Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First Class Schmaltz!

By Lisa Karon Richardson

P.T. Barnum is credited with saying that there’s a sucker born every minute. Well, I’m one of them. At least when it comes to Christmas movies.

Here's my personal top ten countdown:

10. The Polar Express-Even with Tom Hanks overload, I want a ticket on that train. And I want to hear the bell ring.

9. Prep and Landing-Premiered just last year, but I enjoyed the tale of the elves who have to make sure that the houses are all ready for Santa’s visit. Think Mission Impossible with Christmas elves.

8. Miracle on 34th Street-Classic. Good storytelling and great characters. I think my favorite part is when Kris Kringle bops the pettifogging manager over the head.

7. Home Alone-Oh, that Kevin, and his hijinks. Just love his shenanigans as he singlehandedly battles the bad guys and protects his home, before being reunited with his parents.

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas-The animated version. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and my heart grows three sizes bigger when I watch it, I feel strong enough to hold a sleigh piled high with gifts. Or at least, strong enough to face the mall again for one last mad dash.

5. Elf-I know it annoys some people, but I love this movie. It is a riot. Humongous Will Ferrell in an elf costume. Come on, what’s not to love? (My husband disagrees!)

4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer-I know the stop motion animation is cheesy and it looks a little shabbier every year, but I don’t care. I love Rudolph and Hermie the elf who wants to be a dentist, and all the misfit toys.

3. Mickey’s Christmas Carol-Yep, the Disney version with Mickey Mouse and Scrooge McDuck. I know. I know, my husband thinks I’m crazy because I like cartoons as much now as I did when I was kid. I know my tastes aren’t sophisticated. Like I said, I’m a sucker!

2. It’s a Wonderful Life-Makes me cry every time. And I love it!

1. White Christmas-My all time favorite Christmas movie. I love it when Bing Crosby sings Count Your Blessings to Rosemary Clooney. I love it when General Waverly appears in the dining room and the big surprise is all ready for him. I love the songs and the dancing, and the sheer joyful lightheartedness of it.

Okay, so we’ve established that I’m a goof with the tastes of a 7 year-old. Now I turn the mic over to you, what are your favorites? What great ones have I missed?


  1. Great choices! I confess I don't think that I've seen all of these, but I just LOVE The Polar Express and Rudolph! (I also love Frosty and the other animated ones in that collection!)

    Another of my favorites is Christmas Vacation. So funny! ;)

    And Jingle All the Way! :D


  2. I can't believe I didn't include Christmas Vacation! It's actually tradition at our house to watch that movie each year. Chevy Chase is so stinkin' funny. I think my favorite part is when he chops down the tree in the yard and brings it in, only to have the squirrel get loose in the house!

    I love Frosty too.

    Is Jingle All the Way, the one with the dad trying to find the hot action figure for his son?

    Now, I'm thinking I should have made more then a 10 point countdown!

  3. I can go awhile without most of these. Elf is a sweet movie and I love Miracle on 34th. But oh my I love White Christmas so much. The plotter part of me struggles with the speed of that train between the lodge and NYC every time but . . . oh I love that movie.

    Oh, that Jimmy Stewart movie? What's the name of it again? just kidding. It has a special place in my heart. I just had my photo taken with Zuzu this week. How's that for name dropping?

  4. I love Elf, Jingle all the Way, and the Year Without a Santa Claus with Heatmiser and Coldmiser. Oh, and a Christmas Story, can't forget that one.

  5. One of my favorites is a Charlie Brown Christmas. Remember when Linus reads the scripture about the birth of Jesus and all around him is hushed. I love that part!

  6. Deb, look at you brushing shoulders wih celebs!

    Oh, and the stop in NYC was totally irrelevant. I'm glad they didn't bother with that part in White Christmas. Getme straight to Vermont and all that SNOW, Snow, snow, snow, SNOW.

  7. Besides the ones you listed, a couple of my "must sees" over the holidays are Christmas in Connecticut (great 40s romantic comedy), Holiday Inn, and While You Were Sleeping. I know WYWS is not technically a Christmas movie, but since it takes place mostly in the week between Christmas and New Year, I think it counts! Most of my favs are the oldies, but for the past several years we've kicked off the Christmas movie brigade with Elf on Thanksgiving night!

  8. Dina, do you the name of the one with Bergermeister Meisterbergher? I like it too.

    And A Christmas Story is classic. Love the look on Ralphie's face when he finally gets to Santa's lap and the "jolly old elf" tells him he'd shoot his eye out if he gets a red ryder bb gun.

  9. Wendy, that's a good one! There seemed to be so much more reverence for the holiness of the day, back then. I saw a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the store the other day. And I mean not just a pitiful looking little specimen. But an official one, designed on prupose to look like the one in the movie.

    I almost bought it for my office at work.

  10. ooh, Anne, I don't think I've seen Christmas in Connecticut. I'm going to have to look that up!

  11. Lisa, I was thinking of when Bob hops to NYC to be on the Ed Sullivan show and hops back in a matter of a couple hours. Bullet train?

    "I count my blessings instead of sleep!"

    I guess I need to see Christmas in Connecticut and the Bishop's Wife.

    btw, I took my kids to see Ernest Saves Christmas the year it came out. I notice it has been left off everyone's list. Hmmm. Wonder why.

  12. Charlie Brown Christmas!!! Love the Linus speech ending with "that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown."

    all the stop action Christmas films. I wish they'd play those on TV more often. I'm 42 and love all things animated!

    Of course, A Christmas Story and White Christmas are must sees each Christmas too.

    I do like the Santa Clause films with Tim Allen as well.

    Great lists from everyone.

  13. National Lampoon's CHRSITMAS VACATION is the one movie we ALWAYS watch. Hmm, have we seen it once or twice already? Only wish it didn't have the scene with lingere clerk.

    Wouldn't it be awesome to see the cast reuinited for CV 2: 20 years later? Chevy Chase is hilarious on COMMUNITY. And Johnny Galecki is fablous on BIG BANG THEORY.

    'Course someone would have to get Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) out of jail.

    I also like SCROOGED with Bill Murray. Of course, watching him in that remindes me how much I love GROUND HOG DAY, which is the ultimate hero-focused romance. Love it! Why am I suddenly feeling the need to watch ZOMBIELAND and WHAT ABOUT BOB?

    Now one movie I haven't seen in a year or two or three is TOYS with Robin Williams, Robin Wright (pre-Penn) and Joan Cusak. I utterly love the soundtrack, especially the Christmas song at the beginning and end of the movie.

  14. Ooh, I'm with Anne and I love "While You Were Sleeping." I think of it as a Christmas movie, too-- after all, the action starts at Christmas. Let's call it a "Twelfth Night" movie. :-)

    Deb, I still don't own "The Bishop's Wife" but I love it and I think you'd like it, too. Cary Grant, ice skating...

    Lisa, I liked "Prep and Landing," too. And the Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol. My favorite of the Rankin Bass shows is "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," with the young, red-haired Santa and the Burgermeister Meisterburger.

    We always watch "The Nativity Story," the movie that came out a few years ago with the girl who was in "Whale Rider" as Mary. Just watched Rudolph, "A Christmas Story" (love the leg lamp), "Scrooged," and (please don't diss me!) the Shrek Christmas special. We love that show for some reason. It's nuts, but the overwhelming theme is that Christmas is about something more than the trappings of stuff and even about something more than the people. And I also personally enjoy the scene where Gingerbread Susie gets eaten by the Godzilla-like Santa, LOL.

  15. Deb H, I completely forgot the Santa Clause, too. Those were cute.

  16. Gina, I had Scrooged on my list and it got bumped. But I really like that one too. What About Bob is an awesome movie.

    Oh and I'm with you on the scene with the clerk in CV. I think what really bugs me about it is that it's totally gratuitous. Doesn't really feed into the overall plot. The movie was funny without the need for that.

  17. Susie, I have not seen the Shrek Christmas special.

    Thanks everyone, for helping me feel less lonely! Other adults do to like cartoons, so there!

  18. No. One Ernest Saves Christmas is enough for me.

    I'm glad we've started a movement to make While you were Sleeping a Christmas movie.

    Shrek the Halls! gotta love the baby ogres.

  19. Yeah, I'm okay with declaring While You Were Sleeping a Christmas movie!

    If anyone's interested, Prep and Landing is going to be on ABC Family tonight. *In my best announcer's voice (check local listing for time and channel) Hurray!

  20. Lisa!!!
    Great post... I once watched The Flintstone's Cristmas Carol when my twins were too sick to go to my mil's on Christmas Eve....yeah, I liked it...

  21. I think I've seen that one, Cheryl, but if so it's been so long ago I don't really remember it.

    But I did watch Prep and Landing last night.


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