Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Holiday Movie Entertainment

by Rick Blechta

I had an interesting conversation with a friend this past week about favourite Christmas movies. Like many, my favourite for many, many years is the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim and whole cast of brilliant character actors. Interesting factoid: The movie was filmed in August!

His favourite Christmas movie really startled me: Die Hard. I had to think back, and yes, the action (of the first two movies in the series, actually) takes place at Christmas. We have a DVD copy so my wife and I pulled it out and watched it. It was as I remember: filled with lots of macho action from Bruce Willis and the crew of bad guys led by estimable Alan Rickman. There isn’t all that much Christmas in it, though. It could just as easily taken place “in the heat of an August bank holiday”.

I got back to my friend after viewing the movie again and asked him why this was the Christmas movie for him. Answer: “It’s all about a man trying to save his wife so that they can spend the holiday together.”

I don’t mean to be insulting to my friend, but come on! That seems pretty shallow to me. Yes, the holiday season is a time for family coming together, but I don’t think most people would imagine that within the movie’s framework. But my friend is not a particularly sentimental person. I guess I am.

His wife, interestingly had another surprising choice: Love Actually. This is a very entertaining film but a number of the multiple story threads are really quite sad, and there is an overall feeling of anger and hurt in many scenes. Again, a rather surprising choice for a favourite holiday film. And this woman is quite sentimental.

Am I out of step? Am I missing something?

What is your favourite holiday movie?

(And by the way, if you have Netflix, you might want to watch The Christmas Chronicles which is new this year. It has flaws but also snappy dialogue, great computer graphics, and Kurt Russell as Santa is very entertaining. I don’t know if it will become a classic must-watch holiday staple, but it is definitely worth a view.)


Sybil Johnson said...

My favorite Christmas movie is the Muppet version of A Christmas Carol. It's quite well done and uses some of the dialog from Dickens. I watched the Christmas Chronicles and enjoyed it very much.

Don't understand why people think Die Hard and Love Actually are Christmas movies, but, hey, to each his own.

Donis Casey said...

We watch both Love Actually and Die Hard every Christmas, along with Desk Set, with Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn. That's our Christmas trifecta. Actually, more "fectas" than tri. We also make a point of watching The Bishop's wife (Loretta Young), Come to the Stable (also Loretta Young), and Miracle on 34th Street (Natalie Wood version). It's a sexfecta! I like most of the Christmas Carols too, but Rick is right, the '50's version is the classic.

Donna S said...

Oh for sure the Alastair Sims version of A Christmas Carol and Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase - parts of which still make me roll on the floor laughing every year. Hubby just loves The Christmas Story - about the cute little boy with the glasses who wants a Daisy rifle for Christmas.

Sybil Johnson said...

Lots of good Chrstmas movies and shows out there. I still love the Peanuts Christmas TV show and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The Christmas Story is great too.

Rick Blechta said...

Now those are a lot of suggestions, people. All right! Thank you for weighing in with your choices/suggestions. Some good ones there!

Any more of you want to comment? Let's keep this going!

Donna S said...

I really like the Santa Claus movies with Tim Allen and The Polar Bear Express, the animated one with the conductor who sounds, looks and acts like Tom Hanks. It is excellently done and I like the rather sinister Santa Claus. I also have one movie that was put out by Disney years ago - One Magic Christmas with Mary Steenburgen and a guardian angel named Gideon (played by Harry Dean Stanton). They do not play it anymore because apparently, because Gideon sits up in a tree and talks to the little daughter in the movie, everyone thought he looked more like a child molester so they yanked it. I love this movie - it really tugs at your heart strings. Wish they would bring it back.

Rick Blechta said...

Thanks for those suggestions, Donna! I've only seen one of them (The Polar Bear Express). I will have to look up those others.

Sybil Johnson said...

The Tim Allen Santa Claus movies are great fun. I see One Magic Christmas is available to buy or rent on Amazon.

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