Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Favorites

I've been trying to get in the holiday spirit, but since it feels like Christmas has been taunting me since mid-October, it's hard to still be excited about the season. To try to get me to be a little more jolly than the grinch, I've been hunting down holiday movies. Here are some of my favorites that always bring a smile (or even a tear) each time.
A Christmas Story
I have seen this so many times I can say the lines as I watch it. I blame TBS for that. I mean, is it necessary to run this for 24 hours? Don't get me wrong, my TV always finds it and, though I may not see it in its entirety in one sitting, I will see enough parts of it during that time to have seen every scene. In case you've never had the privilege of this one, it's about a boy who wants a Red Ryder BB Gun (he'll shoot his eye out - but he'll be OK). Lots of silly family things happen to make us all realize it's not the holidays if your family doesn't show off its crazy. When he was younger, my cousin Paul looked like Ralphie. We keep threatening to get him a pink bunny costume one of these years. He's a good sport. He'll wear it. I'll post pictures.

Bad Santa
OK. Billy Bob Thornton is not the guy I'd pick to play Santa (he's real, kids - the ones you see in the mall are his helpers, even if they smell like booze). I mean, he's just weird. But this movie is so wrong, it's right. He's the naughtiest of naughty. He cusses. He drinks. He insults kids. He steals. He has s-e-x in the Santa costume. As disturbing as all that is, it makes me laugh. Listen, the day I have the money for a fancy "spa" (AKA rehab), I'll go there. Until then, back off. Does he get in the real holiday spirit? You'll just have to watch it to find out.
Charlie Brown Christmas
How can you go wrong with Charlie Brown? He's looking for the true meaning of Christmas - something I struggle with every year. Seriously, stores. Stop shoving the holidays down my throat before I've had time to overdose on candy corn! I don't know why this song is both beautiful and tragic, but I cannot get through the season without listening to it. Plus, there's the whole sad tree thing. It's a little bit of tree discrimination, forcing people to abandon the skinny trees on the lots for the one full of sticky needles. Wait... is this one of the few times fatties are celebrated?
This might be my favorite Will Farrell movie. He plays Buddy The Elf, a man-boy who learns he was adopted and raised by elves (not the Tolkien kind - the kind that work as little toy slaves for Santa). He finds his father, who's a bit of a jerk, and proceeds to spread holiday cheer in his own special way in New York City. Funny and sweet. Just how I like my holiday movies!

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
What could be cuter than a couple of otters trying to win a talent contest so they can win money to buy gifts? Wait, sounds VERY Brady-like. Whatever. These hillbilly critters are cute and sing catchy tunes. This one doesn't get much play, though it should. If you haven't seen it, rent it. Or search for it on youtube.
Holiday Inn
Surprise! This one takes place at an inn (not that chain hotel - not even the Express ones) that is open for the holidays. Fred Astaire and Bing Crosy star in this one, which was the first time anyone heard "White Christmas." Music and dancing? Yeah, that's a holiday movie!
Home Alone
Family goes on vacation to Paris, leaves behind 8-year-old boy. He's one resourceful kid, figuring out how to eat without burning down the house and defends his home from two of the dumbest burglars to ever set foot on a movie set. Just when you start to feel sorry for the kid, who thinks he's been completely forgotten by his family (who can't seem to get back to him quickly), you realize he'll be just fine. And that's when I think it's not so bad that I have to work on the holidays.
Love Actually
If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of the romantic comedy. This one, I love. These people have problems (some bigger than others). But the one thing they all want for Christmas: to be happy and in, if they're really lucky, with the ones they love. It's told in several different stories and each one is special. I could watch this any time of year, but it is a holiday movie. Yep, I cry here, too.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
This is another one you can't miss on TV between Thanksgiving and New Year's (though I did find it on cable during the summer and still watched it). I have most of this memorized, from the tree chopping beginning to the rant and holiday ending. It's funny. It makes me think of my grandparents. It also makes me glad all of my family is not trapped in one house. It would not end like this. Trust me.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
What makes this better than the old black and white version? Duh. Muppets! It's right there in the title!
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Alright, this one is actually about Thanksgiving, but it still has that "getting home to the family for the holidays" vibe. It also has a few other things going for it: starring Steve Martin and the late, great John Candy and it's directed by John Hughes. It has made me not wanted to travel the day before a holiday ever unless it's by car. Also, those aren't pillows.
White Christmas
I know, this one is like "Holiday Inn." But this has more romantic comedy than the other one. Same song (look, it's Bing Crosby's world, we all just live in it). I don't watch this one every year, but every time I catch it, it makes me want to sing - so be glad it's not in my rotation.

Did I leave anything out? It's possible. My mind is not as young as it used to be.
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