Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 Christmas Movies

Christmas one week away and what better to get us in the Christmas spirit than a Top 10 List of the best Christmas movies. Christmas is always a special time and a usually every year a new Christmas film releases, so there is no shortage of films to choose from. So here we go....

10. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
How could it not be on the list! It's a Wonderful Life is a epidemy of a perfect Christmas movie. In one of James Stewarts most memorable roles as George Bailey, he warms the heart everytime you watch and is always a staple for watching around Christmas time. The black and white version, is the only one worth watching and its length generally puts you to sleep if started late enough, but none the less, It's a Wonderful Life is always a joy to watch each and every Christmas.

9. White Christmas (1954)
They sure do not make Christmas movies like White Christmas anymore. For that matter there are not any actors out there that match what Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye brought in this singing and dancing Christmas spectacular that delights fans of musicals every viewing. White Christmas is a simple enough story, but it always brings a smile and Danny Kaye is sure to resurrect laughter in his hi-jink filled performance. Crosby who has a catalog of Christmas albums all his own shines here also and his scenes together with Kaye rival that of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in some of their more memorable moments.

8. The Santa Clause (1994) a time when Tim Allen still had his dignity and hadn't yet become Disney's bitch. The Santa Clause is a comic and delightful Christmas story of an unspecting father who unwillingly becomes Santa Clause. The original film was an inventively fun story that was unlike any other Christmas movie before it. Tim Allen remains hilarious in the first film, especially watching his transformation into jolly old Saint Nick. One of my favorite moments is when Allen is sitting at a park bench and quickly a line forms of eager children to tell Santa just what they want for Christmas, his looks is comical to say the least. The Santa Clause sequels have not had any of the magic of the original, but remain a huge hit for the Disney studios.

7. Home Alone (1990)
Never underestimate a John Hughes story, Home Alone was a huge success and one of the funniest Christmas movies to be made. Macaulay Culkin in his second Hughes film is left alone over the Christmas holiday and torrements two completely inept burglars brilliantly played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci who are trying to make off with vacationing families valuables. Home Alone spawned two completely lesser sequels, but the original stands as a perfect fun for all ages family holiday film that always stirs laughter with it's Three Stooges-esque humor filled story.

6. Bad Santa (2003)
The repulsively delightful Chrsitmas tale Bad Santa certainly doesn't reak of Christmas spirit, but it does still manage to bring a heart warming holiday story amongst all the bad language and lude behavoir. Billy Bob Thorton in a unforgetable performance plays the drunken thief who poses as a Santa in various malls to gain access for planned robberies. The film is more so a raunchy comedy that a Christmas movie, but it some how manages to squeeze in a touching story of a little boy at Christmas. Bad Santa definately isn't for the faint of heart or in any way a family film, but it does none the less, provides holiday cheer in the most unique of ways.

5. Miracle on the 34th Street (1947)
The second oldest Chrsitmas movie on this list and still to this day just as powerful. The 1994 remake tried to accomplish what this film so easily and masterfully displayed, but when compared to the original it is no match. Edmund Gwenn is still some 60 years later the perfect embodiment of what is Santa Clause. Natalie Wood as Susan Heart is equally just as a perfect match for the heart and wonder of every child when it comes to Santa Clause. The scene between Wood and Gwenn, when she pulls his beard to make sure he is real will always be priceless. Miracle on 34th Street is the best film when it comes to the spirit of Christmas and believing in Santa Clause. The courtroom scene never gets old and this is sure to be watched every year around Christmas.

4. Scrooged (1988)
Bill Murray is always funny, but here in a adaptation of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol" Murray delivers what is the best version of the many attempted story. Directed by one time screen wizard Richard Donner Scrooged follows Frank Cross the president of IBC television who is more than heartless and just like, Ebenezer Scrooge, recieves a visit from 3 ghost on Christmas Eve that show him the true meaning of Christmas. Bill Murray delights from beginning to end every time I watch this film and I especially love the candid ending where Murray speaks to the camera. Carol Kane is perfect as the ghost of christmas present and David Johansen better known as Buster Poindexter is wonderfully crass as the ghost of christmas past. Karen Allen is sweet as Murray's on screen girlfriend making Scrooged a joyful experience every time watched. It's no doubt you'll want to put a little love in your heart by the end of the hilarious christmas film.

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton's legendary Christmas film has been a constant joy to watch since the friday it was released back in 1993. I remember going to see the movie 3 times on opening weekend as a freshman in high school. What makes The Nightmare Before Christmas so great is it can be enjoyed from Halloween to Christmas and has become a useful tool to get the family into the holiday spirit. While The Nightmare Before Christmas may not appeal to the generation who grew up watching White Christmas it is still a perfect Christmas film that is fun for all ages. Tim Burton masterfully captured the wonder and enjoyment of Christmas in a tale that is mirrors the eccentric director, but also captured a generation and future generations of people who cherish the film as their most treasured holiday treat.

2. Christmas Vacation (1989)
The Griswald family christmas is one of the funniest films ever put to film and also a great Christmas movie. Christmas Vacation is a film that is watched every year the day we get our christmas tree. The film has never grown tiresome and I generally watch it at least 5 times over the holiday. It always puts me in the mood and nothing is better that Clark watching old family film reels locked in his attic to stir up some holiday memories. Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie is one of the funniest deranged christmas guests and his dialogue in the scene where he is dumping his motorhome's septic tank saying, "shitter's full" always conjures instant laughs. Christmas Vacation a riot from beginning to end and can be argued as the funniest of the National Lampoon Vacation movies.

1. A Christmas Story (1983)

"You'll shoot your eye out kid!" No line is more remebered at Christmas then that golden gem from A Christmas Story. The story of a young boy who prepares for Christmas and wishes for a Red Rider BB gun. The film is an instant reminder of your younger years of Christmas and like Christmas Vacation can be watched countless times at Christmas. In fact TNT or TBS runs a 24 hour marathon every year on Christmas day with a constant loop of the film. The film is filled to the brimm with hijinks and laughter all told from the perspective a 9 year old boy as he anticipates Christmas. My favorite scene has always been Ralphie explaining his fear of Scut Farkus, with Ralphie's cursing scene coming in a close second. I honestly don't think there is anyone that would argue that this film captures a child's minds eye at Christmas better than any other film and always entertains. Is there actually somebody out there that hasn't seen A Christmas Story?

What say you? What are your favorite Christmas movies? Strikeback...