Of course, I'll start with the ones that just missed the list. "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's A Wonderful Life". WTH?? Sorry--they're both great movies, and they're on everyone else's list, so I feel I can let them sit with Honorable Mentions. I just don't find myself needing to see either of them at Christmas. I should also note that we're talking the original versions of both. The remakes and colorized versions shouldn't even be in the room... Also getting Honorable Mention is "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Only because I have yet to see it! Crimson (remember her?) loves it and quotes it regularly, so I trust her judgment. My final HM goes to "Prancer". Yeah, that sort of surprises me, too. But I'm a sucker for Sam Elliott and his voice. And it's a nice story of Christmas magic. Now the top ten...
10. "1941" - One that I'm sure many of you have never seen. A Steven Spielberg's movie. A great John Williams score. A large, big-budget, blue-ribbon cast. And a box-office flop (like most Spielberg comedies). The story isn't much about Christmas. Actually, not at all, other than it's set during mid-December, 1941. It's about spying a wayward Japanese sub off the coast of L.A., and the ensuing hilarity while scrambling to defend the Hollywood from a supposed Japanese invasion (did you know that there really was concern about that?). Since this is my list, it's included. And you should try to find it.So there you go. I'm sure it's different than yours. Let me hear from you about what movies I missed...
9. "Gremlins" - OK, this is another one that isn't so much about Christmas either, other than Phoebe Cates' (good enough reason to include this movie!) story about her father who died dressed as Santa trying to climb down the chimney. And the fact that it takes place at Christmastime. But how can you not include a fuzzy little Mogwai named "Gizmo"? Yeah, it's a bit gory and violent, but it's also pretty funny at times!
8."A Christmas Story" - This one should probably rank higher, but ever since TBS started running it all day on Christmas Day, it's gotten on my nerves. Still, it has some memorable moments that can't be discounted. The pink bunny pajamas, the Bumpus' hounds (Sonsabitches Bumpasses!!!!), the lamp (fra-gee'-lay), the tongue on the flagpole--all of these will be ingrained in our memories forever!
7. "The Lemon Drop Kid" - An old Bob Hope/Marilyn Maxwell movie with gangsters dressed up as Santa, trying to raise money to pay off a debt. Of course, the Christmas spirit wins out, and the money goes to a charitable group. The movie where the song "Silver Bells" was introduced. And it's got William Frawley ("Fred" of "Fred & Ethyl" from the old Lucy shows) in it. Any movie with William Frawley in it has to be good! (He was in "Miracle on 34th Street", too--maybe I should pull it out of HM status...)
6. "Scrooged" - A modern retelling of the Charles Dickens' classic. Great performances by Bill Murray and cast. This one was also higher on my list before it got shown over and over. Whatever happened to having only one or two chances to see your favorite Christmas movie?
5. "Elf" - I'm not a Will Farrell fan, but he does a remarkable job in this one. So many classic lines to choose from. And Zooey Deschanel is cute as a button! Renewal in Christmas cheer saves Santa's sleigh! This one would be higher too, but suffered the same fate as "Scrooged"...
4. "A Charlie Brown Christmas", "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!", "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" & "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" - Technically not movies, but I figure all four of them together counts. These are the TV shows that let me know that Christmas was here. The classics. The ones that everyone else tries to emulate. I remember how "Mr. Magoo" was almost sort of scary at times. I shuddered whenever I saw the Abominable Snowman's teeth for the first time. The Grinch is just fun, as is his song (don't even get me started about the Jim Carrey movie--what a piece of garbage that was!), and Cindy-Lou Who was such a cutie!. And I can still get a tear in the corner of my eye when Linus takes center stage to tell Christmas is all about (Luke 2:8-14). These should probably be at the top of the list, but they're not really full-length features.
3. "The Santa Clause" - People either love this one or hate this one. I'm one that loves it. Actually, the sequel is pretty good, too (the third one, not so much...). A different twist on the Santa legend. Mixing both modern and traditional views of Santa, this is just a good story about believing in Santa. As Judy the elf says, "Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."
2. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" - I could watch this movie any time of the year! Chevy Chase gives a wonderful performance as the hapless Clark Griswold, trying to make this year's family Christmas the best ever. I think we like it because we see a little bit of ourselves in what he's trying to accomplish. And we all have a relative that matches up with each of his. Of course, by the end, the spirit of Christmas reigns, and he "did it".
1. "White Christmas" - Easily my favorite of all Christmas movies. Even if it IS shown too much. I can never get tired of Vera Ellen's dancing, or Bing Crosby's singing. Or just being Der Bingle. And for all the stress and problems throughout the movie, the spirit of Christmas reigns (hey, haven't I written that already?), and they live happily ever after. With a nice snowfall.