Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ho-ho-ho

After noticing a few other DadBloggers doing this (MetroDad via DadCentric and Mr. Big Dubya also via DadCentric) I wanted to share with all of you (since it IS the season of sharing and giving) my favorite holid— (sorry, let me rephrase that, lest I get a phone call from House Speaker Dennis Hastert) my favorite Christmas movies.

Some classic, some irreverent, and some that’ll make ya ask; ‘How the hell is that a Christmas movie?’

One has to love the Christmas season. The sales, the commercialization (if I see one more reference to Chriskwanzakkah or Festivus, I’m gonna scream… or go postal… or both) and the eerie-workings of a man who knows all and sees all (or as Calvin once put it, “Santa Claus: kindly old elf, or CIA spook?”)

What I really look forward to though is the surfeit of Christmas movies. We all know them and welcome them; those shows and/or movies you see that make you realize that Christmas is just around the corner and will be here before you know it.

So here’s my list of my favorite Christmas movies, complete with links to Internet Movie Database (IMDB)…

How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – My all-time favorite, and I am referring to the animated version, NOT the train wreck of one caused by Ron Howard and Jim Carrey, that one, in the words of Bart Simpson, ‘both sucks and blows’. Boris Karloff is excellent as the narrator, with his unique voice booming classic lines such as “All the Whos down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not,” and “He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!” Plus, I portrayed the Grinch in a 7th grade play… and I was ‘da bomb’… though back then that phrase meant there was a bomb somewhere…

A Christmas Story” – An 11-year old, a Red Ryder BB gun, Chinese duck for Christmas dinner and the Bumpus hounds. An instant classic (though I have heard that watching 24-hours of the movie will cause one to go mad) that has aged well. And let’s not forget that the kid who played Flick (Scott Schwartz, who also starred in The Toy with Richard Pryor & Jackie Gleason) later became a porn star before retiring in 2000 in order to try and break back into mainstream films… still hasn’t happened.

The Santa Clause” – Tim Allen at his best (and I use that term loosely). Original and funny. The only problem with this is the incredibly inferior sequel, “The Santa Clause 2”. Now comes word that they have made/are making a part 3… God help us all…

Scrooged” – an update of “A Christmas Carol” with a decisive comic-twist and an excellent performance by Bill Murray, Carol Kane and John Forsythe. Best quote from the movie: “The bitch hit me with a toaster.”

A Charlie Brown Christmas” – the music, the dancing, the beautiful oratory by Linus. And let’s face it… when the theme music starts, how many of us start doing the ‘Snoopy dance’… you know what I’m talking about…

It’s a Wonderful Life” – I know, I know. It’s trite and overdone and overly analyzed, and I think it is one of THE most overrated movies to make it onto AFI’s Top 100 films, but having said that… it is a classic, and no Christmas season seems complete without at least one viewing of it. Besides, it’s also fun to turn the volume down and make up your own dialog… and Jimmy Stewart has to be the worst actor/singer not named William Shatner in the history of cinema.

Miracle on 34th Street” – The original from 1947. Not the hokey 1994 version and CERTAINLY NOT the 1973 TV-version with David Hartman (whomever green lit that one should be shot by the way). Pure entertainment; Maureen O’Hara, Edmund Gwenn and a young Natalie Wood are all phenomenal. It’s simply an amazing film with a very good message: believe in what you want to believe in regardless of what others say. (And let’s hope they don’t remake it again because I know they’d cast Dakota Fanning as the girl, and I would NOT be able to forgive anyone for that… ever…)

Die Hard” – Ok, maybe not ‘technically’ a Christmas movie per se, but think about it… the action occurs on Christmas Eve, has quoting of Santa Claus… and it’s an incredible update of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Yes, you read that right, and if you don’t believe me read MetroDad’s take on it and tell me (and him) we’re wrong. I never thought of it myself until I read his post… and he’s right…

And finally, all the classic, animated/claymation movies like: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, “The Year Without a Santa Claus” and “Frosty the Snowman” – Produced by Rankin-Bass and starring such luminaries as Burl Ives (who attended my alma mater Eastern Illinois University and got the art studio named for him), Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, Shirley Booth. With memorable characters like Yukon Cornelius, Charlie-in-the-Box, Heat Miser and his brother Snow Miser, Burgermeister Meisterburger, Winter Walock, etc. There’s even a boxed set now that I know I better get the Missus or I’ll be sleeping on the couch come Christmas evening.

And as an extra bonus, the WORST Christmas movie ever made…

Christmas with the Kranks” – the most unfunny, convoluted, idiotic, worst-book-to-movie-adaptation, pile of crap EVER put on film. Talk about 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back… (the movie itself is only 1.5 hours, but it took about 30 minutes to regain my intelligence and gray-matter) I could literally feel my brain losing brain cells while watching it. If you ever have an opportunity to throw a movie into a fire, this should be that movie. John Grisham, whose book: Skipping Christmas was the basis for the movie, ought to sue screenwriter Chris Columbus for defamation of talent.

You can mention “Jingle all the Way” and “Surviving Christmas”, but trust me when I say this one has them ALL beat. If you don’t believe me, rent it for yourself and find out the hard way.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

1 comments:

Chris said...

I would add do that list A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (though not a Christmas movie, strictly speaking). It is one of the most touching stories ever, I think, and has the most touching scene ever involving kids and Christmas trees. Have tissues handy.