christmas scenes are so New York Christmas-ey. And they capture the sense of togetherness, joy and nostalgia perfectly. Also it's romantic, funny and the last movie Meg Ryan made in which he face looks normal.

I recently realized that Tim Allen spends alot of the first 20 minutes of this movie being cranky and yelling for no apparent reason (I realize they're setting up character development, but does he have to be SO mean to his kid?), and that Bernard the Elf is kind of pissed off and unsympathetic for an elf. But still, the North Pole is perfection, casting children as elves lends a serious bit of magic, and I love the E.L.F.S-es. (The sequel is OK, but the third one never should've been made.)

The single best romantic movie set against the backdrop of Christmas in New York. Snow, a tuba tree, Bloomies, ice skating in central park, Serendipity frozen hot chocolate . . . sigh. Love Cusack. Love Piven. Love Beckinsale. Love Corbett. Love Shannon. I even love poor Moynahan, who not only seems to get screwed over in every role she plays (Sex and the City, Six Degrees, plus the movie in question), but in real life as well. Hey! Men of the world! This woman is gorgeous, smart and cool. Be nice to her.

If I could pick on actor who should have been frozen in time and allowed to live forever, it would have been Jimmy Stewart. This movie proceeded my birth by, like, 30 years, but I can still quote it and I get this insane warmth around my heart whenever I watch it. Sometimes, I wish I could've grown up back then, when things were both a lot simpler and way more complex.

What movie franchise portrays family insanity better than the Vacation films? And what better time of year to really get in there and dig out the angst, than Christmas? From the ailing, complaining grandparents to the whiny kids to the dad who tries way too hard to make everything LOOK perfect, it all hits home. And then there's the hilarity of some great physical comedy, sight gags and poop humor as well. This one always makes me smile.

This seriously sugary old-school musical puts a lot of people to sleep, but I'm hypnotized by the dancing, the costumes, the songs and what passes for "passionate" kissing. It IS cheese. But I do love me some cheese.

Somehow, I still love this crazy little movie even though every year TBS (or is it TNT) puts it on non-stop look for 24 hours so that I keep catching the same fifteen minutes over and over and over again. Note to self: don't watch this year. It will make you appreciate Ralphie that much more NEXT year.

So that's my list. Any good ones I missed? Feel free to weigh in! And HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


Blogger Ashley said...

I'm going to have to go with "Love, Actually". I watch it every year at Christmas.

"Muppet Christmas Carol" is just plain awesome. I gotta say I still love "The Care Bear Nutcracker", and I even got it on DVD a couple years ago. And yes, I am in my mid-20s, haha.

Hmmm, what else... I remember "The Family Stone" being really good, but I've only watched it a couple of times. I'll have to watch it again this year!

December 4, 2009 at 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

definitely Love Actually.
id also say the christmas shoes.
ohhhhh! and those movies that are like old school cartoons with the reindeer and the christmas toys. love those.

December 4, 2009 at 4:46 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

I have some favorites that I must watch every year! The Santa Clause, Elf, and Home Alone 1&2 are among them.

I also love Three Days, an ABC Family original movie that they only play during the holidays.

~Meredith F.

December 4, 2009 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Chelle said...

I'm actually watching Elf right now! Haha, this movie gets me into the Christmas spirit! :D

December 5, 2009 at 4:49 PM  
Blogger Jackie Noel said...

Haha. I am watching Elf right now too! Good movie picks! I agree completely! I just love X-Mas. Can't wait to read "Ex-mas" too. =]

December 8, 2009 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's January, Kieran, but I just checked out your blog. So cute! One of my faves is "Little Women" with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon. And it has Gabriel Byrne and Christian Bale :-)
I also somehow have a DVD version of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" television special from the '80s with Loretta Switt. My mom and I watched it together when I was little and it always makes me cry. Love that book too!
Oh, and "One Magic Christmas." Sweet movie.
Annie H

January 7, 2010 at 10:06 PM  
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