Christmas is coming… very soon. With that in mind – a (very early) Five for Friday – Five Festive Films (I haven’t done this in quite a while, so consider this an early – or late – gift):
According to Moviefone, these are the top five Christmas films. My tastes are similar to those of the Moviefone family, but in a (somewhat) different order:
5. White Christmas - (Moviefone description) Aren’t we all dreaming of a ‘White Christmas’? The movie starring Bing “Mr. Christmas” Crosby and Danny Kaye is as charming as the tune, with all the elements to warm the heart: Two GIs come home from WWII, fall in love with singing-and-dancing sisters and help their general with his failing Vermont inn. Awww.
My thought: I’m good with this one. My family has watched this together for years on Christmas Eve. It’s a classic. I also like the film that introduced the song White Christmas – Holiday Inn.
4. Scrooged - (Moviefone description) Only Bill Murray could so expertly walk the fine line between pathos and hilarity, as he does playing miserly TV exec Frank Cross. Complete with a taxi-driving Ghost of Christmas Past and a (literally) ball-busting Ghost of Christmas Present, this Dickens send-up is so offbeat and fun, Yule love it!
My thought: I’m pretty good with this one too. I love Bill Murray’s humor – Groundhog Day and What About Bob are among my favorite films. Plus, I have a soft spot for almost anything Dickens.
3. Miracle on 34th Street - (Moviefone description) If this ’47 classic doesn’t make you a Santa believer, nothing (especially the ’94 remake) will. It’s dark stuff for a Christmas flick — Kris Kringle is put on trail to determine if he’s legally insane — but the endgame (in which the US Postal Service saves the day!) is utterly heartwarming.
My thought: This is probably my spot for A Christmas Story (see #1), but ‘Miracle’ would likely still be in my top 15. I love it when he bops the psychologist on the head.
2. It’s A Wonderful Life - (Moviefone description) A tale of depression and almost-suicide doesn’t exactly scream “Christmas classic” — which is probably why Frank Capra’s flick flopped at the box office. But more than 30 years later, it endures as a beloved testament to everything Christmas embodies: family, friends and the joy of life.
My thought: This is a movie that really caught on with the advent of TV and a need to fill time during the Christmas holidays. Enough airplay and it became a classic. My son and I love it, my wife and daughter hate it – not much of a barometer to go by, because that is true of most movies in our home. ‘Wonderful Life’ is still in my top 10, but my number 2 is Moviefone’s number 16 – Die Hard. Nothing gets one in the holiday mood like terrorists/thieves battling the entire Los Angeles police force and FBI, but being brought down by one New York cop (well, he is played by Bruce Willis).
1. A Christmas Story - (Moviefone description) There’s nary a scene to forget in this near-perfect nostalgic look at where Americana and Christmastime meet. The story of a young boy’s epic quest to get his hands on a Red Ryder BB gun provides the hilarious backdrop for a timeless tale rife with family hijinks, frozen tongues and, of course, sex-oozing leg lamps.
My thought: I think it is a funny film and very well done, but not quite up to number one – maybe third. Watch for yourself on TBS on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it will make an annual 24 hour run. My number 1 is Moviefone’s number 11 - Alastair Sim as Scrooge in the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol.
Honorable Mention: Elf. (Moviefone description) Frank Ricard. Ron Burgundy. Ricky Bobby. They’re all unforgettable Will Ferrell personas, but the role he might be remembered for most in 50 years is Buddy the Elf (what’s your favorite color?) from ’03’s instant holiday classic. This non-stop laugher exemplifies all-ages entertainment.
My thought: Elf is on the edge and may very soon make it into my top five. It is humorous, charming, and very nearly innocent fun.