My friend Carl over at I'd Laugh . . . but All Happened to Me! made his top ten list of Christmas movies, which got me to thinking about my favorite top ten movies! I hereby submit this list for your perusal and for the edification of your Christmas spirit!
10. The Santa Clause - I grew up in a household which looooved Tim Allen. We were Home Improvement junkies and I remember many evenings us hurrying to finish dinner so we didn't miss this prime-time favorite. I'm also a big fan of his memoir "Don't Stand too Close to a Naked Man!" . Naturally when this movie came out we were all excited to see Tim Allen as the Santa Clause and he did not disappoint! Favorite scene - When Calvin has to take his son to Denny's for their Christmas meal after absolutely failing at preparing one at home. The only other folks in there are other divorcee Dads that have been dealt a similar cooking fate and a huge Japanese businessman party! Good times!
9. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Ah yes, the Griswolds! What Christmas is complete without Cousin Eddy or the famous prayer said by Aunt Bethany! I love this movie for many reasons but mostly because it just there are so many great lines: "Clark, Audrey can't feel her legs anymore!" or the popular one that Jun and I sing in the car: "Take it away Russ! . . . Fa la la la la la la la la!"
8. Scrooged - Taking the old "A Christmas Carol" tale and spinning it into a wonderful homage to the 80's and all it's money grubbing "greed is good" mentality makes this movie totally awesome! Well that and the fact that all the Christmas spirits totally rock! David Johansen's line "Niagara Falls!" said in that thick New York cabbie accent has to be one of my favorite lines in the movie. That and Carol Kane's "Sometimes you just have to bop them in the head!" Well that and when Frank tries to convince the network to staple antlers onto the mice heads. Good times!
7. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - OK, I know this isn't a Christmas movie per se, but I always remember watching the 1979 animated version at my grandparent's house when I was over there for Christmas dinner. I know the new improved live action one is pretty awesome but I just like this version. Maybe it's the cheesy animation, maybe it's the weird 70's clothing on the kids, or maybe it's just the fact that my Uncle Scott taped it for me all those years ago and I get to watch 80's commercials along with the movie but I just love this movie for this time of year. Who doesn't love the singing Chicken McNugget Commercials?
6. Home for the Holidays - OK, so this is not exactly the most uplifting typical holiday movie BUT it totally makes you feel OK for not having the Normal Rockwell family for the holidays and it even makes you want to embrace it. Holly Hunter is awesome and Robert Downey, Jr. is the best crazy kid brother/uncle you could ever want to have. Also Anne Bancroft is a total show-stopper as the chain-smoking and wildly inappropriate mother. Best line - "Get in the house before we're all on the evening news!"
5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - You cannot, I repeat cannot have Christmas without the Grinch, roast beast, or Cindy Lou Who. One thing that always makes me smile is seeing poor Max the dog with that lone antler tied to his head hefting that big sleigh.
4. A Christmas Story - Yes, I know that this is obvious, but I love the slice of Americana that is "A Christmas Story". I love the voice over narration of the older Ralphie. I love the pink bunny suit and I love the "leg lamp". Fa ra ra ra ra ra!
3. The Nightmare before Christmas - Although some would say this is technically a Halloween tale, I still love this movie for Christmas. Jack Skellington's search for Christmas and all the mayhem that ensues as a result of this is just awesome. Plus I looove the musical score and will sometimes sing "Making Christmas" around the house or "What's This?" when baking cookies. Danny Elfman is a musical genius!
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Charles Schultz understood the power of children being story-tellers and I think this movie exhibits this the most profoundly. Charlie and the gang go through the season doing all the typical Christmas stuff but Charlie is left feeling bereft and without the true meaning of Christmas. I have often felt like this when getting so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season without taking time to pause and realize why the heck I'm doing all this hoo-ha. When Linus does the simple reading from the gospel of Luke about the coming of Jesus I still get chills. Just pure awesome.
1. It's a Wonderful Life - I did not watch this movie in it's entirety until I was 25 years old. I always knew about it and had often scoffed at it for being pure holiday kitsch but now I'm a believer and it takes my number one spot. George Bailey's journey from a man who has been beaten down by the circumstances of his life to becoming a truly grateful man for that very same life is a beautiful story and always moves me to no end. It always makes me pause and count my blessings and thank the good Lord above for all that He has given me.