Thursday, December 2, 2010

McCurry’s Corner Top Ten Christmas Movies of All Time

Last December (2009) I published a blog article featuring YouTube clips of my favorite Christmas songs. People really seemed to enjoy them.  This year, to kick off the holiday season,  I am shifting my focus to the Cinema.

By all accounts I am a movie fanatic.  Since I was a young child I have been drawn to the big screen …  to the magic of the cinema.  I have a pretty vivid imagination. Movies relax me.  While watching a good film, I am able to close out the world around me and connect my senses to it’s story.

Not surprisingly Hollywood, since the early days of cinema, has embraced the Christmas season.  Over the years some fantastic Christmas films have been produced.  So, in the spirit of sharing, here are my picks of the best Christmas flicks ever made.

It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

This is clearly my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  It embraces the true spirit of Christmas, family tradition, hope, inspiration, humility, kindness, generosity, romance, love and the victory of good over evil, all in one film.  If you have not seen this classic you should soon.  This movie is listed as one of the top 100 films ever made, and for its star,Jimmy Stewart, it was one of his finest moments.

Here is a clip of the “Lasso the Moon” scene, featuring Donna Reed … it really gives you a true flavor of the movie.

Holiday Inn (1942) and White Christmas (1954)

Both of these movies were musicals.  They featured the songs of Irving Berlin, who most notably wrote the classic Christmas song, “White Christmas” for the first film.  Bing Crosby starred in both of them, with Fred Astaire (Holiday Inn) and Danny Kaye (White Christmas) splitting duties as the other leading actor.

A Christmas Carol (1938)

Whichever version of this movie you watch, and there are countless options, it is family tradition for many.  The story will warm your heart and validates some of life’s most important lessons.  One of the darker (and more frightening) adaptations of Dicken’s classic story was released, for television in 1984, and starred George C. Scott.  Here is a clip, from that film, entitled “Marley’s Ghost.”

A Christmas Story (1983)

Arguably, this may be one of the funniest Christmas movies released of all time.  The story, set in the 1940’s midwest, and told narratively (as in the TV Show “The Wonder Years”) centers on a nine-year-old kid, Ralphie, and his obsession with a Red Ryder BB gun, the only thing he wants for Christmas.

There are a number of humorous sub-plots all interacting together in this picture providing the viewer one laugh after another.  My favorite scene in the film is one in which Ralphie finally confronts the neighborhood bully, Scut, who is twice his size and ends up beating the crap out of him.

Home Alone (1990)

This film, the first of a series of four movies, launched young Macaulay Culkin’s acting career.  Like “A Christmas Story” it is a coming-of-age story.   Set in Chicago, 8-year-old Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind, by his family heading out on vacation.

Two thieves attempt to rob the house and young Kevin, creates homemade booby traps to foil their plans.  This movie became the third highest grossing film of its time.  I enjoy watching it every single year, as it offers non-stop laughs.

Miracle on 34th St (1947)

This film, a perennial favorite of many folks across the world who celebrate Christmas, won Four Academy Awards. Starring the classy and beautiful Maureen O’hara, and John Payne, the story centers around a department store Santa Claus, played by Edmund Gwynn, whom many people believe may be the real deal.

Many words have been used to describe this film including hilarious, romantic, tender, charming, delightful, exciting and groovy.  Amazingly, Even today this film still retains its popularity.  In 2005, Miracle on 34th Street was honored by being selected for preservation, in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Scrooged (1988)

A modernized, humorous and slightly warped version of the classic story “A Christmas Carol” this movie is vintage Bill Murray humor and sarcasm.  You will laugh for certain, and in the end the magical chemistry between Murray and Karen Allen is heartwarming.  Here is a clip of the infamous “Hammer Scene.”

The Conductor

The Polar Express (2004)

A computer animated film, based upon the children’s book of the same name, this cutting-edge movie featured the use of Performance capture technology.

Performance capture technology incorporates the movements of live actors into animated characters.  The result was particularly stunning, especially for 2004.  Watch this scene called “Hot Chocolate” to preview the special effects.

Tom Hanks played six roles in this movie, including that of The Conductor.  The music and the story is magical, and absolutely worth a look.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

-Christmas would not be Christmas without the Griswolds. This movies is a must-see during the holiday season. As usual Clark Griswold, played by the incomporable Chevy Chase, does not know how to handle himself around beautiful women, as witnessed in this hilarious yet sexy shopping scene click here.

Christmas Vacation is the third in a series of six films all focusing on this twisted family.   I can’t imagine a Christmas season without watching this humorous, satirical look at the holiday tradition.

To all my readers I wish you a warm and happy holiday season.  Thanks for taking an interest in my blog over the past year and look forward to continued conversations in 2011.  CHEERS!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine Melendes December 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Hi Mike,
I was just thinking I wish I had a blog where I could post my favorite holiday themed movies. Some missing that I would included:

Elf – Will Farrell at his best!

Desk Set – with Audrey Hepburn and Spencer Tracey – it’s awesome and I wish office holiday parties were like the one they have!

Love Actually – sappy, chick-flick that makes me happy.

Agree with the above (except maybe the Christmas Vacation…ehhh)!

And, even though it was a TV special – I have a special fondness for Charlie Brown’s Christmas!!!!

Thanks for bringing a smile to my face this afternoon!!!

Christine

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP December 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Hi Christine,

Sorry for my tardiness in responding to your comment.

I like “Elf” too, actually considered adding it to the list. I am not familiar with the other two flicks you mentioned… will have to check them out.

Thanks for adding to the conversation and Happy Holidays!

Mike

Reply

Frances Archer December 8, 2010 at 8:12 am

Happy Holidays, Mike. You didn’t miss any of my favorites.

Reply

Michael M McCurry CMP December 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Hi Frances,

So glad to hear I covered them all.

Happy Holidays to you!

Mike

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