With Christmas only 2 weeks away (wait, what?!), I thought it high time to unveil my own personal top 12 list of Holiday faves. Here goes nothing:
Just saw this for the first time last week and was hooked in the first five minutes by a powerful Gospel moment. An elf, delivering presents on Christmas Eve with the help of a “naughty-or-nice-o-meter”, comes across a boy who has been a bit too naughty to deserve anything. The elf frowns, promptly turns the device on himself and imputes to the boy the presents that the elf deserves. Sold!
11. Love Actually
A bit maudlin, of course, but the use of The Beach Boys alone is enough, not to mention the brilliant cast (Colin Firth, Laura “I’m Laura Linney and this is Masterpiece Classic” Linney, Keira Knightley (I like her!), etc…)
Bill Murray. Boom.
9. A Christmas Carol (The Zemeckis/Jim Carrey one)
I was prepared to hate this, but was enchanted, mainly because it’s so scary! It really captures the pathos of the Dickens classic, methinks (that’s my new fave word, apparently). WAY better than The Polar Express, which drags on. and on. and on. and on. and on…
8. & 7. It’s a Wonderful Life & A Christmas Story
These are genius, and have to be included, but so obligatory as to be almost mundane. If you’ve never read the Mbird piece about George Bailey and co from a couple of years ago, run don’t walk!
6. Die Hard
5. Bad Santa
Do not, under any circumstances, watch this movie with your children, your parents, or anyone else around whom you might get a bit embarrassed. Come to think of it, don’t ever watch this movie.
Which brings us to the big four:
4. Home Alone
It stands up! Ridiculously funny, for the whole family. Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, honey, feathers, singed scalps and cans of paint. ‘Nuff said.
3. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.
Best of the Vacation series. Placed this high, if for no other reason than what it did to my then-7-year-old son. I can’t tell the story here, but suffice it to say that he REALLY liked the lingerie-model-in-the-imaginary-back-yard-pool scene. Big shout out to JL-D, too (“I don’t KNOW, Margo!”).
I actually taught a cooking class that had Daniel Tay (Will Ferrell’s little bro) in it. Watch this movie and try not to think about Tyrion Lannister. Jimmy Caan, Zooey Deschanel… You sit on a throne of lies!
1. About a Boy
Not just my favorite Christmas movie of all time, but perhaps my favorite movie, period. You will never find a more perfect synthesis of humor, music (Badly Drawn Boy), gut-wrenching truth and cathartic grace. A perfect Gospel movie. Watch it tonight, and tomorrow night, and the night after.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.