'Tis the season to watch movies
So, here we are again. There are less than two weeks to go before Christmas and my family and I have some catching up to do as far as Christmas movies are concerned. We generally watch the same movies every year, but it’s always fun.
We usually start out the season with a screening of “Elf,” the 2004 comedy starring Will Ferrell. To me, it’s the new Christmas movie classic. For weeks following the viewing, lines from the movie are thrown around our house constantly. It never gets old.
As we put up our Christmas tree, we always have “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on. This classic from 1989 featuring Chevy Chase as the head of the Griswold family is perhaps one of the most quotable movies ever made, as far as I’m concerned. “I’ll give Audrey a quarter too, Audrey.”
Then we move on to some other classics, like 1990’s “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2” from 1992. It’s hard for me to believe the first one came out over 20 years ago. Every time we watch it, my wife and I talk about how we’d love to live in the McCallister’s house.
The classic 1960s TV specials “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” are also required viewing. They all bring back many fond memories of childhood Christmases. We usually end up watching The Grinch a few times. It’s definitely one of my favorites.
And what’s the Christmas season without a little dark humor? “Scrooged,” the 1988 film starring Bill Murray is a must-see for us every year. I remember seeing it in the theater when it came out and I’ve probably watched just about every year since.
Another newer classic, “The Santa Clause” from 1995 is another annual treat. I don’t care much for the sequels, but the original movie has a great premise and is great fun to watch. Remember when Tim Allen was a movie star?
Then, of course, we have the perennial favorite, “A Christmas Story” from 1983. I recall being soured on that movie for quite a few years when I was growing up. I’m not sure if I watched it too many times or what, but ever since my son was old enough to enjoy it, we’ve watched it every year. To us, it’s not truly Christmastime until a seeing Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB Gun.
A recent addition to our Christmas movie repertoire is the 2009 version of “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carrey. We took our son to see it in the theater for his birthday that year and have since decided it should be required viewing every Christmas. Personally, I don’t like it as much as the 1984 made-for-TV version with George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge, which I watch every year on Christmas Eve.
There’s also the annual special of one of my favorite TV shows, “Doctor Who.” Ever since the show came back on the airwaves in 2005, they’ve had annual Christmas episodes that are always a lot of fun. This year, the premise is the Doctor has to save the world (in Victorian England, no less) from killer snowmen that feed off people’s thoughts. It’s sure to be a fantastic episode.
As for movies that I try to avoid, “The Polar Express” from 2004 is certainly at the top of the list. I just can’t get past the “dead-eye syndrome” that the movie’s characters suffer from, though I did love the book when I was a kid. The 2000 movie version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is also right up there. It’s really difficult to make a short children’s book into a feature film, which both of these movies fail to do well.
I have also never liked “It’s A Wonderful Life,” which my wife tries to get me to watch every year on Christmas Eve when it’s on TV and I refuse to do. I realize there are many people who look at the 1946 classic as one of the best Christmas movies ever, but I’m not one of them. I can’t nail down why I don’t like it, but it could be because the movie has been spoofed so many times on so many different levels, I just can’t get past that. Who knows?
In any case, there is definitely no shortage of classic Christmas and holiday movies. I’m quite looking forward to watching some this weekend!
What are your favorite Christmas/holiday movies? Do you have any that you watch every year, regardless of how many times you’ve seen them?