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 is with number five…
5. Scrooged (1988)
A modern day twist on A Christmas Carol. Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross, a cynical and selfish TV executive who didn’t have such a very good childhood, and doesn’t appreciate the Christmas spirit too much. He then goes through the three Christmas spirits in order to change himself. In my opinion, this is one of Murray’s best performances, and we also get appearances from acting legends John Forsythe and Robert Mitchum, along with some neat cameos from Robert Goulet and Lee Majors. A Christmas movie that is good every single time I watch it.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
A guilty pleasure of my brother’s, I watched the movie as a kid and loved every minute of it. The king of Halloween Town, Jack Skellington, comes into Christmas Town, but it takes him a while to make the townfolk understand the concept. A lot of shenangians happen, and Santa’s captured as well, but I won’t ruin the rest. All I can say is Jack becomes a hero in the end. One of Tim Burton’s finest films to date, and it is worth seeing more than once.
3. A Christmas Story (1983)
There’s a reason both TNT and TBS have done 24 hours of this movie every Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. The classic true story about a young boy in rural Indiana who wants only one thing for Christmas: a Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock, and “this thing which tells time” (a sundial). Who can forget some of the great moments in the movie? The Scott Farcus affair, the countless “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out” responses from Ralphie’s mom, teacher, and even the mall Santa, and my favorite, the triple dog dare from Schwarz leading to Flick’s tongue getting stuck on a frozen pole. And then the moment arrived…Ralphie got the gun. Of course, the first shot led to his cracking his glasses and pulling off a good fib to his mom about how they broke. All in all, one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, Christmas movies of all time.
2. Home Alone (1990)
Wouldn’t you love to be home alone at the age of seven? Kevin McCalister sure did. Also one of my favorites, Maccullaly Culkin’s breakout role as he gets left home alone by the family after an incident the night before, and Christmas was just around the corner. Of course, with everyone away for the holidays, why not take a chance at breaking and entering and theft? That’s what Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern did as Harry and Marv, respectively, and what resulted was a barrel of laughs as the duo are outwitted by the young Kevin. Of the four sequels this spawned, I would only recommend the second one, and maybe the third (which featured a young Scarlett Johansson). In any event, if you have not seen Home Alone, you need to watch it. RIGHT NOW!
1. The Santa Clause (1994)
One of my all-time favorite movies. An ad executive stumbles across Santa on the roof, and Santa proceeds to fall off the roof. He decides to put on the suit and slowly evolves into Santa. He at first didn’t want to be Santa “What if I chose not to believe it?”, but soon he would cherish the role and would become a hero to not only the other elves, but his estranged son, Charlie. Tim Allen would take a break from his hit show Home Improvement to play the role of Scott Calvin/Santa Claus. One of Allen’s early movie roles as he gave a really nice performance. One of the best mainstream Christmas movies of all time.
Thank you for the opportunity to give my 5 cents worth on this amazing topic. I hope you all have enjoyed these movies and if you haven’t seen them, find a way to check them out as soon as you can! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
I’m a huge fan of Christmas movies. In fact my dvd collection for the holidays is pretty large. I try to watch as many as possible in the month leading up to Christmas. Narrowing it down to just five seems like an impossible task, however I am going to try.
5. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1985)
This is one that somebody has to mention. It’s a L. Frank Baum (of Wizard of Oz fame) story and a Rankin-Bass Production (Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer fame).
Where to start? This is going to be Santa Claus’ last Christmas Eve trip, so Ak (The Master Woodsman of the World) calls together the council of the Immortals to plead his cause that Claus should be made immortal.
From there we hear the story of Santa Claus. How he was found in the snow by Ak, who took him to Shiegra (a lioness) to care for. The Wood Nymph Necile steals the baby, because she was curious. Ak decides what is done is done and always Necile to care for the baby, but only with Shiegra there to protect him. So Santa Claus grows up in the forest of Burzee. Upon becoming a teenager, Ak takes Santa to see the world. He shows him everything that is horrible and afterwards Santa goes out into the Laughing Valley of Hohaho to make the world a better place along with Shiegra and his trusted Soun Imp Tingler.
More adventures follow Santa, he invent toys and gets his reindeer from Pter Knook. He faces challenges from the evil Awgwas and much more. This is the most bizarre Christmas story I have ever heard. A must see.
4. Elf (2003)
This one is my wife’s favourite and it has grown on me over the years. There are some issues with this, but too many great moments to pass up. The line “I am a human, raised by humans.” will remain one of the best lines in holiday film history.
3. Arthur Christmas (2011)
I saw this for the first time this year and it made me very happy. In this universe when Santa gets old he retires and his kid takes over. With this being the 70th year for the current Santa, it seems like he will retire and pick Steve (the son who basically runs Christmas now) to be the next Santa. However a terrible secret is found by Arthur (the bumbling other son), that a kid did not get their present.
Arthur and Papa Santa (the father of the current Santa) go on a mission to get that present delivered, old school style, with a sleigh and reindeer. Hilarity and drama and feelings continue from there. You probably knows where this goes and it does it very very well.
2. A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)
It’s a good old-fashioned Christmas down on the farm. A little over eating never did you no harm. Garfield was my favorite as a kid and I have no idea way. To this day I enjoy that fat mean cat.
This is everything you want in a Christmas special. Great songs and heart warming moments. When Odie gives Garfield his home-made present, I dare you not to be moved.
1. A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
This is the only really easy pick. So it’s a Christmas special where Fozzie is going to take everybody to his mother’s (Emily’s) farm for the Holidays. Just like when he was a little cub. Along the way is a large variety of running gags (watch your step) and appearances by the characters of Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and Muppet Babies. Heck, even Fred Penner shows up at the end to do the dishes.
Some of my favourite moments is the Swedish Chef wanting to cook Big Bird as the Holiday Turkey and during the ending medley of songs where everybody is signing along gleefully, in the background is Oscar the Grouch just looking grumpy. Not to mention that this piece of viewing perfection has the best Christmas song ever in it “Together at Christmas (Old Friends, New Friends).
Christmas is, by far my favorite holiday. As a kid I always looked forward to the “25 Days of Christmas” on ABC Family (or FOX Family, I think it was then). They show the same Christmas movies over and over, but I always loved them anyway. I’m not certain how many of my top movies were part of the “25 Days of Christmas,” but, at any rate, they should have been.
5. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Honestly, I don’t know if this is a Christmas movie or a Halloween movie. It was released on October 29, 1993, but it has Christmas in the title. So, I’m going with Christmas. I find myself frequently complaining about “hipsters”, but there are a few things that make me act them. Nightmare Before Christmas is one of them. When I was in high school this movie became really popular due to a rather large “goth” trend that hit my school. With it came a huge popularity of Jack Skellington and all things related to the movie. For me, this was already a favorite. I had been watching it since my dad got it on VHS for Christmas in 1994. Perhaps this is why I associate it more with Christmas. As a musical fan, I still enjoy the music. I still watch the movie from time to time, but it doesn’t have quite the same effect on me as it did when I was six. It is on my list solely for its nostalgic meaning in my childhood.
4. The Original Christmas Classics (Various) No, this isn’t the title of the movies, but rather a box set of children’s cartoons. This set includes: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Clause Is Coming to Town, Frosty The Snow Man, and The Little Drummer Boy. I had this set as a kid and I seem to remember it also having a movie about a cricket that I never watched. I included these all together because they are just short films for children and would have taken up the entire list otherwise. Unlike Nightmare Before Christmas, these never get old to me. I could watch these and sing along until I’m 90 and not be tired of them! I can’t wait to share these great classics with my future children. The Little Drummer Boy was always my favorite Christmas song growing up, as well. I don’t really think these are on here for nostalgic reasons because these are timeless classics that will be enjoyed by generations to come.
3. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989)I saw this movie for the first time last year. It is one of my husband’s favorites, so I was forced to watch it. Obviously it was worth it, since it made it on my list. This movie is HILARIOUS! I am not really sure what else can be said about this movie. It is a wonderful Christmas comedy. I am probably the only person over age four who had not seen this, but if you haven’t, I strongly recommend adding this one to your Christmas watch list!
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Dr. Seuss has always had a special place in my heart as I’m sure the same applies to most people who grew up with his books. There was a movie released in 2000 staring Jim Carey as the Grinch; I was not a fan. I just think in most cases you can’t beat the original. The 1966 version is perfect to me. It didn’t need all of the bells and whistles that the remake added. Another great classic!
1. Scrooged (1988)
Bill Murray and Kara Allen… Need I say more? Ok. Bobcat freakin’ Goldthwait. I may be the only person under 30 who even knows who Bobcat is. My dad had this movie recorded on VHS from HBO. We used to watch this from time to time, and I loved it! (Good wholesome movies, my dad and I used to watch.) I am certain this isn’t a nostalgia thing because children probably shouldn’t watch it anyway. This is a film based on a “Christmas Carol” theme. There are tons of Christmas Carol type movies to choose from, but this was my favorite. It is so funny, and as a kid, it was pretty scary. Bill Murray is hilarious and even though the story line involving Bobcat Goldthwait is pretty sad, he still makes it hilarious also. I haven’t seen this movie in years, but it may be time to break out the old VCR and give it a view.
First off, I need to say this was much tougher than I thought it would be. I didn’t realize how many Christmas movies I actually REALLY enjoy. Hard to cut a lot, but here are my honorable mentions: Jingle All The Way, The Nightmare Before Christmas and A Christmas Story. Oh yeah, and DIE HARD.
5. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
A genuine Christmas classic, I actually saw this for the first time just a few years ago. Prior to that, I always thought it seemed too long and boring (black and white? UGH) for my tastes – but I gave it a shot-and it’s a really good story. Even with its age, its story is timeless: All too often we see the negatives in life and dwell on that, and take for granted what we truly have, and also what we bring to the table. Feeling down this Christmas? Watch this movie!
4. Home Alone (1990)
Another one I try to watch every year around this time, Home Alone takes me back to my childhood. Every kid wanted to be Kevin McCallister, which is odd when you think about it, considering he’s being stalked by ruthless criminals throughout the movie. I probably don’t need to give you a summary of it, but if you’ve never seen it, here’s a LENGTHY review: A kid gets left home alone by mistake while his family goes on vacation and hi-jinx ensue. Full of laughs and heart, it’s a classic John Hughes film. Underrated part of this movie is how quotable it is: “Keep the change, ya filthy animal!”
3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Before Chevy Chase became a real life Scrooge, he was Clark W. Griswold. Some consider this the weakest of the three classic Vacation movies (let’s pretend Vegas Vacation never happened), but I have it ahead of European Vacation. This time, instead of the Griswolds hitting the road, they are home for the holidays…and family comes to visit. From Cousin Eddy to Aunt Bethany, the cast of characters really shines and it’s not just the Clark Show in this one. It’s hard to decide what my favorite scene is – Clark’s futile attempt to light up the house? The squirrel in the tree? Sledding?
2. Elf (2003)
Sometimes a great movie isn’t so much a great story as it is a great character. The movie itself is pretty simple: A baby that was raised in the North Pole grows up and learns he isn’t an elf, and decides to meet his real family. If anyone other than Ferrell played this part, it may be a total flop, but Buddy the Elf comes to life thanks to Will’s child like portrayal. I saw this in the theaters and dragged my wife who thought it looked stupid, and she laughed until she cried more than once. And it’s family friendly! My kids love it as much as I do!
1. Scrooged (1988)
Perhaps the most classic Christmas story is “A Christmas Carol”, and it’s been retold a LOT. But this is my favorite version of it. Bill Murray plays Frank Cross (and not Ebeneezer Scrooge), a TV executive determined to put on a live adaptation of Dickens’ Christmas Carol (woah, how meta). The problem is Cross is cynical and greedy and doesn’t have any true Christmas spirit. Thanks to a visit from some ghosts, he learns. It’s funny, clever and leaves you all warm and fuzzy inside by the end. And if you don’t sing along with “Put a Little Love in Your Heart?” at the end credits, you are dead inside. Merry Christmas PTBN!