After part one, I know you've been waiting with bated breath to find out what movies would round out my Best Holiday Movies list. Here it is. The worst part is that even though I now have 20 movies total on the list, I am still missing some greats. I leave it to you guys to take care of any I left out in the comments below. However, even if I missed one of your favorites, we only have a week left until Christmas, so there should be enough here to keep you entertained. Please Christmas – don't be late!
Side note: without even realizing it, the second part of my best holiday movies list has some themes running through it.
1.The "what if" experience
2. A Christmas Carol
If I had thought it out better, these would have been sprinkled between both parts, but oh well. I was too busy listening to Alvin and the Chipmunks "Christmas Song" while writing to pay attention. "I still want a huuuuullaaa hoop."
Again, these are in no particular order.
|How the Grinch Stole Christmas!|
How the Grinch Stole Christmas originally was a classic Dr. Seuss Christmas book that was published in 1957. It was adapted for television in a special that first aired on CBS in 1966. Like many of the holiday specials from that era, it has aired annually ever since. The story follows the Grinch - the big green meanie who wants to stop Christmas from coming to Whoville. However, he learns his lesson when his plan doesn't work and instead the citizens of Whoville make do without their material presents and have a great holiday anyways. It's a good thing to remember, especially in these somewhat troubling economic times.
There are upwards of 25 film or TV adaptations of A Christmas Carol to date. Because of this, it is hard to choose which version of The Christmas Carol belongs on this list so I decided to pick two. I feel okay with this since Scrooged is actually a modern comedic retelling of the depressing Dicken's classic story. Bill Murray (Need I say more?) plays the ruthless programming exec Frank Cross who is very rich but is also a mean old cruel man. While producing a live broadcast of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, Cross’ life begins to mimic the special. Of course this means he is then visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past and Christmas Future. We probably all know where this ends up, but it is the adventure getting there that is great. It is funny and witty and like I said before, stars Bill Murray. Just watch it already.
|The Muppet Christmas Carol|
The second version of A Christmas Carol was a toss up between The Muppets and Mickey. The Muppets won out for the same reason as Scrooged. I like the comedic versions of the dark depressing tale and sad Mickey 'Bob Cratchit' Mouse is just too much for my fragile soul to take. Oh, and can you really deny that Gonzo is the best Charles Dickens ever?
|It's a Wonderful Life|
This is the quintessential holiday movie that is also considered by many to be one of the best films ever made. The movie stars Jimmy Stewart and was directed by Frank Capra. It is an inspirational tale that is a reminder that as bad as things get, they can always get worse. Like many Christmas movies (The Family Man, A Christmas Carol) the movie follows a "what if" experience after a man is about to commit suicide because of money problems on Christmas Eve. An angel appears and shows him what life would be like If he didn't exist anymore and it isn't a pretty picture. Luckily, he chooses to live and the people he loves the most help solve all his problems. If only we all had little guardian angels waiting for us to teach us lessons at Christmastime.
|Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
This is one of those instances that I'm not sure if this is even a great special or if I watched it every year for 15 years when growing up so it just holds a very special place in my heart. Along with Frosty the Snow Man (consider this its honorable mention), A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, it is one of four 1960s Christmas specials that still airs every year. When compared to movies with present day effects the claymation isn't the most advanced, but that doesn’t matter on this one. The special is based on the classic song, but really focuses on what it is like to be a misfit, with an unusual trait. It is a charming twist on the story and with the presence of the Abominable Snow Monster, I want to watch it right now.
|The Santa Clause|
Since I didn’t know about the existence of Jingle All the Way (Sorry and The Santa Clause made its way on the list. After Tim Allen's character, Scott Calvin, inadvertently commits the dastardly deed of killing Santa, he must assume the responsibilities of Jolly Ol' Saint Nick. Unfortunately for Mr. Calvin, he doesn't just take over his duties, but he actually becomes Santa; white beard, sweets cravings and all. When everyone thinks he has lost his mind, he has to try to prove the truth and that, my friends, is no easy task. Is this a modern day Miracle on 34th Street?
|The Nightmare Before Christmas|
It is debatable whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or Christmas movie and has the rare distinction that it can be considered both. For that reason, I watch it during both holiday seasons and it is one of my favorite movies in general. The film is a stop motion animation story that follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who becomes bored with Halloween. He then decides he will take over Christmas from Santa Claus and has his minions kidnap him. Of course, things don’t’ work out exactly as Jack plans and puts Christmas in jeopardy, which is simply horrifying. Luckily, Christmas is saved just in time and order is restored for Jack, Halloween Town and all children across the land. The story is also complete with skeletal reindeer and the glowing nose of Zero.
When you want to take a break from the sticky sweet holiday movies that teach us about the true meaning and spirit of Christmas, there is nothing better than a good horror comedy. While it doesn't really have to do with Christmas, it takes place during the holiday. The Mogwai is a Christmas present bought in an antique store in Chinatown. With the Mogwai comes much responsibility, as many rules must be strictly adhered to with the care of one. Unfortunately things go wrong and while Gizmo is quite possibly one of the cutest creatures to ever have existed, what happens to him when the rules aren't followed is not. For a girl who doesn’t like horror movies, it’s a great middle ground.
Another movie that isn't centered on Christmas, but it still counts. The movie is told from the perspective of a grandmother telling her granddaughter the charming story of why it always snows on Christmas. She takes us to the world of a 1950s California suburb and recounts the tale of Edward Scissorhands. Overall, the movie is a classic love story with an unsual spin. Edward (Johnny Depp) falls in love with Kim (Winona Ryder), but can't be with her because he has big long scissors instead of hands. Sadly, he is misunderstood by most of the people in the town who don't understand how sweet and gentle he is, so they send a lynch mob after him. In the best scenes of the movie and one of my favorite cinematic scenes ever, Edward makes it look like it is snowing as he carves a sculpture out of ice for the woman he loves. It is a beautiful moment and there are still days when I see snow that I can't help but wonder if Edward isn't up in his castle sculpting something.
|A Christmas Story|
I think my opinion of A Christmas Story has been affected by the over-saturation of TNT's movie marathon that plays for a full 24 hours beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting through Christmas Day. However, I must put aside my disdain as it is still a classic that cannot be ignored. Someone might poke my eye out, if I do. It follows the story of Ralphie, who only wants one present ever – the Red Ryder BB Gun. There is so much that happens in relation to this, I don’t want to spoil anything. However, if you have ever wondered why you should NOT stick your tongue on a pole in the winter, just watch and learn a lesson.