Dec 2, 2008
Movies to make the season bright
by Jennifer Schmidt
Some things never change, and some things come back … again … and again. Take, for example, Charles Dickens’s classic “A Christmas Carol,” which first came out in a film version as “Scrooge” in 1935. It made a comeback in 1951, and then again in 1970 (my favorite version). Bill Murray jumped in on the action with “Scrooged” in 1988, and Tiny Tim arrived in puppet form for “The Muppet Christmas Carol” in 1992. For a spin-off on Scrooge’s character, try the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1966) or Jim Carey’s manic laugh in Ron Howard’s modern interpretation (2000). And wishes come true more than once in “Miracle on 34th Street,” with the original from 1947 and in full color from 1994.
“White Christmas” combines all the style and suave singing of the 1950s with fabulous costumes and Bing Crosby – simply fabulous. He also stars with Fred Astaire in “Holiday Inn,” an earlier musical lesser known, but not any less enjoyed. Staying in the black and white vein, “The Bishop’s Wife” and “Christmas in Connecticut” are two early classics from the 1940s.
No one could get enough of Macaulay Culkin in the ‘90s so they gave us two movies following the defensive antics of Kevin. Make sure to catch the original “Home Alone” with the memorable pizza delivery scene and Culkin’s scream from the burning aftershave. A third movie followed, but the first two are the best.
Christmas equals “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Of all the movies on this list, the most unique, and endearing, characters are featured in this American classic. Revisit the elf who dreams of becoming a dentist, listen to Santa’s booming voice, sing along with the misfit toys and cheer for Rudolph when he finally realizes the special gift it is to have a “nose so bright.”
If You Like to Laugh
Though it came out only a few years ago, “Elf” quickly captured the hearts and funny bones of people who love Christmas – or who love Will Ferrell. Either way, this movie has some of the best quotable lines and will give you 100 sure-fire ways to work syrup into your regular diet.
Possibly the epitome of Christmas comedy, Chevy Chase blows fuses in his pursuit of the perfect family holiday in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” With wild squirrels and some quirky relatives, this movie will be a Christmas Eve re-run for many years to come.
For fans of Vince Vaughn, he has stepped into the Christmas genre only in the past few weeks with Reese Witherspoon in “Four Christmases.” Sadly, it has yet to hit the dollar theater, but it might be worth taking a chance on a new Christmas movie.
Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Every girl wanted to marry him in middle school, and a little bit of nostalgia can be good for the soul. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is full of corny bits and cliché moments, but JTT is all the more endearing for it.
Any Dolly Parton fan might enjoy her offering in the corny category with her country cabin and original songs in “Smoky Mountain Christmas.”
Of course, here reside the absolute must-watch Christmas movies of all time. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” puts a creepy twist on the traditional idea of Christmas - features friendly skeletons, aka. Sandy Claws, and bizarre presents under the tree.
There are many reasons that the world will forever love Jimmy Stewart, and “It’s a Wonderful Life” may be the biggest reason of all. Ranked as one of the top films of all time, Stewart stars as a man struggling to understand his purpose in life – a question common to all. Known to be a tearjerker, Frank Capra directed the film in hopes that it would represent American ideals. In doing so, he reminded everyone of some powerful truths. And remember – every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings.
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