Merry Christmas! FlixChatter Team’s Favorite Christmas Movies

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s Ruth here and it’s Christmas Day here in the Twin Cities where our blog team and I live. It’s actually an unusually brown Christmas with just a few leftover snow on the ground, nary a flurry in sight!

I’ve made a ton of Christmas posts over the years, such us the one from 2016 highlighting favorite Christmas movie moments. The last holiday-related post I did was this relay race to list 10 Best Christmas Movies where I picked this 2005 WWII drama Joyeux Noël.

Well, I thought this year I’d invite my blogging team to tell us their favorite Christmas movies, or the go-to movie(s) they’d watch often during the holiday season. So read on below and see if you share some favorite Christmas movies!


Laura Schaubschlager

Choosing one “go-to” Christmas movie is tough; it’s one of my favorite times of the year, and I have several movies I have to watch for nostalgia’s sake. If I absolutely have to pick one, though, I’ll go with Home Alone. Sure, the plot doesn’t necessarily hold up today (with current home security systems, smart phones, and today’s airport check-in procedures, I don’t think the story would progress past the first 15 minutes now), but it’s still a classic.

The cast is fantastic, with Macaulay Culkin securing his place as the child actor of the early 90’s (and my first celebrity crush) as Kevin McCallister, Catherine O’Hara and John Heard successfully striking a balance of infuriatingly clueless and genuinely loving as his parents, Kate and Peter, and, of course, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern hamming it up as the hilarious “Wet Bandits,” Harry and Marv.

The movie is full of memorable scenes and dialogue that are still parodied and referenced even after nearly 30 years, and it’s rich with Chrismas imagery, but the soundtrack is what makes it most enduring to me. In addition to classics like Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and The Drifters’ White Christmas (songs that, to this day, I can’t hear without associating them with specific scenes from this film), the score includes music from iconic composer John Williams, and if you don’t get a little choked up hearing Somewhere in my Memory, his big theme for the film, you might be a bit of a Grinch.


Ted Saydalavong

I tend to watch Home Alone and Die Hard often during the Christmas season. Throughout my teens Home Alone was a staple during the holidays with my parents and siblings. It’s the first film we watched together around Christmas many years ago. For those old enough to remember, studios tend to leave successful films in theaters for a long time and Home Alone was a massive hit back in the holiday season of 1990. So, it didn’t come out on video until the next holiday season and that’s when I first saw the film with my family.

I couldn’t remember exactly when I saw Die Hard but it wasn’t during Christmas season but somehow I’ve watched at least once a year before Christmas. I think the film wasn’t considered by some as a Christmas film probably a decade after its release in theaters. For a while people just think it’s a great action film but throughout the years, it somehow became known more as a Christmas film. Of course they are some who would argue that’s it’s not a Christmas film. To me it’s a great action film that happens to take place during Christmas time, I don’t really care if it’s an official Christmas film or not.

Another film I tend to watch during the holidays is The Long Kiss Goodnight. A big budget action/adventure with a female lead that I thought was way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it was a box office dud but I think it has sort of a cult following.


Vitali Gueron

My first favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone (1990), directed by Chris Columbus and starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister. Kevin is a bratty but smart 8-year-old boy who’s mistakenly left behind by his his family when they fly away to Paris for Christmas vacation. Kevin at first absolutely loves being home alone, especially away from his bullying big brother Buzz (Devin Ratray) but soon he has to defend his family home from two unsuspecting burglars, Harry and Marv (played respectively by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Since Kevin convinces himself that he is not afraid to be home alone, he decides to defend his family home from the burglars and rigs the house with booby traps to take on the bandits. This is where all the fun ensues, and when Harry and Marv break in, Kevin spring the traps and they suffer various minor injuries. Kevin also learns a lesson when he befriends Old Man Marley (Roberts Blossom), his neighbor who Kevin previously misjudged as being a serial killer who murdered his family. What Kevin learns is that forgiveness is a very important character trait, no matter how late it comes. I think it brings a nice message of love and forgiveness that anyone watching can relate to. The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Original Score (written by John Williams) and Best Original Song for “Somewhere in My Memory” (again by John Williams). I try to watch this movie at least once during the holidays.

My second favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), directed by Chris Columbus and with Macaulay Culkin reprising his role as Kevin McCallister. This time, Kevin is little order, a little smarter but also a whole lot more likely to get lost by his family.

This time, Kevin and his family decide to take a trip to Florida, but because of a power outage, their alarm clocks don’t wake them up in the morning which makes them late for their flight. In all of the rush and confusion, Kevin ends up taking the wrong plane and instead of Florida, he ends up in New York City. Once there, instead of freaking out, Kevin decides to make the most of it and to tour the city. Meanwhile, the “Wet Bandits”, Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern reprising their roles), have traveled to New York City after escaping during a prison riot and have a new name for themselves: the “Sticky Bandits”. Kevin goes to Central Park and meets a homeless woman (Brenda Fricker) feeding the pigeons, but gets scared because she doesn’t talk and has birds all over her. He then goes to the Plaza Hotel, where he uses his dad Peter’s credit card to check in. One of the most poignant but heartwarming parts of the movie comes when on Christmas Eve, Kevin visits a toy store where he meets its philanthropic owner, Mr. E.F. Duncan (Eddie Bracken). Kevin learns that the proceeds from the store’s Christmas sales will be donated to a children’s hospital, and provides a donation.

As a token of appreciation, Mr. Duncan offers Kevin a pair of ceramic turtledoves as a gift, instructing him to give one to another person as a sign of eternal friendship. Kevin goes back to Central Park to apologize to the Pigeon Lady, and give her his other half of the pair of ceramic turtledoves. Of course, he “coincidentally” bumps into the Wet Bandits, who remember him, and then another round of booby traps are set in an abandoned house that use to belong to Kevin’s uncle. The best part of the movie comes at the end when Kevin reunites with his mother at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree after he wishes for no presents for Christmas but rather a fast reunion with his family. I love watching this movie back to back with the first Home Alone.


Holly Peterson

There is nothing better than sitting down with a cup of warm, homemade eggnog and a favorite Christmas movie. My two favorites, perhaps predictably, are polar opposites. I’m nothing if not inconsistent. 😉

A viewing of Die Hard (everyone’s favorite is it or isn’t it this year: spoilers, it is) followed by a viewing of Love Actually always get me into the Christmas spirit.

Wishing all of our readers a Happy Holiday season, filled with a family that looks out for you and a love story that is worth telling year after year. Yippee Kai Yay!


Ruth Maramis

For me, my go-to Christmas movies have remain the same over the years and it’s one I can watch any time of the year. I’m a self-professed Anglophile and a huge fan of Richard Curtis’ work (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill and Love Actually). In fact, one of my all time favorite Christmas-themed episode in a TV series is The Vicar of Dibley’s Christmas Special that I’ve highlighted in this post.

This is also a good episode to ogle the the handsome stranger, Richard Armitage (ehm)

So it’s no surprise that Love, Actually is one I can watch time and again, especially during the holiday season. I love that Curtis’ able to balance pathos, irony and absurd humor so perfectly in this scene set in a shopping centre during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday. Absolute classic.

Now, You’ve Got Mail isn’t exactly a Christmas movie per se, but it has several significant Christmas scenes that I’d like think of it as such. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic and a tad sentimental during the holidays, I’m usually in the mood to watch this Nora Ephron classic. This scene in particular often gets me teared up… I love the setting itself of a winter day in NYC with the sparkling and festive Christmas tree, but it also captures the sentiment of feeling lonely and missing the one you love so perfectly. It’s a beautifully-emotional scene that shall always remains timeless.


So friends, now that we’ve shared ours…

… tell us your favorite or go-to Christmas movie(s)!

Merry Christmas! Five Favorite Christmas Moments in Movies

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It’s Christmas eve and my hubby and I just came back from spending one night in Duluth, which is a couple hours north of Twin Cities. We specifically went there to see Bentleyville right at Canal Park, the largest FREE Christmas lights display in the USA (perhaps even the world) where you could tour over 4 million lights in a 20-acre park along Lake Superior. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, they also gave away free cookies and hot chocolate. Bless Mr. Bentley and the town of Duluth for such an annual holiday treat!


Well, I thought I’d celebrate Christmas with a few of my favorite things. And y’all know I love movies so here are five of my favorite Christmas scenes over the years.

You gotta start w/ the classics… and It’s A Wonderful Life is definitely my favorite Christmas-themed film that can be appreciated any day of the year. It’s such a joyous and rousing finale, complete with the Christmas/New Year’s staple songs Hark the Herald Angels Sing and Auld Lang Syne. Is it any wonder people love returning to Bedford Falls at the end of every year?

Of course when it comes to the most romantic scene of Love, Actually, one would likely think of Andrew Lincoln’s ‘To me you are perfect’ declaration to Keira Knightley… but as far as the most memorable Christmas scene… it’d have to be this one. Not only did Olivia Olson have a glorious voice singing Mariah Carey’s Christmas hit, it’s also a sweet, romantic yet cheeky scene that makes this British ensemble holiday flick a joy to watch year after year.

A message of hope and peace doesn’t get more poignant than this one set during wartime. I’d say this is a film that should be a Christmas staple given the historical significance. Joyeux Noël is an underrated 2005 film about the World War I Christmas truce of December 1914, depicted through the eyes of French, British and German soldiers. Starting with the Scots with their bagpipes, all the way to the moment a German soldier singing Adeste Fideles holding a small Christmas tree, it’s hard not to tear up watching this amazing scene.

Christmas is also a pretty romantic time of the year. There’s something about the snow and twinkling lights that make you all warm and fuzzy. This scene from an unabashedly sweet rom-com While You Were Sleeping utilizes a Wintry Christmas scenery beautifully as the two leads first realize they have feelings for each other. Who doesn’t love Sandra Bullock, and though I don’t normally picture Bill Pullman as a go-to romantic lead, he’s got such an aw-shucks charm here that made me root for these two to be together.

Many of you already knew that I lost my mother when I was sixteen (on my 16th birthday to be exact). It’s been over two decades now but one never gets over such loss and it’s especially tough during the Christmas season. That’s why this scene in You’ve Got Mail gets me every time. Meg Ryan’s Kathleen is reminiscing on her late mother as she decorates her Christmas tree in her shop… wishing her mother were still alive to counsel her. “I’m missing her so much I almost couldn’t breathe…” It always hits me hard as growing up in Jakarta, my late mom and I always decorated our Christmas tree together every December… and I’ll cherish those wonderful memories forever.


Here’s wishing you all

a BLESSED & JOYFUL CHRISTMAS…

wherever you are.


Now that I’ve shared mine, what’s your favorite Christmas movie scene(s)? 
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Christmas in New York – pics from my NYC trip

Hello everyone! Greetings from New England! Hope y’all had a lovely Christmas w/ your family and friends. I had been in NYC for most of last week, we stayed at a loft on 34th street, but no there’s no Miracle on 34th Street 😉 , though we felt very blessed to have spent a festive and safe Christmas in the Big Apple with no major incidents.

We’re now in New Hampshire where my in-laws resides, but I thought I’d share some pics from our Christmas in New York. Most of these are my Instagram pics, with a couple shots taken by my hubby.

Click to view a larger image w/ full caption

As for movies, well I haven’t seen anything since The Force Awakens before we left, not sure if we’ll fit in movie viewing before the year’s done. In any case, I’ve got my Top 10 of the Year post ready to go for Dec 31, so stay tuned! 😀


So did you see anything on Christmas Day folks? Well, hopefully it was a good one!

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Merry Christmas! Reminiscing on the alternative Christmas classic: Batman Returns

MerryChristmas

It’s December 25 and I thought I’d take the time to wish you all a wonderful Christmas… wherever you are. It’s not quite a White Christmas here in Minnesota. The snow that’s supposed to hit us today seems to have shift to Friday, which is a bummer as for once I don’t mind having a snowy Christmas day as I don’t have to travel anywhere. It’s been a while since we actually have a truly mellow Christmas where we get to relax at home, eat home-cooked meal and watch movies in the comfort of our own home.

After church on Christmas eve, we wanted to see a Christmas-themed movie. At first we’re going to see Bill Murray’s Scrooged, but ended up rewatching Tim Burton’s 1992 Batman Returns, as this TOR.com blog cleverly dubbed …‘Twas the Dark Knight Before Christmas...

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Hey, even Alfred’s getting into the Christmas spirit putting up the Christmas tree in the Wayne Mansion whilst Bruce snuggles up by the fire. It’s the calm before the storm, as it were. The real action begins as soon as miss Selina Kyle enters the picture…

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BatmanReturnsMistletoe

(although a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it…)

I had seen it ages ago but I couldn’t remember much of the details other than Michelle Pfeiffer‘s stunning and iconic portrayal as Catwoman. She still is one of the best things about this film, and I don’t think anyone’s topped her performance yet in that role [sorry Anne Hathaway, you’re good but not THAT good].

The Christmas setting in Gotham City is gorgeous to look at and definitely got me a bit nostalgic of spending time in New York City last year.

BatmanReturnsStill2

The festive Christmas lighting ceremony in Gotham Plaza is basically modeled after the giant tree in Rockeffeler Center, and there’s even that lavish holiday masked ball where Bruce Wayne gets to slow dance with Selina Kyle and discovering who their real identities are.

Keaton and Pfeiffer had quite a scorching chemistry, more so than Christian Bale did with any of his female co-stars. It’s a complicated and ultimately doomed relationship that’s beguiling and surprisingly emotional.

BatmanReturnsStill3

“Does this mean we have to start fighting?”

Tons of great performances too, Danny Devito is effectively creepy yet funny as Oswald Cobblepot aka The Penguin, and Christopher Walken is always fun to watch as the slimy businessman Max Shreck. Danny Elfman‘s score is absolutely terrific, too, I should feature it in the next Music Break 😉

Though I’ve come to love Nolan’s Batman’s trilogy that’s more solemn and realistic, I have to admit I enjoyed Burton’s decidedly more circus-y and theatrical approach. Glad I rewatched this tonight, Batman Returns is definitely a fun albeit bizarre alternative Christmas flick if you’re not in the mood to watch It’s A Wonderful Life for the zillionth time. Though the story may be dark and even tragic, I wouldn’t call it an anti-Christmas movie. In fact, the finale ends on a hopeful note, with a subtle hint that the Christmas spirit isn’t entirely lost on them …

BatmanReturnsMerryChristmas

Good will toward men… and women.


So folks, once again I wish you a MERRY & BLESSED CHRISTMAS.
What’ll you be watching this Christmas break?

The Christmas List Blogathon

Hello everyone! I’m back!

Actually I’ve been back since last Saturday but sooo exhausted from our hectic trip and the long layovers so I really had no energy to blog. I did manage to update the layout a bit as my theme got an upgrade to a wider format so I did a little bit of that. Hope you like it 😀

Well, I was doing my rounds around my friends’ blogs when I came across the Christmas list at Sati’s blog which was apparently started by Diana at Aziza’s Picks. Inspired by the gift-giving tradition of the season, she thought about what she would buy for her fellow bloggers. What a nice idea! I actually don’t come from a culture where gift-giving is a must for Christmas, but I couldn’t help but take part in this as I believe it’s just as rewarding–if not more so—to give than to receive.

ChristmasTreePresents

Therefore, if time/location/money is no issue, this is what I wish I could give ten of my blog friends. Following Sati’s cue, my list also has a bit of fantasy mixed in (I’m sure the recipient don’t mind if it doesn’t come nicely wrapped underneath the Christmas tree) 😉

First I’d like to start with my contributor Ted Saydavalong. I hope he hasn’t got ’em already but I’d love to ship him the Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. Surely it would look spectacular in his home cinema (hopefully he’d invite me, he..he..)

  • Sati – An open ticket to the next Hobbit film premiere where she’ll be personally escorted by the Elven King Thranduil himself (aka Lee Pace).
    LeePaceHobbitPremiere
  • Novroz – I know she’s still over the moon watching the Mighty Boosh Special Edition DVD, so this Noel Fielding t-shirt might put her over the edge, ahah. She might never want to take ’em off!
  • Andina – My fellow Indo blogger loves soundtracks so I’d love to get her the CDs of Life of Pi and Intouchables that she just featured recently.

  • UnforgivenPosterMichael – Since he just listed his top ten Westerns list, I’d love to ship him the Blu-ray for each of those fine selection.

  • Terrence – Now for our TV star amongst us, I’d love to surprise T with a special guest appearance from his beloved Avenger, Black Widow for his Take 2 with Terrence show. Perhaps Scarlett Johansson could drop by around the time Avengers sequel is released 😉

  • Fernando A young man of discriminating taste, perhaps a Pedro Almodóvar marathon is in order? This Viva Pedro collection should fit nicely under the Christmas tree.

  • Mark – I know he’d rather be at home in Glasgow than anywhere else (who could blame him?) but perhaps a pair of tickets to New York City in April to attend the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival might entice him to take a little American vacation? Who knows he might rub elbows with his hero, the film fest founder Robert De Niro.
    Tribeca2013
  • Paula For an elegant woman with a penchant for classic movies… I’d love to ship her just about every Cary Grant DVD Box Set I could find on TCM, such as this one.

  • Castor – For my fellow Minnesotan blogger who’s been working tirelessly all year long, I just want to somehow give him a month off from work so he could watch movies every single day. I’ll throw in some movie tickets as well to sweeten the deal 😀

  • Josh – For the Oscar expert amongst us, I wish I could somehow score him a ticket to the upcoming Academy Award ceremony on February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood!

So MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! God’s blessings to you all.

ChristmasForUntoUsAChildIsBorn

Wishing you all a blessed Christmas!

It’s Christmas eve and the sun is shining outside with no hint of the white, fluffy stuff outside. So yeah, this year there’s no White Christmas in Minnesota, I’m sure travelers and last-minute shoppers rejoice not having to deal with extra traffic caused by bad weather, but there is something so charming about snow-covered streets that make those Christmas lights sparkle even brighter… like this dramatic fan-art rendition of Bedford Falls, George Bailey’s hometown in It’s A Wonderful Life (from fanpop.com). I so love that movie, no wonder it’s a Christmas tradition for a lot of you… more on that in a bit.

Unlike last year where I traveled to New England to spend time with my in-laws, this year is a pretty mellow one for me. We’re going to an afternoon church service later today, followed by a get-together at a friend’s family dinner. The rest of the weekend’s plans will probably include lots of movie-watching, yay! I’ve got The Help dvd and we might catch The Adventures of Tintin on Christmas day. I also got to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (finally!) which was somewhat unplanned, we were just at dinner and checking out what films are playing nearby. As soon as we saw this title playing in an hour at a nearby theater, we immediately decided to watch it. I should have the review of that and The Artist next week.

Well, I managed to squeeze in a Christmas classic this week based on the recommendations of people at the MTOS Twitter event, that is The Bishop’s Wife. It’s a cute and heart-warming movie starring Cary Grant, David Niven & Loretta Young where Grant played an angel (talk about the ultimate fairy tale!). I enjoyed it but it’s definitely not going to replace It’s a Wonderful Life as my favorite Christmas classic. I’ve been reading a bunch of wonderful posts dedicated for that Frank Capra masterpiece:

Of course there are other great Christmas classics for your holiday viewing:

  • Iba at I Luv Cinema explored a few of them in her Tuesday’s Overlooked Films post
  • The master of Top 10 Lists Dan Stephens have various Top 10 Christmas Movies from the 1980s all the way to the 2000s
  • Oh and don’t forget to check out Lesya’s Christmas in Genres, a collaborative effort with many movie bloggers including yours truly

Let me close with this wonderful score from It’s a Wonderful Life‘s opening sequence. There’s an interesting story behind that music however, which apparently is not exactly a joyous one.

With that, I want to wish you all a blessed and merry Christmas and thank you for being such loyal support of FlixChatter!

Happy, Happy Christmas, Everyone!

Graphic by mrgraphicsguy @ deviantart.com

Today I’m celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Christmas always holds a special meaning for me, but today is extra special as I’m also celebrating my beloved mother in-law’s 60th birthday! My sister in-law also flew in coast to coast from Seattle. I feel so blessed to be able to spend this joyous season with family.

Oh, and what else is special? My friend and frequent FC contributor Vince ‘Rockerdad’ Caro has kindly let me share his awesome Happy, Happy Christmas song with you today. I find myself humming the tune for days after hearing it for the first time and it’s one I can listen over and over again. With a catchy song like this one, I wish he’d recorded an entire holiday album! 😉


Note from the rock star himself:

This was written in about 20 minutes 10 Christmases ago on a 4-Track. It was meant to be a ‘cheap’ present for my folks (they were unimpressed). It was part of a cassette (remember those?) mix of songs my wife and I wrote together to give to friends for Christmas. I sent it to our label in 2002 and they liked it so much they decided to record it in a nice studio (with  the intent of using it for some advert agenda unbeknownst to me at the time). Apparently they were onto something… It was included in the holiday episode of the second season of Tru Calling. And most recently, this year’s Grey’s Anatomy (check out the episode online, the song came on towards the beginning in the surgery scene). My folks REALLY LIKE IT now. Happy Holidays!

Here’s wishing you all a holiday season filled with laughter, love and meaningful memories to cherish throughout the year!