I don’t know what I’ve been doing this month, but I haven’t been watching as many Christmas movies as I should! Here’s the movies that really complete me during the holiday season. It just doesn’t seem like Christmas unless I’ve watched these movies in December! What’s essential movie viewing for you to get into the spirit?
Home Alone – The first and only Home Alone movie worth watching. The sequels were complete ripoffs of this movie, but can you blame them for trying to emulate a classic? I remember being super-excited to check this one out in the theaters. Of course, my parents were super-thrifty though, so despite this movie being released in November 1990, it wasn’t until January 1991 that I actually got to see it. You see, that’s when the discount theater finally got it in (after teasing me all throughout December with a “coming soon” cardboard display). Man, I miss being a kid and having simple things like movie posters get me all worked up.
The Santa Clause – Thus begins Tim Allen’s career as a star of Christmas movies. I knew this was a modern Christmas classic as soon as I was finished watching it. Luckily, even if I don’t get around to playing the DVD I own, this one usually pops up on TV a few times every December.
The Santa Clause 2 – If I’m remember correctly, this movie got poor reviews, but I don’t care. I don’t think any live-action movie has ever fully captured the wonder of the North Pole like this movie has. It’s quite a departure from the original (which was much more grounded in the “real world”) and it’s a basically a movie for kids, but I still love it. For the record, I like the third movie as well, but it’s definitely not “essential”.
Elf – I wasn’t sure how I felt about this movie when I first saw it but I think my mixed emotions had more to do with not being able to stand Will Ferrell more than not liking the movie. See? Even a Will Ferrell project can be saved when Christmas is involved! This movie has quickly become a classic not only with me but with tons of people and for good reason — everybody loves a “fish out of water” tale especially when there’s a holiday twist to it.
Christmas with the Kranks – The third of the four (so far) Christmas movies Tim Allen has starred in. I was really surprised he would do a Christmas movie that’s not part of the Santa Clause franchise. I guess he doesn’t care about typecasting. I think this came out Thanksgiving Day or something like that and I liked it a lot. I don’t think anyone else in my family did (or anyone else in the world, apparently) but I enjoy it. Most people hate it, not sure why. If you want a truly bad Christmas movie, go watch Deck the Halls starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick. With a cast like that, you’d think it would’ve been direct-to-video or direct-to-cable. I actually fell asleep during that movie, the only time I’ve ever fallen asleep in a theater. Christmas with the Kranks is not “hilarious” as the DVD cover says it is, but I think it’s an amusing take on trying to fight off Christmas and the annoying neighborhood that insists on having a Frosty on the roof.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – An undisputed classic, this is probably one of the most popular holiday films of all-time and Chevy’s most popular movie as well. It’s easily the best of the Vacation series though I’m not sure if it is Chevy’s best movie (Fletch is a strong contender). I tried showing this to my fiancee one year and she got bored and fell asleep. Some people don’t appreciate good cinema!