Saturday, December 23, 2006

MOVIES: Christmas Movies

It's that time of the year again. Although the snow is not falling and, at least down in NC, it's about 60 degrees outside. When it’s this warm it's hard to fully get in the Christmas spirit, so I thought it would be nice to sit down in front of the tube and watch some of my favorite Christmas movies. Unfortunately it seems the network isn't interested in playing the classic Christmas movies of old. I keep seeing these crappy Scrooge rip offs over and over on all of the various networks. Like Mrs. Scrooge, Ebenezer, A Diva's Christmas Carol, A Carol Christmas. (With Tori Spelling, need I say more?) Not to mention these vapid, crappy and sacchrine kid flicks that are so PC they make me want to vomit. These stupid TV films along with the lack of snow have made this holiday feel, well, not Christmassy. So here are a few of my favorite Christmas Movies and why they should be on the boob tube right now.
1. Scrooge (1951) - This version of Scrooge is always my favorite. Starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge. It's dark and kind of spooky in the title with the booming score and the narration taken from the book. A Christmas Carol was one of my favorite of Dickens and this film captures the heart of the book and even goes beyond. They develop the character of Scrooge and why he has become so miserable because of the loss of his sister Fern. They scroll through the various ghosts like they do with every variation of this story, but better and with grade A direction. This will always be a favorite of mine and a reminder to me that it ain't Christmas until I've seen this movie.

2. A Christmas Story - If you have cable and you watch any TV over the holidays it is nearly impossible not to see this Holiday classic. They play 24 hours of a Christmas story on TBS starting on Christmas Eve. I love the story of Ralphie and his quest for a Red Rider BB gun. Peter Billingsly plays the gun crazy kid and the late Darren McGavin plays Ralphie's crusty cursing Father. You also have Flick and the frozen flagpole, The Leg Lamp affair, Scut Farkis, little brother Randy's coat of shame and the Olvaltine/Little Orphan Annie scandal. Classic. This is one of those that stall the coming of Christmas until it has been viewed at least once.

3. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Sure it's only 30 minutes, but it is one of the best. Chuck and the crew try to put on a Christmas play but no one can seem to cut Mr. Brown a break, as usual. Linus does his thing explaining the true meaning of Christmas. The best part for me about this little classic is the score. I admit that I listen to it around this time of year on my I-Pod, and at home. You see, the score is also a Jazz compilation and it's the only thing my wife is as happy as I am to hear over and over again at Christmas. No my wife isn't a Scrooge, she's Jewish.

4. Scrooged - In the 80's and early 90's Bill Murray would be funny if he was sitting in a blank room reading Crime and Punishment. Yes it's a modern re-telling of the Scrooge story but it is by far the best. The opening alone has me in stitches between Bob Goulet's Cajun Christmas and the Night the Reindeer Died with Lee Majors. "This is one Santa Who is going out the front door." Richard Donner directs this funny flick that is always a crowd pleaser and captures Murray at his best.

5.National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - This one is an instant classic that brings us another mis-adventure with the bumbly Griswolds. In my opinion this one even rivals Vacation for it's great one-liners and of course Clark's (Chevy Chase) family breakdowns dealing with burnt Christmas trees, his bonus which results in one of my favorite lines in the film refering to the happy tapping of Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and of course Jolly Assholes. Randy Quaid and Beverly Di Angelo also make this one a "Real treat."

I have a few more later but chew on these for now and I'll bring back some more tomorrow.

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