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Guest Post: Snuggle with these Christmas Classics

Posted December 11, 2012 by Max in Featured

This is a fantastic Christmas post from last year. If you’ve never seen it, now is the best time to enjoy it!

Today, Claire Packer of Cinematic Delights and I, would like to share some thoughts on some great Christmas movies. From us to you, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.

 

Elf

 

Claire: Sometimes you just want to watch an easy-to-watch kind-of film that doesn’t take its self too seriously. In my opinion, Elf fits the bill perfectly.

This family friendly film, which stars Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel and James Caan, really epitomizes what you imagine the North Pole to be – the home of Santa and his elves where the other 364 days of the year are spent making presents for all the good children.

It is this stereotypical Christmas element that I love about the film. Father Christmas is exactly as I’ve always imagined – an older fellow with a big white beard, glasses and red suit – while the elves all wear matching suits and are schooled in making fantastic Christmas presents.

If you’re not in the festive spirit then this is definitely the film for you.

Max: Elf wasn’t always a family tradition in my household. That could be because of two reasons; One the newness of the film, and secondly some of the jokes go for the cheap laugh. It doesn’t stop me for really enjoying Elf though. My GF really loves this film and I can understand that side of the coin too because it does resonate with the Christmas spirit.

Elf does a really good job of setting up the scene in the beginning of the film. I really like the nod to Christmas classics by using clay animation. Underneath it’s sometimes potty humor there’s a love story and to ignite Christmas spirit in all of us. So far, this movie is Will Ferrell’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life‘. He was perfect for this role. He knows how to bring the festive cheer and I’m sure you’ll enjoy this film.

 

The Muppets Christmas Carol

 

Claire: This film has long been a favorite within my household. As soon as December comes, the first question I ask my boyfriend is: “Can we watch The Muppets?” Luckily, he enjoys the film as much as I do so we always stick it on.

The Muppet Christmas Carol features all your favorite muppets and a great medley of songs while remaining faithful to Dickens’ original text. Michael Caine makes a fantastic Scrooge and has a great relationship with Bob Cratchit (Kermit) and co.

For me, this film really is timeless. Growing up I used to watch Sesame Street a lot, and I still get the same enjoyment watching those fun-loving puppets now. There’s a universe appeal to the Jim Henson’s creations, and I honestly think that I’ll still enjoy watching this film when I have children of my own. Actually, they’ll have no choice as it’ll be put on every year regardless!

Max: This is my all-time favorite Christmas movie. I watch it every year and Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it. The songs are wonderful and the pacing of the movie seems like forever for a child, but too short as an adult, perfect. All of The Muppets make appearances here if even for brief moments and all add to the festivities.

Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are the narrators of the piece and add much-needed comic relief. Sometimes the story of the Christmas Carol can get a little dark and I’d suggest parental guidance for those under 10.

Michael Caine delivers my favorite portrayal’s of Scrooge and makes the audience believe in his turn from cold and lifeless to warm and cheerful. If there was one movie I’d suggest to watch for Christmas it would be this one.

 

Claire: Starring a fantastic 10-year-old Macaulay Culkin, Home Alone is a brilliant children’s flick, though that’s not to say that adults won’t get a kick out of it as well.

When Kevin is left at the family home while everyone else goes on holiday – an accident, I might add – what follows is pure entertainment. As any kid would, Kevin loves being home alone. However, when two burglars come a-knocking Kevin has to devise a plan to protect the house, and himself.

Thinking about, I bet thousands of parents across the world feared for their lives after watching this film: there’s a lot of inspiration for mischievous children who wish to take their pranks to the next level. Kevin’s booby traps are, quite literally, awesome.

Christmas is a time for family and he’s great when Kevin is finally reunited with his parents. There’s also a sweet moment when their neighbor, ‘Old Man’ Marley, is reunited with his own family.

Max: I hadn’t watched this film for over 10 years until I decided to do this editorial. I’m not sure how it sits with me now, but there are some classic moments.

Macaulay Culkin delivers his best performance as Kevin and Joe Pesci makes a great turn as a burglar looking to cash in on Kevin’s house.

I don’t remember some of the moments in Home Alone being so painful. Whether it be the booby traps or watching Culkin scream at everything, there are moments that equal parts enjoyable and grating. There are lessons to be learned and family ends up being more important than Christmas in this one, but it doesn’t resonate with me as well. It should be noted that this was written by the great John Hughes responsible for another Christmas classic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

 

The Santa Clause

 

Claire: If you want to watch pure cheese – and, let’s be honest, Christmas is a time to relax, enjoy yourself and have a good time – then this could be the film for you.

Starring Tim Allen of Home Improvement fame, The Santa Clause is a rather different take on a Christmas film in that it is about what happens after someone inadvertently kills Santa on Christmas Eve… Yes, that’s right, the fat man in a red suit has popped his clogs and it’s up to Allen to save the day. Comedy ensues as well as a bit of Christmas schmaltz when Allen reconnects with his family.

While not an absolute classic, I recommend The Santa Clause as a fun, family friendly film to have on in the background to keep the festive spirit going.

Max: I haven’t seen this one in a long time and I wasn’t able to watch it before this editorial. I just remember it being a fun Christmas movie, but like Claire said ‘pure cheese’. Stay away from the sequels if possible.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Claire: I know this is going to sound really, really silly but for a long time I sort-of avoided watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. Bearing in mind that it is rated PG, I avoided it as I genuinely thought I’d be freaked out by it..! Before I saw stills from the film or posters, I genuinely thought it was something like A Nightmare on Elm Street!

When I finally saw the film a few years ago I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I loved it.

Featuring the vocal talents of Chris Sarandon and Catherine O’Hara, The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. The highlight of the year is, of course, Halloween. However, Jack has grown tired of the celebrations. After wandering about in the forest near the, Jack finds a cluster of trees each with a door that represents a certain annual holiday. It is there that he discovers the delights of Christmas Town…

The Nightmare Before Christmas is definitely an ‘alternative’ Christmas film but it is a Christmas film nonetheless. If you’re a fan of Tim Burton, who co-wrote and produced the film, you’ll absolutely love it. It’s original, witty and very, very Burtonesque.

Max: The Nightmare Before Christmas plays in my house more often around Halloween than Christmas, but I understand using it for both. It is versatile in that way like a reversible sweater.

Featuring this generations classic story of a skeleton who discovers Christmas and wants it for his own, Tim Burton crafted a film for the ages. Equal parts horror and magic, the film switches focus perfectly and allows all the creepy creatures of Halloween Town their opportunity to shine.

Danny Elfman created one of his most famous scores for this movie and you’ll be humming these classics for all time. While I wouldn’t put it on my Christmas feel good films, it covers the idea of Christmas Spirit perfectly.

Other Films I’d recommend: It’s A Wonderful Life, Grinch who Stole Christmas (animated), A Christmas Story, Die Hard

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About the Author

Max

Chief Editor of Impassionedcinema. A film enthusiast who studies and creates his own films. Criticizing movies is his favorite pass-time.