Here we are ladies and gentlemen, reaching the midpoint of December! The Christmas loving elves are just getting their second wind, while some of us more Grinch-like counterparts might need a little something to get them in a festive mood again. What better way to celebrate or cheer yourself up than by watching a good old fashioned Christmas movie?
Aside from two …you will find very few ‘classic’ Christmas movies on this list. My family and I have a tendency to like the oddities and less run of the mill alternatives to just about everything!
1. Jingle All the Way. Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, however, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one.
It’s crazy, it’s ridiculous, and it’s probably my favorite Christmas movie of all time, simply because it's one long series of laughs. Who would have thought that Arnold Schwarzenegger could be so hysterically funny? But it’s Sinbad that steals the show with his character of Marvin the Mailman. This zany type of humor really appeals to me and who could not relate to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dilemma of not being able to find the perfect gift in time for Christmas? This movie takes place in two days, and the frantic energy never stops, rocketing from one fall down funny moment to another. My favorite line would probably be between two moments. 1. When the giant Santa is going to clobber Schwarzenegger and he snaps his suspenders and says: 'I’m gonna deck your halls, bub!' 2. When Marvin the Mailman’s bomb goes off. Er....It's complicated.
I’m invariably laughing my head off at this scene, no matter how many times I see it. Every time I hear Sinbad say: "This is a SICK world we're living in, sick people!" I crack up.
This is a fun movie no matter what time of the year it is, but if you're feeling stressed as you gear up for the Christmas rush, this is a good movie to unwind with and remember that all those traditions and plans aren’t as important as we make them out to be.
Content: The next door neighbor has designs on Schwarzenegger's wife (Rita Wilson) and it is implied that he’s a bit of a ‘man about town’. He flirts with Rita Wilson throughout the movie but at the end when he attempts to seduce her, she quickly deals with the problem by hitting him with a thermos. There are several crude/curse words and two inappropriate lines, one from Sinbad one from Booster, Turbo Man's sidekick. Several people get beat up, but it is done in a humorous way.
2. A Royal Christmas. The queen (Jane Seymour) of Cordinia schemes to break up her royal son's (Stephen Hagan) romance with a seamstress (Lacey Chabert) from Philadelphia.
I don’t usually like Hallmark movies, but this one won me over, mostly because of Lacey Chabert’s and Stephen Hagan’s incredible acting and chemistry. Their relationship is so believable; it almost feels like you are watching two old and dear friends. These types of films can often be implausible, trying to save a bad set up by piling on more sentimentality--but not this movie. This is a sweet, happy, story with the perfect happily ever after. Chabert’s and Hagan’s romance is probably one of the best romances I have ever seen in a movie, mostly because they seem like best friends who just happen to want to spend the rest of their lives together. All the rest of the casting is also perfect. Jane Seymour is perfect as the cold, but ultimately likeable queen and Simon Dutton and Mitchell Mullen add a great deal of charm and heart in their roles of Victor the Butler and Bud Taylor (Chabert’s father). This is really a wonderful film...and a great one to watch with your mom or sisters!
Content: The romantic rival for Prince Leo’s affections mentions how they went ‘skinny dipping’ years ago.
3. Ernest Saves Christmas. A bumbling but well-meaning taxi driver named Ernest P Worrell (Jim Varney) attempts to help Santa Claus find a successor. Failure would mean that there would be no Christmas.
Yet another unconventional choice. In my opinion, Jim Varney was one of the funniest comedians ever captured on the silver screen. One facial expression from him is enough to put me in tears. Douglas Seale is perfect as Santa Claus, his twinkling eyes and whisker-y voice completely convince us that he is the "real' Santa Claus. A sweer and hilarious movie for the whole family to enjoy.
Content: Several scenes are featured at a movie studio and Santa ogles at some skimpily clad girls. In another scene at the movie studio, a horror movie is being filmed, featuring some curse words and a violent struggle between the fictional hero and an ugly monster.
4. A Christmas Carol: Crotchety Victorian businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) has no use for festivity, even at Christmas. The ghost of his late partner, Jacob Marley, appears, warning that Ebenezer will be visited by three more spirits who will show the cold-hearted man the error of his ways.
And here’s a classic…it’s pretty obvious why everybody loves this movie so much, the message of redemption, of ensuring that you live your present hour to the fullest, remembering Who gives every moment to us....these are themes that are imprinted on every human heart. I have seen several remakes of the Christmas Carol (including the Muppets….er…shall we say...unique take) but nothing can beat this version. Good scripting + good effects + good music + good acting + good story = good movie.
Content: I almost don’t even need to include this since everybody and their pet hamster has probably seen this movie…but in case there is a human...or a hamster...on this planet (or rather on this blog) that hasn’t watched this movie…this film can be pretty scary. It scared me when I was little, and I still find moments a little creepy. 'hides under blankets'
5. It’s A Wonderful Life. After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George's wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.
I would probably be unfriended by every one of my online acquaintances I hadn’t included this one! .I’m just kidding, I did like this movie. It’s a little more somber and stressful than my other Christmas movie selections, but the message is quite powerful and moving and the acting is excellent. My absolute favorite in this movie is Clarence the 'Angel'! His interaction with Jimmy Stewart is perfect.
Content: After falling into a swimming pool, Reed is walking home with Stewart and she falls into a bush, inadvertently losing her robe. Stewart pretends to debate on whether to return the robe to her or not, but the scene ends quickly and nothing ever happens.
So what about you guys? What are your favorite Xmas movies? What great films did I neglect to include on this list? I would love to hear all about them in the comments!