Sunday, December 14, 2008

Great Christmas Movies

One of the things that I have always liked about this time of the year was watching the Christmas movies and tv specials that have become a holiday favorites. So I thought that I'd write about some of my favorites.

It's a Wonderful Life has become a holiday favorite, seen by millions of people. The story of George Bailey finding out that he had effected so many people and that the world was a better place because he lived is inspiring. I had the pleasure of watching this movie at the Redford Theater, where they have an old Wurlitzer organ that they play before movies and during intermissions. The showed the movie about 8 years ago and arranged to have the actress played Zuzu tell her stories about the movie.

Miracle on 34th Street has inspired more than one version. I prefer the version with Maureen O'Hara and Natalie Wood, but that's not to say that the newer version isn't good too. The real Santa is hired by Macy's to play Santa in their Thanksgiving parade at the last minute when their Santa becomes too intoxicated to do the job. Maureen O'Hara is a single mother that stopped believing years ago and Natalie Wood is her daughter that doesn't believe, they're all in for a surprise. Santa has to go to court because a disgruntled Macy's employee feels compelled to have him committed. Does Santa go off to an insane asylum?

A Christmas Story didn't impress me too much the first time that I saw it but it grew on me. I watched it with my dad the second time that I saw it and I was hooked. A young boy wants a Red Rider toy gun for Christmas. There were so many things in there that my dad could relate to in the movie that I saw it from a different angle and got a chance to see it through my father's eyes. The story takes place during the golden age of radio (1940's), before television, when radio dramas were one of the main forms of entertainment. At one point Ralphie has got his secret decoder ring and listens intently to the radio, expecting to get some earth shattering message only to find out that this just a ploy by Ovaltine to get you to use their product. The use of the adult Ralphie narrating the movie helps to make it special, you get a glimpse into the mind of young Ralphie.

You're probably familar with Charles Dickens "A Chirstmas Carol". This might have been the first non bible based Christmas story, but it has become engrained in society and many of us have read it. There have been several movies made out of the story and they've stared George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart. Even Bill Murray has played Scrooge.

The Santa Clause is about a divorced father (Scott Calvin played by Tim Allen) that accidentally hits Santa and puts on Santa's red costume and evokes that Santa Clause, where the wearer agrees by virtue of putting on the suit, to become Santa. Scott Calvin and his son Charley are taken by the reindeer to the North Pole and are returned the next morning. Scott Calvin thinks that this was just a dream but Charley remembers it as as only a child can. Scott Calvin's ex-wife (Wendy Crewson) and her psychiatrist boyfriend (Judge Reinhold) begin to think that he is trying to play tricks on Charlie's mind and he even loses the right to see his son as a result. Will Scott Calvin be able to see his son again? This warm and entertaining move inspired to additional films.

If you're in the mood for a vacation, why not watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? Chase Chase is back as Clark Griswold in the third installment of the Vacation series. Clark is the same accident prone, bad lucked Clark Griswold who is expecting a large Christmas bonus. Randy Quaid is back as the unemployed brother-in law. Lots of gags and the script is from John Hughes.

The Polar Express is a recent addition to the world of Christmas movies. This ground breaking animated movie was directed by Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks portrayed 5 different computer generated characters. Although some people might find the use of computer animation to be eerie, this is destined to become another Christmas classic.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a classic Dr. Seuss story told as only he can do it. Director Ron Howard and Jim Carey have brought the Grinch to life as only they can do it. It seems that Jim Carey was born to play the Grinch. This movie might be scary for young kids, so be prepared. There is an animated version of the Grinch made in 1966 that airs on television from time to time that is very good as well, I've put this under some of the classic animated television movies further down.

Original Christmas Classics is a wonderful collection of children's holiday favorites including Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, Frosty the Snowman, and others. Most of these are the television classics from when I was a kid with voices of Fred Astaire, Mickey Rooney, and plenty of classic Christmas songs that most of us know. If you have young kids they're sure to enjoy these.

Christmas Television Favorites is a collection of Christmas television specials adding to Original Christmas Classics and includes the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Rudolf's Shinny New Year, and others. These are more wonderful shows that aired when I was a kid.

Peanuts Holiday Collection, you can't really celebrate Christmas without Snoopy now can you? This set includes Its the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Celebrate these holidays with Charlie Brown, Linus, Sally, Peppermint Patty, Lucy, and of course everyone's favorite beagle, Snoopy.

Why not take some time our of your busy holiday schedule and enjoy some of these holiday favorites with your family. Maybe you can enjoy some homemade Christmas cookies, popcorn, and egg nog. Happy Holidays.
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