Hot on the heels of my list of Best Christmas Cartoons comes my list of Best Christmas Movies, however, I have to say, there are five movies that I have not included because, well, it almost goes without saying that they are the classics and the best of the best.
They have stood the test of time (and generations) and I feel it goes without saying – Holiday Inn (1942), Meet Me in St Louis (1944), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and A Christmas Carol (1951).
– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –
(Listed in no particular order but definitely starting with a personal favourite.)
Love Actually (2003) Rated M.
I loved this movie almost a much a Notting Hill and usually sit down to watch it each year.
It’s a feel-good movie that (for me) has become a classic for the festive season and I love the way it takes you on a journey through ten separate yet intertwined stories, each one focusing on the crazy complexity of love and, while it’s too hard to briefly explain the relationships in this movie, I found the following on Wikipedia that gives you a bit of an idea of how the stories are knitted into a wonderful, and successful, tapestry.
While the story of Billy and Joe stands alone, their story is injected into the other stories via radios and televisions in particular scenes and Rowan Atkinson’s unnamed character (the tenth story) impacts upon two other stories.
Bill Nighy (who plays the character Billy) singing the final polished version of ‘Christmas is All Around’ is a treat.
Set in London, Love Actually is a romantic comedy written and directed by Richard Curtis, the man responsible for films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) – loved it – Notting Hill (1999)– Yes, I loved it – Bridget Jone’s Diary (2001) – I liked it (don’t hold that against me) – and most recently, About Time (2013) – Yes, I loved this one too.
(Have you guessed that I’m a movie buff?)
But Love Actually is a movie for this time of the year and it has many highlights and heart-warming moments. Hugh Grant is very likeable, and lovable, as The British Prime Minister, Alan Rickman is as outstanding as he always is/was, Emma Thompson effortlessly sells her character’s heartbreak, Rowan Aitkenson will have you in stitches as the salesperson wrapping a Christmas gift, and Colin Firth speaking broken Portuguese is very memorable. And the list of big names goes on Keira Nightly, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson and Martine McCutcheon.
It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, I still tear up.
Home Alone (1990) Rated PG.
When 8-year-old Kevin is accidentally left ‘home alone’ for the Chrismas holidays he has to fend for himself and protect his family’s house from two robbers/con men. This movie features some of the most iconic scenes and many memorable one-liners – “Why the hell you dressed like a chicken?” (Marv) and “Keep the change, ya filthy animal.” (Johnny the Gangster). For a movie marathon, watch the sequel and see what Kevin get up to two years later in Home Alone 2 – Lost in New York (1992).
The Holiday (2006) Rated M.
This is a Christmas romantic comedy starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black and tells the tale of two women who meet via a home exchange website and (impulsively) swap homes for the holidays in order to escape their problems. I loved this movie because it made me feel good and sometimes that’s (very) important and besides, I love Kate Winslet and watch anything she’s in.
Deck the Halls (2017) Rated PG.
A suburban Christmas lover finds his well-ordered existence suddenly chaotic with the arrival of a new neighbour who has big dreams and even bigger plans to illuminate his house with enough holiday lights to make it visible from space. Both Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito are brilliant in this holiday war of one-upmanship.
Elf (2003) Rated G.
This movie is hilarious and takes you on a journey of discovery as an elf makes his way from Santa’s workshop into the real world (of New York) in order find his father and it’s perfect if you’re into comedies. There are many lessons we can learn through the innocent eyes of Buddy the Elf played by Will Ferrell – “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Oh, and that maple syrup goes on everything – even spaghetti. This movie was inspired by Harry Connick Jr.’s original song “The Happy Elf”.
Jingle All The Way (1996) Rated PG.
Will Arnold Schwarzenegger do ‘anything’ to make sure his son gets the toy of his dreams for Christmas? The answer to that question is Yes. This is another comedy and tells of a father’s frantic efforts to score the last Turbo-Man action figure for his son for Christmas. Not so hard, but he has left it til Christmas Eve to do so. Did you know this movie was inspired by the real-life Christmas toy sell-outs (and hence, the frantic efforts of parents) for products such as the Cabbage Patch Kids and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?
Four Christmases (Four Holidays) (2008) Rated M.
When their plans for an exotic vacation to somewhere warm fall apart, an unmarried couple finds themselves spending Christmas Day visiting all four of their divorced parents’ homes on Christmas Day. While it looks like a disaster, they realise that the time they spent with their family wasn’t so bad after all.
The Santa Clause (1994) Rated PG.
What happens when Santa gets knocked out of commission? Tim Allen stars as Scott Calvin, whose initials just happen to the be same as Santa’s, and he discovers exactly what happens after accidentally causing the death of the man in the red suit. But, he has one year to sort out his affairs before permanently taking on this role – aka the ‘clause’. I loved references to Tim ‘The Toolman’ Taylor and the sequel, The Sants Clause 2. Both movies are equally as good as each other. I think I’ve also seen the third movie – The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause – but at the moment I can’t remember it.
Scrooged (1988) Rated M.
My girls love Bill Murray and this film is as delightful as Groundhog Day, and one of their favourites. It’s a modern spin on Charles Dickens’ classic – A Christmas Carol. Murray’s character has, in the pursuit of success, driven away the love of his life. In true Dickens fashion, he is visited by a series of ghosts who give him a chance to re-evaluate his life and all those choices he made.
And finally, a few others thrown in for good measure.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004) Rates PG – could you decide to miss Christmas altogether?
Die Hard (1988) Rated M – that definitive holiday action thriller.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Rated M – that classic yule-time crackup.
I deliberately stayed away from movies rated M15+ or above – Not that there are many of them that I would put on the list, but there are a couple, one starring Billy Bob Thornton, and another starring Mila Kunis that I found quite funny. I also stayed away from any (and all) remakes of A Miracle on 34th Street.
Here’s a list of movies I’ll try to find time to watch this year:
- The Man Who Invented Christmas – I need to see this one.
- The Christmas Chronicles – For a second time. (Kate arrives next Saturday, and we’ll watch together.)
- A Christmas Story – I can’t believe I’ve never seen it, maybe I have.
Is there a Christmas movie that you love?
Let me know and, if I’ve not seen it, I’ll put it on my viewing list.