My Personal top 10 List, Plus Extras.
The snow is falling, the air is cold, and I have just baked my um-teeth loaf of pumpkin bread, it must be Christmas. Not until I have watched and laughed and shed a tear on my cinematic trip to Holiday Mecca, the Christmas Movie, are the holidays official. The kids walk in and out of each different showings, enjoying their favorites and shaking their head at some of my choices (mostly based on music, There’s the Rub) while my wife laughs mostly at me as I giggle uncontrollably. Yes, I have skipped the serious hold a place in your heart and learn something about yourself and your fellow man movies. I am watching and laughing because life is too short to spend it all wrapped up in an unbending itchy saddle blanket of momentousness. During these shows, it is all about smiling and feeling good. (Don’t worry, there is plenty of saddle blanket for everyone.)
Elf – If you’re looking for a movie that is “Full of It”, you have found it. One of my favs, Elf is good-natured, light-hearted family comedy at its best. Witty writing alongside the contorting physical comedy of Will Ferrell is charming. As with most Christmas films, the plot of saving Christmas and “believing” is in there somewhere. I personally enjoy the laugh.
A Christmas Story - The coup de grace of all Christmas movies, the sinister triple-dog-Christmas movie if you will, if you miss it you’ll shoot your eye out. Nostalgic, humorous with the slightest tasting of the dark side this holiday perineal is the quintessential go to. One liner after one liner quoted daily in the Haggard household pay homage when not from the perfect vernacular lineage.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – The darkest of the finalist, but only because Black Christmas was scary in the wrong way, Nightmare reflects well my families non-traditional view of Christmas, second only to Christmas vacation. This, in fact, is the movie we are watching as I write. Multitasking like Tim Burton shooting a Play-Dough documentary, I watch, write and still have plenty of commentary for those wishing to enjoy in silence.
Muppet Christmas Carol – So truth, when I was a kid I couldn’t stand Muppets. Then, Muppet Treasure Island happened and I was sold. Not only did MTI have an enormous impact on my life, helping me to question the status quo, and also to seek a deeper understanding of my connection with the universe, but also to enjoy humor for humor's sake. MCC (Muppet Christmas Carol) cut the crap and handed me a laugh, delving deep into the murky waters at the mushier end of the swimming pool, MCC pulls humor from Michael Caine’s brilliant delivery without stepping on his dramatic connotations.
Rodolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – This bad boy finds its way to the DVD on weekend campouts in the summer! Why you ask? Because it ROCKS!!! Not a day passes that I doubt belch out “Why am I such a MISFIT!” And tell me you haven’t heard me scream “I Want to be a Dentist!” Granted, I hang out with a couple dentists and I never cease to chuckle at the utterance. For the record, I give honorable mention to all the politically charged, mind washing, “Kidizen-Kane” stop motion from the 60s and 70s. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, The Little Drummer Boy, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, Jack Frost and The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow. Skip the couple made in the 80s, they were crap.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation - Sadly, I laugh at this show because it resembles my life in so many ways, I had to compare my journal entries to the movie script for plagiarism. Perhaps that is why the Vacation series is so popular, it pokes us where we hurt. Each and every one of us and our families feels a Lil’ bit Griswold every now and then. And though I rank this as the “Holy Grail” (see what I did there) of Christmas movies and tradition, for the love of all things Lampoon would RV Salesmen realize “Holiday Road” is not the required soundtrack on YouTube!
Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss is the man. I tend to watch several Seuss’ at each sitting, Christmas or not, but the Grinch is the one which is never forgot. The newer Grinch with Jim Carey gets an honorable mention, not as a replacement but rather a supplemental film to the master.
Scrooged – I know, you are shaking your head, but… Bill Murray.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – The “Christmas Story” of the cartoon genre, CB and the gang embark in one of the earliest Peanuts cartoons. Holding fast to the same sacred undertones of lessons learned in A Christmas Story, Snoopy, and the group query the realization of the over-commercialization of Christmas.
Star Wars – Yes the entire library, watched in a binge session with popcorn, food, drink and the occasional nap, don’t worry you won’t lose the plot. Not a Christmas movie? Are you Nuts? Where else do you find the powers of good and evil battling to free the oppressed, where individuals sacrifice for the agency of others? Where else can you find teddy bears alongside great mechanical beasts touting the commercialization of something pure? Talk about being part of something bigger, that is the core theme in all the Star Wars movies, we are all a part. How about elegant weaponry, you bet, a “light saber”, talk about a tribute to “truth” and “faith.” Each of us has a part to play and even the purest pod racer can fall, but there is always time for redemption, you just have to throw an emperor off a railing and into an energy pit of some sort.
Alrighty then, I have to get on my Christmas Sleigh for an outing and I have hundreds more hours of intense Christmas Movie Marathon left, so I will wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and offer you some Pumpkin Bread if I happen to see you ;)