10. Love Actually I love this movie. Like, really really really love this movie. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me feel festive and sad and lonely and hopeful and close to people all in the course of 136 minutes. I would put it up higher on the list because it's so good and the phenomenal cast deserves the recognition but I just can't put those kind of limitations on it. This isn't just a Christmas movie; it's an everyday movie about love that just happens to take place around the holidays. Plus it makes me cry too much and I don't like to cry.
9. Gremlins may not seem like the most festive of holiday stories but it definitely takes place at Christmastime and tells the lesson of never giving pets as gifts. Seriously, you should never give someone a present that requires that much responsibility - that's a chore, not a gift, no matter how cute and cuddly he may appear to be. Though to be fair, Gizmo is pretty damn cute. I probably would have given him some late night fried chicken, too.
8. Scrooged Bill Murray + classic literature = enough said. Plus how about the post-Ghostbusters tagline - "Bill Murray is back among the ghosts, only this time, it's three against one." Brilliant!
7. The Muppet Christmas Carol provides yet another take on the classic Dickens story of kindheartedness and love being the most important gift of the holidays. But this time, with Muppets. And Muppets are awesome! Also, I now feel that I have a special connection to Tiny Tim.
6. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is so funny that we put it on at the bar without any sound and find ourselves laughing anyway just because we know what's going on and it's visually hysterical! Chevy Chase is brilliant at a lot of things and though stringing up Christmas light might not be one of them, bringing out the holiday giggles is certainly on his done and done list.
5. One may argue that the holiday classic A Christmas Story is the end all be all of festive films and deserves to land in the number one slot all the time but I beg to differ. True, it is a brilliant film with great one-liners, creative characters, nostalgia and feel-good family fun. But I worry that it's gotten too big for it's britches. I mean, 24 hour marathons plus daily screenings? It's all a bit much, so I've knocked it down a few slots. But it's still one of my favorites and I'll never not think of it when eating Peking duck or changing a tire. This movie is the second best thing to come out of 1983 (I'm the first, duh!)
4. I recently watched the original Miracle on 34th Street after a very late night of partying with a few friends. We ate eggs and bacon and drank tea and watched as a precocious little Natalie Wood learned to believe in Santa Claus and Christmas miracles were made for all. This movie is so classic New York and so sweetly sentimentally reminds us all to keep the faith; it made for a wonderful winter morning with some great people. It's always a good choice.
3. One of the problems that I am often faced with around the holidays is my lack of cable. See, I own quite a few of my favorite holiday movies on dvd so I can watch them as many times as my little heart desires. Other ones I rent or catch online. This year, all I've wanted to do was order a whole cheese pizza for myself and watch Home Alone. But could I do that? No. It wasn't available anywhere online, it was never on cable when I was visiting someone with cable tv, and of the four stores that I visited to look for the dvd, none had it! They were even out of it at the few rental places that carry it in my neck of the woods. Les incompetents! I'm determined to get a copy by next year because this is truly a Christmas classic and I want to watch it year after year.
2. A combination of sappy sweetness and incredible goofiness that cannot be beat - Elf. It takes place in New York so I immediately love it. Every line is quotable and each scene recreatable. And I love smiling, smiling is my favorite, too! Will Ferrell is a genius and this is one of the best holiday movies ever... it might even be the best if it weren't for the fact that in a life without George Bailey, Mary is a lonely...
1. librarian! Yup, I love any movie that features a gal checking out books for a living; even if she's sad and alone on Christmas Eve. It's A Wonderful Life truly is the ultimate Christmas classic. It's thoughtful and beautiful and can be enjoyed with the whole family. I love watching the single showing every year and get a little choked up each time I see it. Maybe it's expected and maybe it's sappy, but this really is the best story for Christmas and it's my number one.
This was a pretty tough list to compile and honestly, it doesn't just change year to year but day to day depending on my moon. With that in mind, consider the following flicks to be recipients of an Honorable Mention with some frequent rotation into the top ten depending on my holiday spirit (which today is a little more goofy and comical but can be sad and reflective or bright and hopeful depending on the day) -
* Holiday Inn
* White Christmas
* The Bishop's Wife (I just saw this so maybe it'll move up in the ranks as I familiarize myself with it a bit more)
* Babes In Toyland
* March of the Wooden Soldiers
And before you all get up in arms and throw me down a chimney shoot, the only reason I don't have Nightmare Before Christmas on this list is because no matter how Christmas-y it is, it will always feel like a Halloween movie to me. That and I watch it year round so it doesn't get limited to the holiday movie box that gets packed away at the end of each season.