A note from yours truly, RTM:
It’s that time of the year again, my favorite season if you ask me. I was going to post a Top Five Christmas Movies list, but after raking my brain to find the ones I thought were ‘worthy’ to be included, I ended up turning to my reliable guest blogger Rockerdad. Having just seen the first one this past weekend (I’ll have my review on a later post), I’d have to agree that It’s A Wonderful Life is the quintessential uplifting Christmas movie, one to pass on from generation to generation as the uplifting message is as timeless as Christmas itself.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
This Frank Capra classic is and has been a holiday staple for years. Pretty heavy on the melodrama but is ultimately rewarding because of Jimmy Stewart’s believable performance as regular good guy George Bailey whose limits are tested by a greedy and scrooge-like bank magnate (Lionel Barrymore). Donna Reed is sweet and Barrymore is right up there with the most despicable screen villains of all time.
Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
One of the best, this film introduced us to a very young Natalie Wood. Edmund Gwenn claims to be Kris Kringle but young Susan (Wood) is skeptical as is her mother (Maureen O’Hara), a special events coordinator at Macy’s. Somehow, they warm up to Kris but he is then threatened to be committed to the asylum after the store’s ill-intentioned psychologist deems him unstable. A young lawyer (John Payne), promises to defend Kris in court and then the fun begins.
A Christmas Story (1983)
This classic from late director Bob Clark (Black Christmas) will inevitably cross your TV screen this holiday season. Young Ralphie Parker wants a BB Gun for Christmas but first he must overcome a few obstacles that might prevent him from getting it. Its subtle charm is its Norman Rockwellesque feel and look which makes it seem timeless (very unlike 1983). Darren McGavin is brilliant as the cuss-filled but well meaning dad – as well as the rest of the cast. We’ve all had our own version of the ‘Red Ryder BB Gun’.
The Snowman (1982)
This 27 min. animated classic is my personal favorite. Based on the book by English author Raymond Briggs, The Snowman has no dialogue, but is magical nonetheless. A young boy builds a snowman who suddenly comes to life at midnight and they begin a fascinating dream-like adventure together – eventually meeting Father Christmas. This one is not to be missed.
Baby Boom (1987)
Not really considered a classic but this Diane Keaton comedy has all the ingredients of a holiday film – babies, lots of snow and gourmet applesauce… Keaton plays an aggressive ad executive whose life and career are turned upside down after she inherits a toddler from a deceased relative. With her boss and colleagues unsympathetic, she starts over and moves to a broken down country house in Vermont where she meets a charming vet (Sam Shepard) and begins a promising entrepreneurial foray into – what else – baby gourmet applesauce!
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945)
Holiday Inn (1940)
What say you, folks? Whats your staple Christmas movie(s)?