Tis the season to watch wonderful movies! I am a movie buff ... BIG TIME! Only makes sense since I am a theatre and film major. And this time of year I have a special section in the DVD collection that waits for December to come around every year so that they can see the light of day and lift my Holiday Spirits! I have many more than 5, but for time sake I will limit the list to 5. And here they are...
Let's start with an honorable mention. The Godfather. I know, what the heck?!?!?!?!?! Carleone Christmas?? Well, truth be told this is by far my favorite movie of all time! There is a Christmas scene, you know when the other families want to off The Don at the hospital and Michael makes the florist act like a mobster? So there is SOME holiday festivity going on. This is the movie that I wrap presents to. Why? Well, because I can almost recite it word for word so I do not miss anything if I have to run for more tape, it is three hours long so there is plenty of time to get those tricky presents wrapped, and finally the best movie line ever comes about the time I need an Egg Nog refill .... "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."
#5. A Christmas Story. What a great way to kick off the Christmas season when watching this oldie but goodie! Set in the 50's, this is the story of a boy who only wants one thing for Christmas, a Red Ryder BB Gun. This whole movie is set around just how badly he wants that toy, and how many adults in his life just do not understand the need for a boy to be a boy. There are too many classic scenes in this movie to count ... the Fragilay leg lamp ... the tongue frozen to the pole on the school grounds ... the dad who cusses too much ... the little brother who is so bundled up for the snow he cannot properly move his extremities ... the Chinese waiters singing "Deck The Halls" (rah rah rah rah, rah rah rah rah raaaaah!) ... Santa putting his boot on Ralphie's face to push him down the Santa slide ... so much fun to watch and even more fun to quote!!! A MUST see in December!
#4. The Family Stone. What a fantastic movie about what real families face in life. Starring Sara Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Claire Danes this is the story about two sisters whose lives intertwine with the Stone Family around Christmas time. It has humor along with tender heart moments that will keep you guessing what will happen next. There is a very serious tone to the mother's story which leads to the eye opening climax on Christmas morning that leaves you with that feeling of ...I LOVE FAMILY! SJP is a little wound in this movie, plays a Pris very well and in her idiosyncrasies you begin to really like the character that everyone else would like to kick to the snow. Well worth a watch if you have not seen it.
#3 Elf. By far the funniest Christmas themed movie to be released in the last decade! Starring Will Farrell, James Cann, Zoey Daschenel, Mary STeenburgen, Edward Asner and one of my all time favs ... Bob Newhart. It will make you feel like a kid again as you watch Buddy search New York for his father and what life is like for normal people, because of course he thinks he is an Elf! Buddy's innocence and zest for all things Christmas will leave you with a smile on your face and a weird sense that perhaps you should try maple syrup on your spaghetti or have a wicked snowball fight in Central Park!
#2 National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. A Classic! No need to tell you who stars in this movie, I think most people know just who the Griswold's are. My favorite scenes in this movie are the ones with the preppy neighbors Todd and Margo. What they have to deal with when it comes to Clark and the way it plays out is just hilarious! "And why is the carpet all wet Todd?!" "I don't KNOW Margo!" I am sure everyone in the world watches this movie at least once during the Holidays, I personally leave it on when ever I come across it. Singing the Star Spangled Banner on Christmas Eve is my idea of fun, how about you?
And my All Time Favorite Christmas Movie is ....
#1. Love Actually. Starring Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Kiera Knightley, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Bill Nigh. From beginning to end, this movie just makes you feel good! The opening credits are scenes from Heathrow Airport arrival gates where you see the immense joy on the faces of people running, hugging and crying with their loved ones. It just makes your heart warm up watching all the mini reunions and sets the perfect tone for the entire screen play. This movie is a cornucopia of stories that somehow all touch each other in some way, shape or form.
I love the stories in Love Actually, ALL OF THEM! There are newlyweds who open the movie with their wonderful marriage and even more spectacular send off their friend gives them (you will never hear The Beatles Love Is All You Need in the same way again!); a married couple who faces comfort and infidelity and all that goes with it; a widower who is dealing with life after loss while trying to encourage his young step son to go after the girl he loves; a new Prime Minister, still pinching himself that he is ACTUALLY in charge of his country, who falls for a foul mouthed assistant who looks like an angel; an unlikely couple who fall in love while standing in for the lighting of porn movies (yeah, weird but it works!); a jilted fiance who falls for his Portuguese speaking housekeeper, and the most amazing love story between a sister and her sick brother. The entire movie is set in the month that leads up to Christmas so the songs, decorations and themes just make you want to snuggle up and watch with a warm cup of coco! I am telling you, watch it once and it will be a favorite of yours for years to come. This one ALWAYS leaves a smile on my face.
Well, there it is. My list of favorites for Christmas. I am sure that there are many others I could name, but these flicks are the tops for me!