The Story Geeks blogger Anthony Holdier responds with an additional perspective to the same topic discussed in this week’s special holiday podcast – our favorite Christmas films. Want to share your own take? Join the conversation in The Story Geeks Facebook group!
Okay, this was actually a hard one for me to put together; not because I don’t like Christmas, but mainly because (for whatever reason) I missed a lot of the “classic” Christmas movies out there. For example: I’ve seen A Christmas Story exactly once…and that was only about two or three years ago. Also, I find Love Actually creepy and words cannot express my distaste for It’s a Wonderful Life. So, with that disclaimer, here’s my top five:
5. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
I’m not sure if it’s because we lived overseas for a while when I was young, but I don’t remember watching many movies as part of any Christmas tradition. This, however, is one exception (we actually had a VHS recording of it prepped to take with us when my family was stationed out of the country). Besides the nostalgia, I still enjoy the quirky characters (“Herbie the Dentist Elf” was my screenname on MSN messenger for a while in high school) and the stop-motion animation is a lot of fun.
4. Home Alone (a.k.a. “Die Hard, Jr.”)
Although I had seen bits and pieces along the way, this is a movie that I never watched in full until I was in high school (or maybe later, actually…); nevertheless, it’s become a holiday staple. I love physical comedy, so Kevin’s contraptions hit the spot.
Side note: for some reason, I had did have a much-watched VHS copy of Home Alone 3 (with the toy car and the missile chip) – bonus points to anyone who knows (sans Google) which Avenger was in that one!
3. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I love whimsical neologisms, so Dr. Seuss is always my jam; add the simple animation and charming soundtrack (learn the name ‘Thurl Ravenscroft’ if you want to win a bar trivia game someday) and you’ve got a recipe for success. The Jim Carrey version was tolerable, but don’t talk to me about Cumberbatch.
2. Die Hard
Preface: shut up.
I know that it’s all “fashionable” and whatnot to argue about whether this one counts as a Christmas movie – I’ve entered into that debate myself (and have been doing since long before 2017 when such debates came into fashion). But that’s not the point: ever since my partner learned that I had never seen Die Hard, we have made it our holiday tradition to watch the film (we started while dating and just celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, so…you do the math). If you haven’t caught on by now, nostalgia plays a big role in my “favorite movie” rankings, so this one is hard to beat.
So, I’ll save the “Christmasyness” debate for somewhere else; in general, people seem to agree that it’s a good movie (because, well, obviously). It’s an exciting thriller with just the right blend of action, humor, and plenty of quotable lines. Bruce Willis shines as a much-needed, but completely unexpected savior coming at just the right time to confound the rich and powerful and set the captives free – what on Earth sounds ‘Christmasy’ about that? o:-)
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
In a very real way, Charles Dickens created our modern conception of the Christmas holiday. Similarly, in a very real way, the Muppets shaped my sense of humor growing up (Gonzo is my role model), so it’s hard not to love this film. Along with Rudolph, this was the other Christmas movie that I grew up watching; I still find myself randomly humming “there goes Mr. Hum-bug; there goes Mr. Grim” on random Tuesdays in July.
For a holiday that’s focused so strongly on charity and family, The Muppet Christmas Carol hits all the right buttons – the fact that it could also crack jokes and introduce me to Michael Caine was just the whipped cream on top.