Holiday Five Count: PTBN’s Favorite Christmas Movies

Ho ho ho! It is time for the PTBN staff to gather to share with you their favorite Christmas films of all time! We have put together a robust list with some interesting choices. So, let us waste no time in getting right to the holiday cheer! Enjoy the show!


Justin Rozzero

Wow, there are a lot of great Christmas movies and is killing me to leave some of them off, including Muppets Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story, Polar Express and The Santa Clause, but when you only have five to work with, you have to make some cuts. So, here are my top five!

5. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

There is a lot of nostalgia baked into this choice as it was one of the earliest movies we taped when it aired on TV and my sister and I watched it constantly, year round. It is the best Ernest film as he is locked in and at the height of his Ernest powers at this point. When Santa Claus realizes that the movie Joe Caruthers is starring in, Christmas Slay, is a horror flick and not a wholesome family movie, the reaction and fallout is great. Plus…Mr. Santos! And it has the old lady from Police Academy 4 that we all know and love. The capper is the creepy smile the elf gives on the sleigh at the end when the master plan is unfolding. This one is just a lot of fun and will also be held in high regard in the Rozzero home for the hours of entertainment it provided.


4. Elf (2003)

As soon as this one hit theaters it became an instant holiday classic. Buddy the Elf is arguably one of Will Ferrell’s greatest characters in a career filled with them. He dove so damn deep into that role that the believability of his childlike innocence and ignorance is off the charts. It is hard to find a movie with such an innocent, pure romance involved, but Buddy and Jovie nailed it. And of course, who can forget their duet of Baby, It’s Cold Outside in the shower? Magical. Almost as awesome as the World’s Greatest Cup of Coffee. If you don’t find Elf enjoyable, then you sir or ma’am belong on the naughty list. Now…call me an elf one more time!

3. Just Friends (2005)

This may be the best Christmas movie you have never heard of. Or maybe you have? I just know I don’t see or hear many talking about it. Ryan Reynolds hasn’t had a lot of box office celebration lately, but he was fantastic here as fatty turned hotty Chris Brander, the name dropping, opulent, materialistic music industry hotshot. Despite having the gorgeous, and batshit insane, Samantha James – perfectly portrayed by the delightful Anna Farris – grabbing his candy cane at every turn, Chris’s one weakness is his high school crush: Jamie Palamino. When his plane to Europe is forced to take a detour to New Jersey, he is forced to spend Christmas at home, a nightmare to his still tortured teenage soul. Oh, did I mention that Jamie is played by Amy Smart? Amy Smart and Anna Farris in the same movie? Yup. All of the secondary casting is tremendous here as well with Christopher Marquette as Chris’s horned up brother, Stephen Root as the megalomaniac record label owner and an out of nowhere fantastic performance from Chris Klein as Dusty Dinkleman, who steals every scene he is in. The Christmas feel is woven fantastically throughout this one, as it fades in and out and makes you feel like you are right at home celebrating the holidays in the suburbs along with the Branders. My year (or month) isn’t complete without watching this one. DINKLEMAN! F this…I’m mobile.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

These top two movies are really 1-A and 1-A, but if I am forced to rank, then this is how I am going, which may be a shock. Christmas Vacation is about as perfect as a pure Christmas comedy movie can be. The entire Vacation series is pretty damn great, but this is easily the star. It has a loaded cast and main stars clearly comfortable in their roles at this point. All Clark Griswold wants is to deliver a happy, merry, jolly Christmas for his family, but just about everything and anything goes wrong along the way. His slow meltdown over the course of the movie is a joy to watch and few could have played the role as well as Chevy Chase. Toss is a brilliant showing by Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie and you have more laughs than you can handle. The well-known Eddie scenes are great, but it is also the subtle ones that make him such a complete character, such as when he slams the giant bag of dog food into the carriage and breaks all the merchandise underneath or when he goes to spin the little wooden decoration and breaks it apart. And of course “shitter’s full” is an all time line as well. And every year that I am hanging up those fucking annoying Christmas lights, Clark is always on my mind. This is a must watch each and every Christmas season. Now, let’s go get lunch…I need to eat…so I can take my back pill!

1. Home Alone (1990)

I don’t know how anybody can leave this one off their list. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and one I could watch in full at any time of the year. I saw it in the theater in 1990 and have loved it ever since. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the Wet Bandits was tremendous casting and they take some great bumps throughout the movie, selling beautifully for that little bastard Kevin McAllister. Plus we get Buzz’s girlfriend, Angels with Filthy Souls, the Jingle Bell Rock cardboard cutout party and a great cameo from John Candy, the leader of the Kenosha Kickers, basically reprising his role from Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Polka…polka, polka. This movie has a permanent place on my DVR so I can fire it up and enjoy the mayhem at any time. A true classic and the greatest Christmas movie of all time!


Derek Cornett

Christmas is a joyous time of year and nothing says Merry Christmas like a great Christmas movie. There are so many greats and of course the sub category of movies that have a little Christmas theme in them. For the Trading Places, Die Hards, and Rocky Vs out there, the Christmas theme is hidden in the story. On my Five Count this month, I only follow that mold once and that I with number five.

5. Love Actually (2003)

The quintessential ensemble cast to go along with some intertwined stories and of course CHRISTMAS! I won’t go too far in-depth with the story, but it is a great date movie and has an awesome Billy Bob cameo. The story of coming together for the holidays and how everyone interprets this holiday differently is the major focus of the story and comes together with some interesting British twists. The acting is very good and the message is clear about what love actually is.

4. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)

I have watched this movie at least 50 times over the past 27 years, yes that means I have watched it at least twice multiple times. Ernest is such an amazing character and really something kids are missing nowadays. I showed this movie to the kids I worked with in residential treatment and they just loved it. I showed them subsequent Ernest films, to which some were scared of the trolls, but who isn’t? Ernest’s quest to save Christmas is legendary and will live on in many circles, know what I mean Verne?

3. A Christmas Carol (1939)

There are so many versions of this movie but this has always been my favorite. I still have the VHS underneath my television and will bust it out once a year to watch the story of Scrooge. I have seen so many versions and this one just trumps the rest due to Scrooge and of course Tiny Tim. Alastair Sim may be the most famous Scrooge, but Terry Kilburn was a great Tiny Tim. This is a classic retelling of one of the most famous Christmas stories of all time… BAH HUMBUG!

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

How could a list be complete without Clark and the Griswolds? For as amazing as the original Vacation movie was, I think Chevy Chase relaxes a little bit in this flick and the rest of the cast steps up their game. “Shitter’s full.” Catch my drift? Cousin Eddie steals the show and without a shadow of a doubt provides a ribbon on this grand present that is Christmas Vacation. William Hickey’s Uncle Lewis is an awesome bow to go along with this present. “If that cat had nine lives, she spent em all.” Caught on yet? This is an amazing film that can be watched at any point in the year, but is best served with some eggnog over cooked turkey!

1. Bad Santa (2003)

“I’m an eating, drinking, shitting, fucking Santy Claus.” Gosh, this movie has every emotion for me. I want to first off say that I love JOHN RITTER!  He was such an amazing actor and his role in this movie is so incredible. It really does bring a tear to my eye to see him and know that he dies soon after this film. Sniff. Back to business, “You probably shouldn’t be digging in your ass.” This movie is full of quotes and if you haven’t seen it, just step outside the box and let yourself be entertained with something so vein and vile that it is hilarious. This has got a great cast and the Kid is a sympathetic loser that you just fall in love with. Billy Bob as Santa is without a doubt completely against the grain. He is so far away from the mold that other Santa’s are created from that he sets himself apart in a big way.


Jen Engle

Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving for me, and not a second before. Every year, the stores start decorating for the holidays earlier and earlier, and every year I am very vocal about how upset I am about this. What I don’t say, is that I can’t wait until I can watch the Christmas themed movies I’ve listed below. It doesn’t feel right watching them before Thanksgiving to me, and in past years I’ve watched my number one movie that very night.

5. A Christmas Story (1983)

“You’ll poke your eye out!” is probably one of the most repeated movie lines on Christmas day by my family. It’s on cable for 24 hours straight and we’ll pick it up in the middle at some point and continue to watch it on and off until it stops playing. It’s a classic, and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that has seen it and not enjoyed this film (Editor’s Note: That heathen Chad Campbell hates it). It also teaches kids what happens if you lick a frozen flag pole or what it’s like to have your mouth washed out with soap.

4. Elf (2003)

“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” Will Ferrell is a full-grown, human elf named Buddy straight from the North Pole, what more do you need to know? James Caan plays Buddy’s father, who just happens to be on the naughty list, and Buddy sets off from the North Pole to finally meet him. There are plenty of quotable lines and Buddy even has a love interest, played by Zooey Deschanel. This movie and Christmas go together like spaghetti and maple syrup.

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Confession, I’m watching this one as I type. I LOVE the Muppets. This movie was the first Muppet Project after Jim Henson’s death and Gonzo and Rizzo narrate the Dickens tale with some Muppets flair. Michael Caine portrays an excellent Ebenezer Scrooge, and pretty much every Muppet makes an appearance; from Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit and Sam the Eagle as Scrooge’s former headmaster to Fozzie Bear as his former boss. I don’t want to give away too much, but when Beaker give Scrooge the bird, I laugh every time.

2. Just Friends (2005)

Nothing quite says “Friend-Zoned” like a day date and a kitten themed t-shirt proclaiming you to be “Friends Furrrrever!” Just Friends is one of my all-time favorite movies, and it just so happens to be Christmas themed which makes it even better in my book. Anna Faris plays a perfect Samantha James, a crazy budding pop star, and Ryan Reynolds is the formerly fat Chris Brander who was forever friend zoned by his high school best friend, Jamie. Jamie’s rejection in high school scarred Chris for life, and running into her while accidentally home for the holidays brings back all his old feelings for her. And because Anna Faris and Ryan Reynolds are both fantastic at physical comedy, hilarity ensues. I can probably recite this movie line for line and this is the only movie on this list that I will watch anytime of the year. And fellas, if you are ever afraid that you’ve been friend zoned – watch this movie. It’ll help clear that right up.

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Without a doubt, this is my favorite Christmas movie. I’ve already watched it a couple of times this season. Clarke and Ellen are back and are hosting Christmas for their families. Of course just about everything that could possibly goes wrong does, and then some. Rusty and Audrey are portrayed by a young Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis, bringing their trademark snark and sarcasm to the roles. Cousin Eddie rides into town in a “tenement on wheels” and wreaks havoc wherever he goes. Clarke is on a mission to make sure “…we’re gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby danced with Danny Fucking Kaye.” There are plenty of laughs and even some heartwarming lessons to be learned. If you haven’t seen this movie, move out from under the rock you’ve been under and watch it. You will be glad you did.