The stockings have been hung, the halls have been decked, and the eggs have been nogged... It is almost time for Christmas.
Personally, I am not the most festive when it comes to the holidays. While I am definitely no Grinch, my enthusiasm also falls way short of Buddy the Elf's. However, one of the things that jingles my bells, is a good Christmas movie... and there are lots to choose from.
So, in honor of the impending holiday, I present you with Kevin's Eleven: Christmas Edition. These are the top 11 films that get me going this time of year:
The 11 Best Christmas Films of All Time
11. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
While it is certainly outdated and cliché, this Jimmy Stewart film is very watchable, and still a staple for the holidays. This heart-warming tale presents us with a man who has given up his dreams to help others, but ends up down on his luck, and questioning his life's worth. Just as he is about to give up on life, his guardian angel appears help him realize that he is surrounded by love and support by everyone in his life.
10. Trapped In Paradise (1994)
This Christmas themed crime comedy is a tale of 3 brothers (Jon Lovitz, Dana Carvey, and Nicolas Cage), who travel to a small, quaint Pennsylvania town for the purpose of robbing its unsecured bank. However, they are unable to escape the "Paradise" due to a snow storm, and are taken in and cared for by the very people that they just stole from. Their generosity and holiday spirit warms the hearts of the criminals, prompting them to return the money and turn their lives around.
9. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Based on a Dr. Seuss book of the same name, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a classic animated musical tale that shows how even the biggest curmudgeon's heart can be warmed by the innocence of a child. The story also enforces the lesson that Christmas isn't tangible, and can't be stolen, the season is about joy and love, not presents and material wealth.
8. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
While technically not a movie, this 28 minute animated classic follows Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts as they prepare to put on a Nativity Play. Charlie, however, becomes annoyed at his friends for losing sight of the holiday's true meaning, and set out to show them that Christmas is supposed to be... and while they initially mock his efforts, they eventually find the error in their ways.
7. Miracle On 34th Street (1947)
Santa Claus has been sent to the loony bin, and put on trial? The department store Santa is truly THE Kris Kringle?
This holiday classic helps us all find our inner child, and allows us to suspend our disbelief long enough to remember what it truly feels like to "believe."
6. A Christmas Story (1983)
"Fra-Gee-Lay!? Must be Italian!"
Everyone has seen this classic Christmas comedy at least once (or 24 times if you're TV has ever been stuck on TBS during Christmas Day). This story follows the dysfunctional Parker family, through the reminiscent eyes of their son Ralphie, who wants nothing but a Red Ryder BB Gun, with a compass in the stock, and "this thing which tells time" for Christmas. However, no matter to whom he relays this wish, he is always greeted with the same response "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"
Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra!
5. Scrooged (1988)
Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross, a wealthy, successful television producer with cruel, cold heart in this modern comedic adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Life begins to imitate art as his life begins to mirror the show he is managing, a Live Christmas Eve production of the same Charles Dickens play. Eventually, Frank sees the error of his ways, and urges everyone to celebrate the holiday with the ones they love, and not waste their time watching television.
4. Elf (2003)
While I am generally not a huge fan of Will Ferrell-centric movies, Elf is a clear exception. The tale of a child reluctantly adopted by elves from the North Pole, but is clearly out of place. When he realizes that he is not one of them, he sets for New York, to find his real family. Along the way, he finds love in Zooey Deschenel (a cute quirky girl, go figure), and is able to re-inspire the Christmas spirit for the entire city.
3. Home Alone (1990)
Before he turned into a complete weirdo, Macaulay Culkin starred as Kevin McCallister in the highest grossing comedy of all time. Kevin, the trouble-making black sheep of the McCallister family is accidentally left behind as his extended family travels to Paris for Christmas. Left to his own devices, Kevin is able to thrive and survive in solitude, even as his house is raided by two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) known as the "Wet Bandits." He locks down the house, sets booby-traps, and is able to outsmart the crooks, reunite with his family, and even bring his creepy neighbor closer to his estranged family.
2. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
This stop-motion animated classic about Santa's top reindeer shows us that it is okay to be different. Rudolph is mocked and excluded by the other reindeer for having a red, shiny nose; and decides to run away from home. He teams up with another loner, Hermey, one of Santa's elves who aspires to become a dentist, and not make toys. The two embark on an adventure where they come across the "Island of Misfit Toys," a place for the toys that nobody wants, they feel welcomed, and learn that being different is a good thing, not a curse. They return to the North Pole, where Rudolph learns that he can be a great help to Santa, using his glowing nose to guide the sleigh through a snowstorm.
1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Even though it is the third different portrayal of Rusty and Audrey, the Griswolds are all the same in this yule classic. Clark and Ellen are set on hosting a great family Christmas for the whole Griswold clan, however, as all of their ventures, things go very awry. From electrocutions and explosions, to SWAT Teams and a good old-fashioned kidnapping, this film has everything you could want in a Christmas movie.
In honor of its #1 status, here are some great quotes from the movie:
- "They had to replace my metal plate with a plastic one. Every time Catherine would rev up the microwave, I'd piss my pants and forget who I was for about half an hour." -Cousin Eddie
- "You don't want him around if you're wearing short pants, if you know what I mean. Word of warning though, if he does lay into ya, it's best to just let 'em finish." -Cousin Eddie
- "Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination." -Clark Griswold
- Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead? -Clark Griswold
Honorable Mention: Die Hard (1 & 2), Frosty The Snowman, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Jingle All The Way, Ernest Saves Christmas, The Polar Express