Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Movie Roundup

I am a huge fan of Christmas movies, and the sappier the better. I have about 20 years of experience watching Christmas movies, so if you're looking for something to put you in the mood for Christmas, here at my top favorites.

1. The best Christmas movie out there is It's a Wonderful Life. My husband would argue it's not a Christmas movie, but it totally is. In fact, it was a box office flop but became a hit when aired the entire month of December during the late 1980's when the world realized what a brilliant film it is. Nothing more sappy or well written. George Bailey, the main character played by James Stewart, is the prime example of how God asks us to live our lives. Nothing but the best from Frank Capra.

2. A Christmas Story is a film every demographic will enjoy year after year full of memorable moments. It almost feels like it was one of your past Christmases. This is also the film which started the tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas Day. 

3. A Muppet Christmas Carol is by far my favorite version of this Charles Dickens classic. This film maintains the spirit of the original story with all your favorite Muppet characters and such great music. One of the best Muppet movies for sure. 

4. This is where the list gets a little wonky because all the following movies don't really have as clear an order. It may even change day to day. I recently re-watched Love, Actually, so I'm going to put it here. It's such a fun romantic comedy with different stories with different outcomes all coming together at a school Christmas pageant somehow involving a lobster. 

5. The 1947 original version of Miracle on 34th St. is a classic. Brilliant story, acting, everything. Edmun Gwenn as Kris Kringle is just such a beautiful portrayal of a humble, noble Santa Claus.

6. Nothing Like the Holidays is a Hispanic Christmas movie about a typical Mexican-American family coming together to celebrate Christmas. I used to work in a movie theater and every week I was allowed to see a movie for free. One week, my mom and I saw this movie and were both quite pleased. It is such a rich story with the drama you find in a typical large family, not just a Hispanic family.
7. Santa Clause 1 & 2 are two films about the origin of Santa Clause. The first one is about Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, a divorced father who works for a toy company. He learns the true spirit of generosity and the magic of Christmas. The second one is about Santa finding Mrs. Claus. A romance about Santa Claus? How much better can it get?

8. Polar Express seems to be the only animated film on my list. I saw this in 3D when it was in theaters and the animation blew me away. By today's standards, it's a bit crude, but still quite magical. Tom Hanks plays about every character but the little boy. This is a great adaptation of a children's book with beautiful music to match.

9. Mystery Science Theater 3000 Santa Claus & Santa Claus Conquers the Martians are two of the funniest Christmas classics in the context of commentating robots, of course. Santa Claus is a Mexican film about the myth of Santa Claus. Just, wow. But with the talking robots, rather than being a cringe-worthy film is a laugh fest for the whole family. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is about Santa Claus keeping Martians from invading Earth. With Mike Nelson, Tom Servo, and Crow, it is another fun film that will keep you laughing until Christmas morning.

10. I mostly put Elf on the list because of its popularity. It's a good film, and when it came out it exploded with fame. I think what makes this movie unique is that Will Ferrell's character Buddy has innocence and though he's a bit naive, he quickly grows up without losing the Christmas spirit.

11. Dear Santa is a surprising film. There are so many other Christmas movies I could have put on the list, but I put this movie on for a number of reasons. Dear Santa is really indi and low-budget. The acting is mediocre along with the rest of the elements of the film. The characters and story, however, are so captivating. It's a pretty generic story of spoiled rich girl turned nice girl by handsome, perfect man. He clearly wasn't perfect though because the woman he was dating was not a good fit for him. The main character Crystal, played by Amy Acker, works hard to make herself worthy of such a good man and her heart genuinely changes throughout the movie. Of all the movies I could have put on the list, I added this one because it is such a pleasant surprise, you won't be disappointed.

Right now Netflix instant view is airing Muppet Christmas Carol, Love, Actually, and Dear Santa. You can rent the rest on this list from Amazon or Netflix.

Special mention of Charlie Brown Christmas special. Classic and so good. Watch it!

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