Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top Ten Holiday Movies

The best thing about Christmas, besides champagne, is Christmas movies (and okay, what I really mean is HOLIDAY movies, but when I say Christmas I say it as a total pagan, so just back off).

Today I'm seeing my all-time favorite, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, on the big screen for the first time. Can't beat that for Christmas Eve!!

But you all know how I love lists, so here it is, the Top Ten Holiday Movie List.


A non-escapist fantasy that puts you through the emotional wringer only to emerge the feel-good - that's, feel GOOD - film of all time.

Used to show it to my gang kids in prison school – it remains one of the all-time highlights of my life to see those kids start out whining that I was showing them a black and white film and then watch them fall under this movie’s spell. Oh man, did they GET it.


George Cukor directing a Donald Ogden Stewart & Sidney Buchman adaptation of a Philip Barry play starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Anything else you need to know?


See above, plus Jimmy Stewart, and the brilliant and under-known Ruth Hussey (“Oh, I just photograph well.”) and Virginia Weidler as the weirdest little sister on the planet (“I did it. I did it ALL.”) Not a holiday movie, per se, but if you’re looking for cheer...


The ultimate escapist fantasy. Yes, let me make a living doing 12 live shows a year, simultaneously keeping two men at my beck and call, one who sings, one who dances. Where do I sign? Best line: “But I do love you, Jim. I love everybody.” Best song: “Be Careful, It’s My Heart”. Best dance - Fred and the firecrackers. Best cat-fight moment: Marjorie Reynolds trying to look contented with Bing Crosby while Fred is dancing up a storm with Virginia Dale.  (But be sure to get the one with the appalling Lincoln's birthday sequence edited out...)


Best Christmas musical soundtrack there is – one great song after another - only the whole thing makes me cry so hard I generally end up avoiding it.


BBC series written by and starring John Cleese and Connie Booth, with Cleese as the most incompetent innkeeper in the history of innkeeping. The entire series is genius, every single episode - not exactly holiday themed, either, but guaranteed healer of depression and all other ills. Be prepared to laugh until you're sick.


My brother turned the fam onto AB FAB and now it just wouldn’t be a holiday without Patsy and Eddy and Saffy. Sin is in, sweetie.


Okay, so I’m not technically a Christian or anything, but I can see God in those two shows.

So give. What movies mean Christmas, or the equivalent, to YOU?

Have a wonderful holiday!!!

- Alex


Maureen Harrington said...

Alex, Steve and I are watching it's a wonderful life right now—as we have done each year since we met years ago. We always discover something new or have something to think about, and we do end up feeling good about almost everything.

Shannon said...

Ab Fab is one of my all time favorites, too.
I love the movie the Ref. Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacy and Christine Baranski. It'll make you laugh, cringe and think about what's really important.

Don said...

Not so much a feel good movie, but probably one of the few noir Xmas films, "Lady in the Lake" great dialog in the screenplay by Steve Fisher based on the Raymond Chandler novel.
Directed by and staring Robert Montgomery, the movie is shot almost entirely from Philip Marlowe's POV. Audrey Totter gives a fabulous, over the top performance.
Happy holidays with a .32 caliber punch.

Kameko Murakami said...

Die Hard, obviously!

Nothing says Christmas like John McClane.