Friday Film Review: Christmas Favorites
Since it’s Christmas today I thought I’d mention some favorite movies and TV shows of mine that it’s just not the holidays unless I’ve seen them. I’ll start off with the original “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” because it’s just not Christmas without the Grinch, Max, and the Whos of Whoville including little Cindy Lou Who. The Grinch is a character “with garlic in his soul” who finally learns the true meaning of Christmas and that it doesn’t come from a store in packages, boxes or bags.
Then there’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” with poor Charlie Brown picking the smallest and dinkiest Christmas tree of all time while Snoopy wins the neighborhood house decorating contest. It ends with Linus telling a simple rendition of the Christmas story to again remind every one of the true meaning of the holiday.
A story that I didn’t see on it’s initial release, or for years after, but which has become a favorite is “A Christmas Story” in which all Ralphie wants for Christmas is a BB gun and what he, initially, gets is a horrible pink bunny costume from his aunt. And oh, the horrible “leg” lamp his father wins and proudly displays in the family living room window until it’s “accidentally” smashed. I remember the days when all I cared about was that one perfect toy. Now, I hope I care more about the actual reason for all the hoopla.
“Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” takes me way back. Back to the days when I was just as scared by the Abominable Snowman as were Rudolph and Clarice. I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows most of the dialogue by heart and can sing along with all the songs sung by Burl Ives.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a classic. It never fails to warm my heart to see just how much one man can change the world around him even if he thinks his life has little meaning. When the town rallies to George Bailey’s aid, I always wipe a tear or two away.
Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland are sublime in the 1977 rendition of his production of “The Nutcracker.” Fabulous dancers and magnificent music makes a happy Jayne.
“Joyeux Noel” is a more recent addition to my holiday favorites and depicts a truce which occurred over Christmas 1914 during WWI. For a short time, there was a cessation of the carnage as the two sides met together. Unfortunately, their superiors make several of the officers pay the price for these actions. A sad testimony to what they felt was important.
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Yes, I admit it, I’m a fan of two of the Griswold movies and this is one of them. Silly? Yes. A parody of much that is the modern American celebration of Christmas? You bet. Funny enough to still make me laugh out loud at times. It certainly is.
“Holiday Affair” with Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh is a little known film from 1949 when stores still sent out spies to suss out the competion’s pricing. Pretty war widow Leigh’s actions cost Mitchum his job but a romance ensues which suits her son who doesn’t like her other suitor. This is a quiet but sweet story which again shows Mitchum can play a good guy.
“Scrooged” is Bill Murray as, who else?, the man who needs to learn the true meaning of Christmas and survive some ghostly visits. It’s dark comedy and I know I need some of that to spice up the gooey sweetness.
If you haven’t tried the brilliant “The Nightmare Before Christmas” do please. It’s claymation, it’s fantastic, it’s a horror film crossed with a musical fantasy and it’s not to be missed.
Okay, I’ll stop here and invite everyone to list their favorites and comment on mine. “Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas” and “Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze! Welcome Christmas, Come this way!”