December 13, 2017

More Favorite Christmas Movies

By Chaplain Mike

Jeff, as usual, presented a good, well-defended list of Christmas movies yesterday. One of these days he’s going to make me do a “list” post first so that he can have the last word.

Until then . . .

Movies on Jeff’s List with which I agree completely . . .

  • A Christmas Story
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Elf
  • Holiday Inn/White Christmas

If I were making my list first, White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life would be #2 and #1 respectively. The other three would be honorable mention. I am not as familiar with a couple on his list (Christmas in Connecticut, the George C. Scott Christmas Carol). I’ve seen a few parts of Polar Express, but not enough to have a strong opinion. And I haven’t liked any of the Narnia movies, though the BBC series was OK. In contrast to my good friend, I do happen to be a huge fan of Christmas Vacation, which just proves what a juvenile, crass, shallow person I am.

Let me point you to a few others that I have enjoyed, some of which make my top five.

The Santa Clause/Santa Clause 2. I’m not a normally a fan of “Santa” stuff, but we’ve enjoyed these family films which take on the subject. Tim Allen is a winsome actor and the story has genuine human interest. The scene in the second movie where Allen saves the school staff Christmas party by handing out favorite gifts from each person’s childhood is one of my favorites. And you gotta love Art LaFleur as the Tooth Fairy.

Scrooge. I like most of the “Christmas Carol” variations, but here I will mention the 1970 musical version starring Albert Finney as the crotchety old coot who is transformed through encounters with visiting spirits. Though the exuberant song, “Thank You Very Much,” is about the only memorable number, the whole thing ends up working as a musical because the characters are played so well.

Prancer. An intelligent children’s movie about a spunky little girl who rescues a reindeer (believing it to be one of Santa’s), hides him, and tries to nurse him back to health. In the process, the film depicts real, strong-minded people struggling to make a hard life work for themselves and each other. Sam’s Elliott and Rebecca Harrell give wonderful performances as the beleaguered father and resourceful daughter who learn about the hope Christmas can bring.

One Magic Christmas. This is our family’s favorite Christmas movie. A young household struggles in hard economic times and the wife takes it especially hard. As in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” an unusual angel engineers events to teach this discouraged, hope-deprived woman the meaning of Christmas and to restore hope and joy to her and her family. Mary Steenburgen plays the mom, and Harry Dean Stanton is the angel Gabriel (no, not that Gabriel). He’s a little creepy in his trench coat and hat, but he does good magic for everyone involved.

Comments

  1. There’s a lot to be said about juvenile, crass and shallow…I don’t know if any of it is good, but there is a lot to be said…

    Right, Clark?

  2. A hearty second to those Santa Clause movies. Part 3, alas, suffers from the absence of Head Elf Bernard, but even it has its moments.

  3. Sleazy the Dwarf says:

    I vote for “Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Bad Santa.”

  4. I’m glad Prancer was on the list. One of my favorites. When versions of A Christmas Carol come up, I’d vote for the 1951 version with Alastair Sim, a classic, and the definitive Scrooge.

    Another version I like is the made for TV movie “A Carol Christmas” which is recast in a TV talk show.

    An American Christmas Carol starring Henry Winkler is great.

    There’s a charming movie out called Blizzard voicing Whoopi Goldberg as a wayward reindeer who teaches the meaning of friendship in the Christmas spirit.

  5. My sincere personal opinion is that It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story” stand alone, and when you start looking for a third you might as well include “Lethal Weapon” or “the Long Kiss Goodnight.” Fred Astaire’s dancing was simply the CGI of the ’50s — the overused gimmicky fad of the day.

    But then, this link takes you to a few more titles to consider:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/17/christmas-movie-poster-spoofs_n_797878.html#s209439

  6. I don’t watch many movies and I don’t do a good job of reviewing them, but ‘Millions” is a delightful film. If you have never seen it, you really should check it out.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0366777/

    The events happen during the Christmas season, but it is a story about finding out who we really are.

  7. My vote is Bad Santa and Christmas Vacation….

    That reminds me I need to go shopping 😀

  8. David Cornwell says:

    “A Christmas Story” definitely at the top of my list.

  9. What? No “Die Hard”?

  10. I should be drummed out of here in disgrace, because first I didn’t have any favourite album of Christmas music, and now I don’t have any favourite Christmas film.

    I must be a grinch or something 🙂

    The nearest I’d have is the old standby that was shown and re-shown every single Christmas when I was a child; the 1971 Gene Wilder original version of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.

    I’ve seen mostly all the other films you guys mention (except for “Christmas Vacation” and “Elf” and a couple others) and while I’ve enjoyed them, I can’t say I’d sit down and re-watch them.

    No, not even “It’s A Wonderful Life”. I just never got into watching movies on tv all Christmas Day.

  11. No Martha, don’t leave! We need you to balance those of us who are juvenile, crass, and shallow.

  12. Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
    OK, I know this isn’t a Christmas movie, but rather a Thanksgiving movie that can resonate just as well during Christmas holiday travels.

  13. Elf is my favorite. Mixed Nuts is hilarious, but rarely gets mentioned as a Christmas movie.

  14. what…no Charlie Brown Christmas on this list??? Maybe it’s too short to be considered a movie but it’s definitely a must see every year!

  15. Just ordered from Amazon one of my favorites from my childhood; The House Without a Christmas Tree, made for TV in 1972 starring Jason Robards as a grieving widower who refuses to allow his daughter to celebrate Christmas. Definitely a classic, can’t wait to watch it again.

    Also, no one has mentioned the 1971 made for TV movie The Homecoming which was the pilot for “The Waltons” series and stars Patricia Neal as Olivia Walton. This is a wonderful film and a must watch for our family on Christmas Eve night!