Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday Movie Guide - Part II

Number 4

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
Clark and Ellen do their best to make the best of their family-filled holiday. I can only hope my future Christmas celebrations aren't this wild. but sometimes I do wish it were this crazy. I can label some of these characters as my own family members.

Oh, that pretty lady on the left is Nicolette Scorsese.

Number 3

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Another must-see on the holiday list (the original, not the updated version from 1994). I think to some extent the court scene helped push me toward a Criminal Justice degree. Maybe I should have been a movie critic instead, but I still want to cheer the lawyer on when those letters come rolling in. And I cheer when the Macy's psych doctor gets his noggin knocked. If it's good enough to be remade, then it's good enough for you to watch.

Maureen O'Hara (the mother) can also be seen in the original Parent Trap (also as the mother), Rio Grande, The Quiet Man, and many other movies. Natalie Wood (little Susan) went on to be in Rebel Without A Cause, West Side Story, and Gypsy before drowning in 1981. The circumstances of her death are questionable and Christopher Walken was present.

Number 2

A Christmas Story (1983)
I'll shoot your eye out if you don't watch this movie. There's a reason some cable channels play this movie all day on Christmas and it's because Jean Sheppard has an insane sense of humor. By representing one of the most romanticized eras in American history, we can all dream about what we want our Christmas to be like. The odd thing is, my Dad bought me my first BB-gun a few years after this came out and a few years before it became a cult classic. And now, the mecca for fans has opened in Cleveland. Ralphie's house.

Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) has gone on to be a producer, writer, and director. Darren McGavin (the old man) passed away this past February. My Summer Story is the sequel.

Number 1

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
Jimmy Stewart is the spirit of Christmas in this movie. I've been watching it since I was a kid and it was likely the first "classic" movie I ever saw. While the colorized version was popular on TV for some time, I'm happy to say the original B&W version has made a come-back. This is the all-time Christmas movie. Every "common" man out there can relate tot he stress of the holidays and should see this as a great wake-up call. Things really aren't that bad. From this movie, I learned to appreciate the art of movies. Stewart became my Hollywood hero and allowed me to enjoy his acting in the west, on Capitol Hill, and opposite an invisible rabbit.

The police officer and the cab driver are Bert and Ernie. Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart also teamed up for Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aaaaahhhh, yes! National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation... Great movie, I like that one better than A Christmas Story only because I enjoy the climaxing of the holiday stress. The old uncle (or grandpa, I can't remember, since I don't watch the Christmas specials all that often) cracks me up, especially when he lights his cigar outside by the man-hole. The cat biting into the power cord is hilarious as hell, too.

Good stuff! But on a little more of a serious note, Home for the Holidays is also a pleasant movie, it really brings home that family aura and yet still shows how families can become torn by seperation.

Nice choices though...


P.S.: The best Christmas movies of all though are...

Die Hard I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and XIII - 10, 11, and twelve never made it into production so technically they couldn't be included. :-D
Just kidding!!!