We are exactly three weeks away from Christmas and that means we are now in prime holiday movie season! I have some Christmas classics that I love, and some that I loathe, but tonight we are focusing on those that succeed in giving me that warm Yuletide feeling. Here is my list (I am checking it twice) of my top 5 favorite Christmas movies.
5. A Christmas Vacation – Every year, Sidney and I sit down with mugs of hot chocolate and howl as we watch “A Christmas Vacation.” No Christmas movie is as quotable or hilarious as this one. The film has some iconic scenes and gives us all a warning of the disappointment that may occur if you try too hard to make a holiday perfect. This movie established the Griswolds as a classic American family and gave us something that is 98% sure to be on TV at any given time during the month of December.
4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – This movie does carry with it a bit of nostalgia. We knew the Christmas season had arrived when my parents let us stay up late (which meant past 8 p.m.) to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when CBS would air it at the beginning of the month. But aside from watching it every year during my childhood, I think it is a well-done Christmas movie in general. Sure, the animation is a bit weird, but the music and the voices of the characters are outstanding. The story itself is engaging and it will take you on an emotional roller coaster. The past two years I have had the chance to watch bits and pieces of it with Sloan.
3. A Christmas Carol – Give me any of the 28 different versions of “A Christmas Carol” because I love them all. Charles Dickens did such a masterful job writing this classic that no rendition could ruin the basic premise that is already in place. This tale teaches such an important moral lesson that it can never be discarded. Sure, it is a dark movie with depressing themes and even scary moments, but it truly is important to watch (and it has a happy ending!). The ghosts can be offsetting to some but I think they give the movie character. Did I mention the writing is excellent?
2. Home Alone – Another nostalgic moment coming your way….I remember watching “Home Alone” multiple years with my cousins during Thanksgiving weekend, sometimes feeling a bit scared by the next door neighbor, “Old Man Marley.” Although I am no longer scared of him, I still like the movie as much now as I did back then. “Home Alone” just feels like Christmas to me. I think it was beautifully shot and you just really feel the holiday vibe whether it be the scenes in Kevin’s neighborhood or the scenes of the family navigating airport travel. Of course nothing can beat the scene of Kevin defending his house from the robbers. Didn’t we all put ourselves in that situation and visualize setting all those booby traps? But I especially like “Home Alone” because of the musical score and the scene in the church with Kevin and “Old Man Marley.” As the choir performs “O Holy Night” in the background, both individuals help each other out to discover the true meaning of Christmas. It is beautiful and always brings a tear to my eye.
1. Miracle on 34th Street (1947 version) – I think “Miracle on 34th Street” is the perfect embodiment of Christmas in Americana. Terrific acting, engaging plot, romance, and magic…it has it all! I especially like how the movie covers the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and takes you all the way through Christmas. What more can you say about the actor who plays Santa? Even 71 years later, I still identify his depiction of Santa as the most relevant and genuine version that you can get. This movie stands the test of time and proves that you are never too old to believe in Santa.
Take the Brent Christmas Movie Challenge…starting next Monday, watch “A Christmas Vacation” and continue by going through the entire list until you end with “Miracle on 34th Street” on Friday. I guarantee that by then you will be in the holiday spirit. Don’t Blink.