Mitch’s Top Twelve Christmas Movies
Well It’s that time of year again, My favorite time of year, the Christmas season! To get you into the spirit I’ve decided to reveal the 12 Christmas movies that help get me into the spirit of Christmas! I was born in 1990, and these are the Christmas movies that I grew up with and that have kept me happy and joyous for the last 22 Christmas’. With out further ado, and starting with number 12 here is my favorite Christmas movies! 1 being the highest, 12 being the lowest of the group, but if they are on the list, they are still a favorite of mine.
12. A Charlie Brown Christmas – I have watched this Emmy award winning Christmas special twice already this year, It’s pretty easy to relate to Charlie Brown and his views on how much Christmas is commercialized. It can be easy to forget what Christmas is really about: The birth of Jesus Christ. A Charlie Brown Christmas helps remind us about why we celebrate this wonderful season each year, and the Characters are so cute that you can’t help but love them. The scene where Charlie Brown walks by Snoopy’s over-decorated dog house makes me laugh every time.
Did you know?: This is the first Charlie Brown special in which Lucy calls Charlie Brown, Charlie. Every other time and in every other movie or cartoon, she calls him by his full name, Charlie Brown.
11. A Christmas Carol
11A. A Christmas Carol – Yes, I am cheating a bit by grouping three movies together, but they are essentially the same story told in different ways.
The 1951 A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sims, is a wonderful adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. My Mother-in-law loves this version, and showed it to us last year, I gave her a hard time about making us watch it because it’s so old, but it was actually quite enjoyable. It may be a bit outdated but it is very touching and Alastair Sims is actually quite perfect as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Did You know?: This 1951 movie version of A Christmas Carol wasn’t the first movie to be made about the famous Charles Dickens Novel, it was the fourth! The movie is preceded by a 1908 and 1910 silent film version, and a 1938 version from MGN studios.
11B. A Mickey’s Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is “played” by Scrooge McDuck, Mickey is Bob Cratchit, Minnie is his wife, Goofy is Jacob Marley, Donald Duck is Scrooge’s nephew, and so on. Something about this version just sticks out to me, it’s fun and the Mickey Mouse gang just makes it work.
Did You know?: You realize that Mickey’s Christmas Carol was nominated for an Academy Award, it didn’t win, but wow.
11C. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009) we see Jim Carey taking on another classic holiday character, we also see Walt Disney studios release it’s third take on the popular story, and for the
first time ever A Christmas Carol is in 3D (which I am not a fan of). This version was written and directed by Robert Zemeckis (The Polar Express) and uses the same type of animation as The Polar Express (and Zemeckis’ other film Beowulf) which is called Performance Capture. The actors in the movie still act out all of the scenes in the movie, and all their movements are transformed to the screen. The movie
really shines because of this and the great acting from Jim Carrey (Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Present, past and Future) and Gary Oldman (Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and Tiny Tim).
Did you know?: There is a picture of Charles Dickens hanging in the Cratchit’s home near the fireplace
10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer –
I love all the claymation holiday movies, but
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
is definitely the best, it originally aired in 1964, and has ran every year since. Taking a short Christmas song, and transforming it into a beloved, everlasting Christmas special is quite an accomplishment. Rudolph is filled with characters that are funny, quirky, and will be forever cherished at Christmas time, like Hermey the Misfit elf, Yukon Cornelius, and the Abominable snowman, and of course Rudolph himself. A classic.
Did you know?: a debate broke out about why the “Dolly for Sue” was on the island of misfit toys when she seemed to have nothing wrong with her. Finally the creators of the movie came out and said she had mental problems from being unloved.
9. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – I have seen Christmas Vacation almost every year, and still laugh every time. Chevy Chase is unbelievably funny, and his whole family, especially Randy Quaid, are hilarious. It’s mostly Slapstick comedy, but it’s Chevy Chase’s facial expressions and calm collectiveness in almost every situation that gets me every time. I also love the chemistry between Chevy and Beverly D’Angelo.
Did you know?: That the son, russ, is played by Johnny Galecki, who is Leonard on
the Big Bang Theory. Also, you may recognize the daughter as Juliette Lewis, from movies such as whip it, Cape Fear, Natural Born killers etc. look her up, you will probably recognize her.
8. Home Alone – Back in 1990, when Macaulay Culkin was cute and innocent, this John Hughes directed holiday comedy became the biggest grossing comedy of all time (only to be passed by Beverly Hills Cop). Re-watching Home Alone this year, I had forgotten how short the fight in the house sequence was, because when I was a kid that was the best part, it stuck out because it’s funny and exciting. As an adult though, you get a lot more out of Home Alone, like the story line involving his older neighbour, his mothers (Catherine O’Hara) plight and her adventure back home, the humor provided by the two robbers (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) and the humor provided by Kevin is
just as entertaining now as it ever was when I was a kid. that scene at the end when Kevin’s Mom comes running in and sees Kevin for the first time, always chokes me up :’)
Did you know?: Home Alone is written by John Hughes, the same guy who directed and wrote The breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, ferris Buellers Day Off etc. Maybe you knew that, Maybe you didn’t.
7. The Family Stone – When a successful, Conservative, uptight, executive from Manhattan (Sarah Jessica Parker), comes to stay with her boyfriend (Dermot Mulroney) and his Liberal family, in their small hometown, sparks will fly. Sarah Jessica Parker
clashes immediately with the pretty much the whole family, which is comprised of Mother (Diane Keaton), Father (Craig T. Nelson), sisters (Rachel McAdams and Elizabeth Reaser), one stoner brother (Luke Wilson) and his gay, deaf brother and his partner.
Parker can’t seem to get herself out of the hole she is continuously digging, so she calls her sister (Claire Danes) to come help out.
Unlike many people, I really enjoy Sarah Jessica Parker, and the whole cast is just terrific, the movie suffers from its fair share of typecasting, stereotypes and cliches but it recovers from that fairly well, and The Family Stone allows you to love the characters enough to become invested in their story. You’ll laugh, and cry and think upon your own family more fondly.
That awkward moment when: you realize the photo that Sarah Jessica Parkers character gives everyone of their mother, is actually a picture taken of a young Diane Keaton, but Diane Keaton was never pregnant, the photo was photo shopped to make her look pregnant.
6. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol – Did you think I would leave this one out? For me The Muppet’s Christmas Carol stands alone and should not be grouped with the other Christmas Carols. What makes it better? 3 things, 1. It’s the Muppet’s 2. The music 3. Michael Caine. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol takes my favorite cast of characters and put them in all the famous Christmas Carol roles, all centered around Michael Caine, who
is brilliant as Ebenezer Scrooge. This was the first movie to be produced and released after Jim Henson’s death. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol is a treasure.
Did you know?: This was the first major Muppet project after the death of creator Jim Henson. Henson had performed Kermit and the role was now being handed down to Steve Whitmire. According to Whitmire he was incredibly nervous about taking over such an iconic character. The night before he had to go record Kermit’s songs for the movie, he had a dream where he met Henson in a hotel lobby and told him how unsure he was. In the dream, Henson reassured Whitmire that the feeling would pass. After waking up, Whitmire was confident and able to do the part.
5. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – is the second highest grossing Christmas film of all time (the 1st is #7 on my list) and stars Jim Carrey as The Grinch. Based on the classic Dr. Seuss novel, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is heartfelt, hilarious and magical. Jim Carrey is at his best and it’s completely obvious why he was nominated for a Golden Globe. It’s hard to take a 69 page children’s book and turn it into a hour and 45 minute movie, but Ron Howard did it without making it feel like there’s a lot of useless filler. Taylor Momsen is adorable as Cindy Lou Who, and the – interactions between her and Jim Carrey are great. Did you know?: Jim Carrey’s Grinch suit was made of Yak hair, died green
4. It’s A Wonderful Life
– When I first made this list, last week, I hadn’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life yet but I thought to myself “It can’t be that great”. I was incredibly wrong. It’s a wonderful Life is a magnificent, inspiring, and a wonderful story about a man named George Bailey (James Stewart), who is constantly sacrificing his own dreams for others. The movie is over 2 hours long, and the Christmas aspect doesn’t come into play until about the last half hour, but the build up is spectacular. I was so enthralled and entertained with the whole time, and it is now a holiday tradition for me. The entire cast is terrific, I have never in my life seen another actor quite like James Stewart, and his chemistry with Donna Reed is so cute. A movie hasn’t made me love characters so deeply in a long time, every character is memorable and you would think with such a huge cast you would easily forget who’s who, but almost every character is memorable. If I had watched this a little earlier, and it had been a bigger part of my life and Christmas tradition it would probably be number one, but unfortunately seeing it for the first time at 21 years old allowed for three other movies to take the top spots.
Did you know?:
While now it’s one of the biggest holiday classics, at the time it was considered a flop, the movie needed to double it’s production costs to break even and it didn’t even come close.
3. The Santa Clause – As a child this was probably my favorite Christmas movie, I remember watching it with my parents and brother, and falling in love with it. Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, a divorced father, who’s son Charlie comes to spend Christmas Eve with him. That night, as
Santa climbs Calvin’s roof, Scott and Charlie are awoken by Santa’s loud noises and when they go outside to investigate, Scott yells up “Hey you” Santa falls, and magically disappears leaving his suit, sleigh and reindeer behind. Scott Calvin then becomes and fulfills Santa’s duties for the night, which makes him Santa Claus (whether he likes it or not). The Santa Clause is hilarious and magical, the chemistry between Tim Allen and Charlie (Eric Lloyd) is perfect.
Some the best parts of the movie are when Scott (Allen) is interacting with his son, his ex-wife (Wendy Crewson) and her new husband (Judge Reinhold). The moments at the North Pole, where Scott learns to be Santa are fun and magical. The above reasons are why the 2nd and (especially) the third movie were not as great as the first, they lack in magic , and sweet moments and amp up the action sequences which don’t seem to work in a Christmas movie.
Did you know?: Peter Boyle, who is most famous for playing Ray Romano’s father-in-law on Everybody Loves Raymond, plays Scott Calvin’s Boss in The Santa Clause. But, in the 2nd and 3rd movies Peter Boyle plays a different character, he plays Father Time. Did anyone notice this?
2. Elf – I can’t believe elf is 8 years old! anyways! Elf directed by Jon Favreau (Iron man 1&2, Cowboys & Aliens), is a comedy based around a human named Buddy (Will Ferrel) who thinks he is an elf when he accidentally hitches a ride to the North Pole in Santa’s (Ed Asner) Sack. Once he arrives at the north pole, he is adopted by an older elf (Bob Newhart, who also Narrates the movie) and raised as an elf, until he is older and is told that he actually a human. He travels to New York to meet his father (James Caan). He does this, and eventually ends up living with his father and his fathers wife (Mary Steenburgen) and son (Daniel Tay). The movie follows his antics around New york, where he eats chewed gum, has snowball fights and works at a
department store with a girl he finds extremely attractive (Zooey Deschanel).
Elf is ultimately hilarious, and very sweet and it’s all because of the movies Star, Will Ferrel. Who Somehow turns himself into a boy in a mans body (he was 34 at the time) and does it in a non-creepy, sweet way. (It’s also my Fiancee’s favorite Christmas movie, and she watches it about 30 times this season)
Did you know?: That the doctor in the movie that does a DNA test on Buddy and his father, is played by Jon Favreau, the movies director. You probably recognize him though, from movies like Couples retreat, The break up, I Love you, Man, and as Iron Man’s personal driver in Iron Man.
1. A Muppet Family Christmas – While it may not be on the top of everyone’s Christmas movie favorites, it’s my favorite. A Muppet Family Christmas finds the whole Muppet crew driving to Fozzie’s Mothers house to spend Christmas with her. Unbeknownst to Fozzie’s mother, who was planning to go to Malibu for the holidays, and had rented out the house to a nice
gentleman (Gerard Parkes) named Doc and his dog Sprocket. Not only does almost the whole Muppet crew show up, so does The Sesame Street gang. Something about the way the movie features creations from the four major Jim Henson productions (The Muppet’s, Sesame Street, Fraggle rock and Muppet Babies) makes the movie feel familiar, homey and happy, It’s like your whole family getting together, and no ones left out. (well I’m a big enough fan to realize that some Muppet’s were left out, but no one huge)
Did you know?: even Jim Henson himself couldn’t resist staying away from the joyous family gathering, he pops in at the end to help do the dishes with Sprocket the dog.
There you have it, my top 12 favorite Christmas movies! I hope some of your favorites are on the list, and maybe you will search out the ones on here you haven’t seen yet. Merry Christmas, From Mitch.