Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas in Film

         Everyone has their favorite holiday film that they look forward to once a year.  I couldn't really say that I have a favorite film for the holiday season but there are those few that stick out over the rest.  I will give you my top five favorite holiday films that I enjoy every December and maybe you will see a few of your favorite holiday classics.

5.  The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

This almost forgotten holiday treasure always puts me in the Christmas spirit no matter what mood I am in.  The original story has been told countless times since it was first made into a film in 1910.  There are many different versions of this story and not all of them can be on this list, but I choose this story above the others because of the one single thing the others don't have.  The Muppet's!  They have always brought me back to a simpler time in my life.  The Muppet's have a pure innocence about them that makes anyone my age become a kid again.

This film was bitter sweet in its time due to Jim Henson's death two years prior, and this was the first film that was produced after his passing.  The movie is very true to the original classic and tells the story with the Muppet's charm sprinkled throughout.  Michael Caine takes the role of Scrooge and makes it his own, showing that a serious role can still be taken that way when the Muppet's are involved.  It isn't the typical Muppet's movie, and is very straight forward with little humor but still is very much a Muppet film.  With as much emotion as any Christmas Carol film, this has more heartwarming moments and times of laughter than all of the rest.

4.  Christmas Vacation (1989)

This holiday classic shows up every year, and seems to be on many people's list for good reason.  It's a simple story of a family opening up their home to relatives for the holiday season.  Like most families, we wish for a Christmas with a well decorated house, a tall beautiful tree in our living room's, and presents to put smiles on our faces.  The difference with this families Christmas is the decorations are over the top, a squirrel is nesting in their tree, and the presents burn up in a blaze of glory.

Christmas Vacation serves up a laugh every second we watch Clark Griswold try to keep it together during the holidays.  His one wish is to have a perfect Christmas for his family, but things seem to go wrong with every turn.  In the end though we find out that it doesn't take a well decorated house, a tree, or presents to make a Christmas great.  We find out that it's the people who love us enough to put up with all of our shenanigans that makes that one day a year great.  Plus you have to love a cousin who kidnaps your boss to get you that bonus you deserve, don't ya?

3.  Batman Returns (1992)

I know what your thinking.  Batman Returns isn't the typical holiday movie, and yes I do know this.  The reason I choose batman as a holiday classic is because I am a big fan of batman.  The story does take place on Christmas and there is a nice holiday celebration at the beginning of the film, of course that celebration is ruined by a gang of thugs who used to entertain at the circus and are led by the penguin.  If you look past it though...what am I kidding, its a superhero movie that only takes place during the holiday season.  I am a guy though and an action movie during Christmas does make sense to me.  Die Hard almost made it on the list by the way.

This film though only comes on during this time of the year and I do catch it every time I get the chance.  There is a small message though in this film and that's basically said at the end of this film.  "Good will towards men...and women."  Okay, not much of a message because it wasn't really the theme of the movie but I am trying here.  Basically there is a Christmas tree in the film and a couple presents pop up.  All in all it's just a fun movie to watch.

2.  Scrooged (1988)

Another film based on the Charles Dickens classic you say?  Yes I did choose another film with the same plot, the only difference is that this is set in 1988 and Bill Murray is playing Scrooge.  The character of Scrooge though is named Frank Cross and he is a greedy president of a television company who of course is visited by three ghosts.  The story isn't fresh but the way the story is told is very different from the usual classic telling.

Bill Murray is in his prime as a comedic actor and Scrooged is told with great enthusiasm and imagination.  Greed is the evil in this story just like all the rest, but the difference here is that Scrooge is a young man with the possibility of getting his love back in the end.  The past stories that were told had an elderly Scrooge with no chance of getting back the woman he loved.

This story is very much a comedic version of the tale we know so well and is a bit of a relief to watch when the classic story gets told to many times to count.

1.  The Santa Clause (1994)

Not really most people's choice as their number one film of the season.  Most would choose It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, they are great movies and deserve to be in the top 5 of the greatest Christmas Movies ever told, again though this is the list of movies that I enjoy seeing.

This was Tim Allens' first outing as a leading man in a feature film.  At the time it was a gamble to put a television actor in a leading role.  Most would look at the cover of the film and say it was a typical comedy of the holiday's but realistically this has more heart and is very relatable compared to past Christmas films.

It's a story of a father wanting to be closer to his son.  In the beginning Tim Allen's character Scott Calvin is a hard working, career driven man who is very distant from a son he loves.  His bond grows with his son as he becomes the big man himself.  It's a very heartfelt story and one that I cherish every time I watch it.

I hope you like my top five and would love to hear any comments you have on this.  Happy reading and Merry Christmas everyone.

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