It seems like everywhere I go on the internet lately, people are listing their favorite holiday movies. I’ve added comments on various sites mentioning some of mine, and I’ve also made a list of films I’ve somehow missed over the years. Now I’m busy trying to see them before the end of the Christmas season.
When I was much younger, I really liked Bing Crosby, so my favorite holiday movie was Holiday Inn. White Christmas didn’t do much for me—I think it had something to do with the plot (“let’s put on a show for the old commanding general”). I grew up on The Court Jester, so I love Danny Kaye, too. I just liked the plot and the songs in Holiday Inn better. I haven’t seen either movie in years, and I wonder if I’d like White Christmas better now that I’m older.
In my twenties, It’s a Wonderful Life was my number one holiday movie. It has everything going for it, especially Jimmy Stewart. It resonated so much with me during that time in my life, when I had to postpone some of my dreams to help my family. The only problem with this film is its length. I don’t mind a long movie, but TV stations love to chop it down and extend it with endless commercial breaks. This is definitely a film that should be watched on DVD, or video, or streaming.
As an anglophile, I have a soft spot for A Christmas Carol. I’ve seen many of the movie versions, although not the Jim Carrey one that came out last year. The movies bring back memories of working as a dresser for the San Diego Repertory Theatre’s annual production of the play. I was only 16, so I was rather shocked at the co-ed dressing room, not to mention the actor playing Bob Cratchit who didn’t believe in underwear.
Now, there are movies that are about Christmas, and then there are the movies that are released at Christmas. I have a special place in my heart for the movie musical The Little Prince, released in 1974 during the holidays. It wasn’t a hit, but it did have Bob Fosse and Gene Wilder singing and dancing as The Snake and The Fox.
One of my favorite Christmas comedies is The Ref with Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Christine Baranski, and Glynis Johns. It’s kind of crude, and it ends rather abruptly, but the Christmas dinner scene is just too good to miss. I have no idea how the production team managed to keep all those candles in the St Lucia headpieces burning without anybody losing their hair. I’d love to find out, but unfortunately the DVD has no behind-the-scenes extras.
It took me a few years to get around to seeing Bridget Jones’s Diary, but now it’s always near the top of my favorites list. Some folks might argue that it’s not a holiday movie, but it does begin and end at Christmas, and one of the funniest things in the movie is Colin Firth’s holiday sweater.
I watched Elf for the very first time this week. It was delightful, of course, and I love Bob Newhart and Peter Dinklage. It made me realize that I can’t just keep watching the same old favorites every year. I need to make space for new movies, giving them a chance to become old favorites.
What else is new this year? Well, I made my own Christmas video. It’s only 33 seconds long, but it was really fun to make, and now I’m sharing it with all my friends and family. Over at animoto.com you upload photos and video clips, choose music, make titles, and then their software will mix it all into a really neat little video. You should check it out.