Go-to Christmas movies? Oh, I've got a few
It's hard to fathom that Christmas is just around the corner. I'm still trying to figure out where September and October went – and here we are rumbling toward the end of December.
But that's okay, I'm a full-on Christmas fanatic, so dialing up Christmas music before November and pondering how early to get "White Christmas" in the queue is nothing strange for me. I don't just like Christmas, I commit to it fully.
And like any good Christmas-ophile, part of the ride is jumping on that old TV/Movie bandwagon each year to dial up my favs. Oh, and I've got some favorites.
By now, the family can probably recite my go-to Christmas season watching list by heart. Oh, I don't mind filtering in some Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Christmas shows as well. I mean, they draw from the same 3-4 premises, but that's fine. It's feel-good television and I'm just fine with that, particularly this time of year. If you're going to believe in the magic of Christmas, and I do, some Hallmark action fits right into that.
However light and frothy those entertainment offerings are, I do have some heavy hitters that are always on my viewing list – and often are viewed multiple times. If you're like me, the anticipation of watching these shows every year grows as December dawns.
So, with that introduction, here's a look at some of my favorite viewing options during the Christmas season – and why? So, here you go.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – This 2000 live action movie features Jim Carrey at his overacting best. Now, my sister annually gives me crap about turning from the pure faith of Grinchdom, the 1966 animate version. Let me be clear – my reverence for the work of Dr. Seuss, Boris Karloff and the singing joy of Thurl Ravenscroft, is unflappable. I love it, truly.
However, the live action version has carved out a wonderfully fun spot in my heart and as of this writing, I've watched it three times already. What can I say, the work of Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Molly Shannon, Clint Howard and crew just delivers the holly jolly folly within me.
Christmas Vacation – This Chevy Chase vehicle continues to be a gem of a Christmas show as it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The disaster that is the oldtime family Christmas get-together that Clark Griswold presides over is never a snooze as the disasters continue to provide enjoyment.
One of the great support characters in all of Christmas movie-dom is also a gem in this one. Cousin Eddie slays it through the work of Randy Quaid. Never boring, always entertaining.
White Christmas – My Christmas season is officially kicked off when I pull this 1954 gem out each year – usually earlier and earlier. Featuring Danny Kaye, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, this is probably my all-time favorite Christmastime movie. The music is spot-on, the acting works for me, there's dancing, romancing and, in the end, a moment that always makes me tear up. It will be viewed in my home many times.
A Christmas Carol – Now, there are many iterations of this timeless classic, but my "go-to" is the Sir Patrick Stewart version from 1999. Yes, Captain Picard as Ebeneezer Scrooge is an interesting viewing pleasure, but Stewart pulls it off. Full disclaimer, I also enjoy the George C. Scott version, the Muppet offering, and the animated (Jim Carrey) version. So, for some reason, this story does it for me at Christmas time.
Emmett Otter's Jug-Band Christmas – This is a gem of a Christmas show, one that is somewhat hard to come by. It's rarely on TV and when I run into someone that's familiar with it, it's like a comic con moment of excitement. This is from 1977 and created by the great Jim Henson. It's a muppet-based Christmas show with a wonderful message and some fun, catchy songs. I'm a huge fan of Henson (See Dark Crystal), so this appealed to me as a youngster and it hasn't vanished. If you can find it, watch it.
Oh, those aren't the only ones, but they are the Christmas shows that kind of tickle my fancy. A new one from last year, Christmas Chronicles, has entered the picture. It stars Kurt Russell, an actor I have been a fan of for decades, and features a feel-good message in a fun way.
Looks like it will be jumping into the annual viewing list this year. A few more shows that tickle my Christmas fancy are Noelle (Netflix), A Christmas Story, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Rudophy the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Yukon Cornelius, what an actor).
Hey, let's have some fun. Here's a few of my least favorite movies: Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, Elf, and Frosty the Snowman.
I know, some of that is sacrilege, right? What can I say, they just don't do much for me. Sorry.
Like I said, Christmas works for me on many levels. If you read my column from a few weeks ago, you know a little about why. It has been fun to see people's better angels emerging, and the works that those moments help create in people's lives.
I don't think it's any small stretch to say that one of the things that helps in that is a good Christmas show that offers messages of hope, help, redemption, love, caring, giving, sharing, and a nice song or two.
Those are messages that matter and I like seeing them and feeling them from a Christmas movie or show. I like to know they are still valued in a world run amok with cynicism, distrust, and a general lack of discernment regarding right and wrong, truth and falseness, help and helplessness.
So, there you have it, a look at what I'm watching this holiday season. What's you're go-to holiday movie?
Are you a Hallmark disciple, by chance? Enjoy it and the Christmas season. Blessings to all.
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