From where I am, it is exactly one month before Christmas – and I present a glimpse into my soul – and bring you, in my humble yet startlingly accurate opinion, my list of the best Christmas flicks ever put to print. – Not just ‘really good’ ones, but the ones that over the years, have developed an extra “something” that you can’t do the season without.
Not a fan of Christmas movies? Not to fear, my reviews of the Worst are still coming…
First, The Best “Christmas Movie That Never Appears On Any Christmas List” Movie:
Die Hard (1988) –whether it be a “true” Christmas film list or a humourous Christmas film list, this one has never been on any – and I say for shame. Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” and classics like “Let it Snow…” and “Winter Wonderland” adorn the soundtrack. Bruce Willis says “Merry Christmas” at least once, puts a Santa hat on a dead guy, and uses Christmas tape to assist him with putting a bullet through that guy’s head and also into Hanz. There, it’s a Christmas movie. Stamped it. Yippee-Kiyaay, Mother [Christmas language!]
Now, onto the ‘Real’ Christmas movies in no particular order:
A Christmas Story (1983)- We all know the tongue on the pole scene, and what that actor (Scott Schwartz) was doing until 2000 (naughty, naughty), but this movie is one of the few movies that simply tells a boy’s Christmas memories – that will, guaranteed, ring true for a stew of childhood memories for every guy out there. If anyone knows where I can BUY a lamp like that one, let me know. No, really.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)- Ranked #26 of the best movies of all time on IMDB, this movie is regarded by many, for all intents and purposes, as THE defining Christmas movie. It really could be for any time of year, but the discovery of what’s truly important is so explosive, it could only be delivered in the context of Christmas. Makes me cry every time.
“A Christmas Carol” 1951 with Alastair Sim (or “Scrooge” to some) – This is the ONLY version of this movie I endorse. Simply, and without question my favourite Christmas film, the dark, grainy, black and white picture gives Alastair Sim an ungodly feel and a creepiness that drips from your screen through the glorious mono sound. Absolutely nailing the stuffy, wracked life of a miser, Alastair Sim gives what is possibly my favourite movie performance anywhere. I won’t even argue this. Anyone who disagrees should be shot. Same goes for the guy who colourized this and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Scrooged (1988)- The only Modern version of the above movie that I have anointed with the honour of being watchable, and superbly watchable at that. – Bill Murray squeezes in some trademark humour and wraps it all up with a solid Christmas-defining monologue – and the Annie Lennox & Al Green “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” round-robin sing-along – which, in a number of theatres actually WORKED, put the closing credits over the top – I’ll never forget it.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas (1965)- Not a movie, but so required it can’t NOT be mentioned. Every year as a kid, I would scramble through the tv guide every week of December to find every showing of the Charlie Brown Special. The gang singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing will always be a defining Christmas moment for me, and made it one of my favourite Carols to this day. Linus’s monologue is the calmest reflection on the Meaning of Christmas monologues anywhere. Anyone who doesn’t like “The Brown”, should star in their own version of “scrooge” – which, as I mentioned, I wouldn’t endorse anyway. (Update: We’ve been getting lots of hits from people looking for Linus’ Speech, in which case, find the Good Book and look up the passage at Luke 2:8-14.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Animated (1966). – Again, not a movie, but you simply must see it every year – they’re even selling the dvd of it cheap. Besides, it spawned a movie – which I still haven’t seen. – It would take an amazing movie on their part, and massive amounts of crack cocaine on my part for me to find it better than the animated version.
Oh sure, you’ll always have Miracle on 34th Street, that Frosty the snowman one – and the Rudolph special that looked like it was made by the David & Goliath people, but they plum don’t have that …. That…. Je ne sais quois that the others have. There’s just something a little extra in the above list that I can’t do without come this time of year. — Honourable mention goes to “Gremlins”.
Coming Soon… The 2nd Worst Christmas Movie of All Time…