Hey guys, it’s that time of year again, my personal favorite time of year, it’s Christmas. I know that there’s a lot more than just Christmas going on this time of year, a multitude of different festivals and holidays celebrated by a multitude of faiths, but I grew up with Christmas, not even so much the religious aspect of the holiday, but I definitely appreciate that, but more so all the trappings of the holiday, the music, the food, the tv specials, and the movies. And I thought it’d be fun to go through a series of articles dedicated to this, my favorite of the holiday seasons, starting off with my personal Top Ten Favorite Christmas Movies. I know there’s going to be a lot I left off, but this is just my list, and I limited myself to 10, so without further adieu, let’s get this holiday party started.
10. Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
Now, most people’s picks for classic Christmas movies would be It’s A Wonderful Life, but I never was quite the biggest fan of that film. For my money you really can’t start off your Christmas right without the classic Miracle On 34th Street. There was a remake back in 1994 with David Attenborough playing the role of the Santa Claus on trial, but the original with Maureen O Hara and Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle just has that right amount of heart that gets you in the Christmas spirit.
9. The Santa Clause
We’re continuing this list with a personal favorite of mine, and my favorite Tim Allen movie where he’s not doing the voice of Buzz Lightyear. This movie is still entertaining to me no matter how many times I’ve seen it. The sequels were all pretty decent as well in my book, but you can’t really go wrong with the first one in the trilogy. Tim Allen nails the role of Scott Calvin, overworked businessman and his transformation into Santa Claus. I liked how they threw that twist in there, along with a Doctor Who like regeneration, just into a different person’s body for Santa that explains Santa’s “immortality” by assigning the next person with the role. It’s a very Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality type way of handling holiday mythology.
8. The Muppet Christmas Carol
This one might prove somewhat controversial, among some people I know at least, that this isn’t higher up on the list, but this is the best in my book version of the Christmas Carol story, overtaking Mickey’s Christmas Carol‘s spot. Michael Caine as Ebeneezer Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit, and the rest of the Muppet cast takes on familiar roles in this retelling of the classic Dickens novel. Some people prefer Alastair Sim as Scrooge, but for me, Michael Caine is the definitive Scrooge for my generation. (At least, proper Scrooge, as you’ll see later in the list).
It’s the most recent movie on my list, and it’s already 13 years old this year. Will Ferrel in John Favreau’s new Christmas classic, Elf. There’s so much to love about this movie, from the Rankin Bass special homage of an opening sequence, to just the sheer joy that Will Ferrell has as Buddy the Elf, to the chemistry between him and Zooey Deschanel, it’s a movie that will always put a smile on my face, any time I see it. No matter how many times I see it.
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Anyone growing up in the 1980s is well familiar with the Griswald family, and their many attempted vacations, from your standard road trip to Wally World, to a European Vacation, to their attempt at a Christmas get together, it always makes for pure comedy. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.
I still recall seeing this one in theaters, back in Christmas of 1988, I was 8 years old and a huge Bill Murray fan after Ghostbusters, as any proper child of the 1980s was. I loved the movie then, and even today I have to watch it at least once during the holidays, and it still holds up, still hilarious to this day. While Michael Caine may be the definitive Ebeneezer Scrooge in the classic sense, he’s got nothing on Bill Murray as greedy tv exec Frank Cross, who learns the meaning of Christmas in a very Dickensian fashion one Christmas Eve.
4. Love, Actually
Love, Actually is one of my favorite Christmas movies to watch this time of year. It was the first one of those multi character set romantic comedies set during a holiday that they tried to replicate with New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day, but they could never do it quite as good as this one. A fully loaded cast for this one too, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightly (she’s got range) Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Andrew Lincoln, Martin Freeman, Chiwetel Ejiofor… Just off the cast alone it’s worth checking out.
Where else can you see Rick from the Walking Dead pine for Elizabeth Swann who’s just married his best friend Karl Mordo? Or see Snape cheating on his wife Professor Trelawny.. Bill Nighy steals the movie though as aging rock star Billy Mack, trying to get one more Number 1 Christmas Hit on Top of the Pops.
I completely love this movie, and the only reason it’s not higher on the list is because of the movies that are coming up next in this countdown.
3. Die Hard
As the meme goes, there’s two kinds of people in this world, those that agree that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and there’s though that are wrong. It’s a holiday tradition for me to watch Die Hard at least once every Christmas. As selfish cop John McClane learns the true meaning of Christmas as he shares his gifts with Hans Gruber’s terrorists. The gifts of bullets of course, after all, now he has a machine gun, ho ho ho.
2. Home Alone
One of the best Christmas movies of all time in my book, Home Alone still holds up to this day, even though its premise is a bit dated, and a product of it’s time. Kevin McCalister is like a kid version of Jigsaw from the Saw movies meets Batman, all he needs is a little prep time and he can take down anything with slapsticky glory. I also cannot hear that version of White Christmas still to this day without thinking of the iconic aftershave scene. Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal.
- A Christmas Story
Believe it or not, this movie bombed at the box office when it was first released in 1983. How I don’t know. Because this movie is now shown for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve through Christmas Day here in the US on TBS. It’s got everything you could want in a Christmas movie, funny dialogue, iconic scenes such as the leg lamp, or Flick gets his tongue stuck to a pole…classic comedy. Drink Your Ovaltine? It doesn’t get much better than this movie.
So that’s my list. What do you guys think? Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to share this with your friends if you like the list. Stay tuned for more Holiday fun as we get closer to Christmas. If I don’t get to say it again, Happy Holidays to all my Reel Geek’s Guide readers worldwide.