Next post from me is about my chosen Christmas films. I’ve arranged them in alphabetical order cos I like alphabetical order (don’t judge me). These are mostly films that I own and have established watching at Christmas. For explanation – A Christmas Story may be regarded as much better than at least one of the films on my list but I’ve only seen it once so this year will be only it’s second viewing. That’s not enough of a routine for me.
I didn’t think that I’d enjoy this. It’s a film all about Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel being kooky. And yet, it sneaks up on you. Even my parents (the grinchiest people I know) find themselves enjoying it. Now THAT’S a mark of a great Christmas film.
The Family Stone
Hear me out. I am well aware that it’s not a great film. But you can’t deny a great cast. It’s got Diane Keaton. I adore Diane Keaton. I want her to be part of my family. Then there’s Mr Incredible himself, Craig T. Nelson. Luke Wilson – things are generally improved by the presence of a Wilson brother. Clare Danes pre-Homeland. Rachel McAdams – just brilliant. Dermot Mulroney post-Friends. And more actors that belong in that “I’ve seen them somewhere before” box. (FYI, Brian White was in The Cabin in the Woods.) The cast wins me over. The story is kind of predictable and annoying (bits of it at least), some moments make it difficult for you to feel sympathy for any of the characters but some parts actually start to break my heart if I’m feeling less “dead inside” than usual. Those (and the comedy moments) are what keep my watching. Give it a go – just once. Keaton deserves that.
The first time I saw Gremlins I was about eleven or twelve and stumbled upon it on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve at about 3 in the afternoon. This film is rated 15. I think I was pretty interested in how a 15 film was put on casually on the afternoon. Especially Christmas Eve afternoon. But I was hooked. I loved it. And I’ve never really liked “scary films”. When I was at uni my house (in each of our three years there) would have Christmas films for the lead up. I insisted on the inclusion of Gremlins. I forced one housemate to watch it for three years – she doesn’t hate it but she doesn’t love it. Another housemate avoided it until our final year, then admitted that it was great. So I claim a win for that, and sick enjoyment that my other housemate felt forced to watch it. But I reiterate that it’s a great film. And especially a great unexpected Christmas film. And the Gremlins score is pretty great.
It’s a Wonderful Life
I haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life that many times – I know, blatant hypocrite including this after my first statement. But you can’t not include It’s a Wonderful Life. This film definitely made me tear up when I saw it at the Prince Charles Cinema last year (as a double bill with the original Miracle on 34th Street). The film is just wonderful and I can’t wait to watch it every Christmas from now until…death, I guess. Sorry.
Miracle on 34th Street
When the Richard Attenborough 1994 version came out I was 6. This film was on every Christmas time from then on. I grew up with this film. Last year was the first time seeing the 1947 version. It is brilliant. But I can’t help still loving the 1994 version – if only for nostalgia. And Attenborough will always be Kris Kringle to me, sorry John Hammond.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
It’s the Muppets. Doing Charles Dickens. And Michael Caine plays Scrooge. Waldorf and Statler are Marley and Marley. I’m done here. Watch it.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
This is another classic Christmas film that people grew up with. Not me. I missed all of these classic films. I 100% blame my parents. (I only watched The Goonies five or so years ago when my friends made me watch it. I didn’t even grow up with The Goonies.) So when I finally watched The Nightmare Before Christmas I wasn’t convinced. I was an idiot back then. I continued to watch it, convinced that I’d get it eventually. I did. And, as with Gremlins, got my housemates to watch it. Now they’re fans too. Good job me.
Now I include some honourable mentions:
I bought Die Hard last year. I haven’t watched it yet. I have seen it…it’s just been a while (please don’t hurt me Sarah). I WILL watch it this Christmas, but it’s not quite a routine for me yet.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
I LOVE this film. I watch it all year round. But, it IS set at Christmas so why not include it. The dialogue is great, it’s a murder mystery, it breaks the fourth wall, it stars Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer (AMAZING as Gay Perry) and Michelle Monaghan. I love them all. Watch it. Plus, it’s totally noir-ish. Sexy.
So I haven’t included some classics. Probably because I shamefully haven’t seen them. This year I intend to re-watch Home Alone and to watch: Holiday Inn, White Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and Meet Me in St Louis. Wish me luck!