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Everydave’s Christmas Classics Collection

My friend Max over at Power Pop Blog‘s been running reviews of some of his favorite Christmas films lately, most are classics indeed. To me, sitting around with the family, watching Christmas specials was one of the most happy of memories of my childhood winters, not far behind getting to the stocking Christmas morning. Of course, decades have passed, but those moments are still special to me, so I give you a list of my Top 10 Christmas movies or TV specials, in no particular order. To me, Christmas isn’t quite Christmas without catching these…

The Oldies:

A Christmas Carol – the 1951 B&W version if you please, with Alistair Sim playing Scrooge. The kiddo in the house likes the more recent animated one, which is actually quite good, but nothing beats Sim’s acting, Cratchitt’s cheerful optimism and the charm of the story. Plus it was the one my Mom and I watched many a Christmas Eve together.

It’s A Wonderful Life – now a classic, surprisingly it wasn’t considered much of a movie for a few decades after its 1946 release despite starring the then-hot Jimmy Stewart. Is there a better reminder of how the “butterfly effect” means our lives have impacts far and wide, or to have hope that good will prevail over greed and spite?

The Cartoons:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas – the original, the Dr. Seuss-approved version in all its animated glory. Sure the cartoons look primitive compared to the current CGI efforts but nothing beats the simplicity of the story and the innocence of little Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than two, or the empathy little Max the dog provokes trying to haul that sled up the mountain.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer – Rankin/Bass’s claymation giant, another of those childhood traditions. Burl Ives as the snowman and the Island of Misfit Toys are as wonderful as any Christmas characters. Maybe one more people need to see to this day to be reminded being different can be quite OK

Charlie Brown Christmas – the acme for that great comic strip, a 1965 cartoon that defied convention (and apparently killed off the aluminum tree business in the doing!). There was a whole lot of psychology in that kids’ comic and animated spinoff, and how many of us relate to Charlie, feeling overwhelmed by it all and searching for meaning. Linus’ reading is still pretty much my favorite little telling of the Christmas story. And of course, a crazily-good jazz soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi recently picked by Billboard as the best Christmas album of all-time.

The Romances:

Love Actually – it was a hot, stormy afternoon when I first saw the 2003 modern classic. No matter, I loved it and found it enthralling. A fun and feel good movie, which at the time seemed revolutionary with the way it tied together so many interwoven stories dealing with love, requited and not, at Christmas time. It took me about four viewings to finally see how all the stories tied together (I think…maybe I’ll still find more this year.)

The Holiday – a 2006 film that my sweetie introduced me to a few years back; one of her Christmas traditions which I now share with her. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet are romantically doomed, it seemed in their homes this Christmas, so they trade homes (one in California, the other rural Britain) and find love with men from the others’ lives, Winslet’s brother and a musician contracted to Diaz. Eli Wallach gives a tour de force performance near the end of his life, as an aging screenwriter brought back to “life” through Winslet’s friendship.

The New Fun Ones:

Polar Express – I still can’t get over how realistic the motion-capture animation of this one is…but since it teams movie-maker Robert Zemeckis and star Tom Hanks up again (they of course collaborated on the ’90s great Forrest Gump) why should I be surprised? A great reminder of the power of belief.

Elf – probably if I was ranking them, this one would be the one to squeak in at #10; I like it but find most people I know head-over-heels love it. Part of that stems from how generally, I’ve never been a fan of Will Farrell. But it’s impossible not to like Buddy the Elf and his over-the-top enthusiasm for everything…including of course Zooey Deschanel…he was human after all (to his surprise.) Some of the best laughs of the Christmas season…”call me an elf one more time…! – You’re an elf! He’s an angry elf!”

Christmas Story – poor Ralphie, he’ll shoot his eye out! Who can’t relate to the childhood of his, wanting just one thing that seemed out of reach at Christmas, being inundated with pink bunny suit pyjamas instead? Like the previous one, few things get me laughing harder every December than that bunny suit, the store Santa and his big boot, and of course…the leg lamp! It’s a major award after all!

Maybe a new one will be added to the list this year, who knows. But even if not, I feel like it’s a good Christmas-time if I’ve checked these ten off the list.

Anyone else have their own list?

13 Replies to “Everydave’s Christmas Classics Collection”

  1. I like It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolf, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Christmas Story, all watched untold numbers of times and affected by. Other favorites of mine are The Snowman, Scrooged, and Klaus. Nightmare Before Christmas is also good even if semi out of the Christmas wheelhouse.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nightmare before Christmas…. holiday movie, but which holiday? I do like it but it has a weird connotation with me. I liked it, saw it when it first came out, whenever it was, but then it was re-released in 3D around 2006, 2007. Weirdest thing was an old girlfriend of mine from three or four years earlier called me up out of the blue and asked me to go see it with her. So we did, first time I’d seen her in about three years I think. She still looked good, and seemed nice – she was basically a nice and smart lady, but her behavior at times was… a little hard to handle… – and we had an OK time, but I think by the time we got back in the car after it, we both realized “well what was, was, and that was then this is now.” Just no spark anymore. So I don’t necessarily feel bad about that, I’ve got a wonderful partner now, but do remember it and it kind of colors my assessment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Perfectly understandable why you have ambivalence about it. It’s downright creepy in parts, not suitable for children. It’s an adult holiday story trapped between two big ones and for the most part dark and melancholy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank You Dave for the link! I just saw The Holiday last year and LOVED it. Next year instead of just reruning the ones I have…I wlll add some. Some though like It’s A Wonderful Life…I just have to have.
    Polar Express is already a classic to me. My only gripe…and it’s not really a gripe but their eyes look strange…I still love it.
    The boy who is a know it all…reminds me of someone and I can’t place it. Wonderful post Dave!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Max! ‘The Holiday’ must be good… because much of the time I really do not like Jack Black but he’s great in this one (he was good in ‘High Fidelity’ since his time onscreen was limited, and I liked him in ‘The Big Year’ but beyond that…) . It is a nice little story , makes me feel good.
      The eyes in the ‘Polar Express’… I do remember noticing something odd about the main boy’s… no iris is it? I don’t remember for sure, but I have thought that. Still, it’s a wonderful movie. We watched it last week. Hopefully tonight, either ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ or “Christmas Story.’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is something about the eyes…some critics said they looked “dead ”

        Yea I’m not a huge fan of Jack Black…I think he goes way over the top at times. He is ok if he stays in control.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. exactly! I thought of him too with him in so many Christmas movies…he was good in ‘The Truman Show’ and as a voice actor in A christmas Carol’ but his over-the-top performances push me out of the room.

        Liked by 1 person

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