Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas movies

Films to get you and your family in the holiday spirit photo courtesy of A.J. DiAntonio


The stacks of presents have been opened, and you are stuffed full of all the Christmas dinner you could handle. Now is the perfect time to cuddle up with your loved ones and keep the holiday spirit alive with a movie. There's a movie to choose from in just about every genre out there. Here's a breakdown of a few of them.

First you have your classics, the most popular of which has to be "It's a Wonderful Life," released in 1946, about an angel who attempts to earn his wings by helping a suicidal businessman see what life would've been like if he never existed.

"What can I say about 'It's A Wonderful Life' that hasn't already been said?" Brad Lang writes at "If you've seen it, you ... enjoyed it or didn't pay attention or are a genuine cynic. If you haven't yet seen it, I'd like to know your secret to avoiding it."

Other classics include the 1947 film "Miracle on 34th Street," starring Maureen O'Hara; "A Christmas Carol," which came out in 1951; and, what Lang calls "a Holiday staple for decades," "A Christmas Story," released in 1983.

"The sappy title might have scared away some people who weren't in the mood for saccharine, but I can assure you there's nothing cloying about this very funny movie," Lang writes on his website. "It's full of memorable lines and screwball moments. ... One of those films you never tire of watching, and great for all ages."

Then there are your animated Christmas movies/TV specials, such as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (1964), "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" (1970), "Frosty the Snowman" (1969), "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965) and the ever-popular "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" (1966), which IMDb describes as being about "a grumpy hermit (who) hatches a plan to steal Christmas from the Whos of Whoville."

Next up are comedies, which include the 2000 remake of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" with the always hilarious Jim Carrey, "Christmas Vacation" (1989), "Scrooged" (1988), "Elf" (2003), "Trading Places" (1983) and "Home Alone" (1990), the John Hughes romp about an 8-year-old who is accidentally left home alone when his family leaves for the holidays and must defend his home against burglars.

For those who can't resist a good love story over the holidays, there's a long list of romantic comedies that take place during Christmas, including "The Holiday" (2006), "Love Actually" (2003), "The Family Man" (2000), "The Family Stone" (2005), "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945), "The Bishop's Wife" (1948), "Holiday Inn" (1942) and "White Christmas" (1954), starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, whose characters are a successful song-and-dance team searching for romance and the Christmas spirit at a failing inn in Vermont.

And of course, there are always those movies that deviate a little from the "warm and fuzzy" norm, such as the action-adventure Christmas classics "Lethal Weapon," released in 1987, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and "Die Hard," released in 1988 and starring Bruce Willis as a New York cop who is struggling to get his personal life in order when he must get his act together to save his wife and others from terrorists.

And we must not forget the raunch that is "Bad Santa," the 2003 film starring Billy Bob Thornton as a potty-mouthed, booze-guzzling conman who poses as Santa to rob department stores on Christmas Eve.

"The holy bastard of all (Kriss Kringle) flicks, Bad Santa is so fun and ugly you sometimes forget that you are witnessing a modern-day Christmas villain at the height of his powers," says about the movie. "This Santa is baaad—and not in the Michael Jackson sense of the word."

So, no matter what your taste in movies may be—from the nostalgic and sentimental to the profane—there's sure to be a Christmas flick for you to enjoy. Happy picking.

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