For the past 10 years, Just Friends has provided us with the perfect holiday date movie; its time to recognize. This romantic comedy is both hilarious and charming while never straying too far away from Christmas movie territory. Ryan Reynolds delivers his greatest comedic performances (fat suit) and Anna Faris shines in her supporting role as pop star Samantha James. Amy Smart (what happened to her?) is also adorable. Tell me Jamie Palamino isnt the greatest name for a legendary long-lost hometown crush; it is. Oh, and Julie Hagerty (Airplane) plays the funniest movie-Mom weve seen in a while.
(Writing song lyrics)
1992 marked the pinnacle of Tim Burtons visual stylization, and it revolved around Christmas in Gotham. Boy, what a bleak Christmas it was. The entire movie is dark and sinister; we love it. As a Christmas movie, Batman Returns certainly delivers the right pageantry: lots of snow, mistletoe, and a tree lighting ceremony where The Penguin unleashes a murderous gang of circus folk into the streets as his gift to the people of Gotham; real holly jolly stuff. We watched this as kids, and were probably much tougher today because of it Thanks, Tim. Finally, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman remains one of the sexiest movie characters ever.
A Christmas Story can only be described as revisiting a cherished holiday memory you hold onto, but never actually lived. The movie is so vintage and dreamlike; it creates a sentimental connection for its audience. Ralphie is the epitome of any child at Christmas, whose only real concern is getting what he or she has asked for. This character desire resonates within anyone who grew up celebrating the holiday, making it undoubtedly the most celebrated Christmas movie of the past 50 years.
(Reacts to Ralphies desire for BB gun)
Were so glad that one of the great action films of our time doubles as a Christmas movie a very mature and violent Christmas movie, that is. Die Hard is ideal for a late-night December screening, maybe over some beers with the fellas, because lets face it; its the ultimate mans (Christmas) movie. And, on the right night, theres no better place to spend two hours than in the Nakatomi Plaza fighting off terrorists at a company Christmas party from Hell. The film made Bruce Willis a movie star, and Alan Rickman a legendary bad guy. Also, the Christmas spirit here is explosive. This is a terrific movie, and for 1988, well before its time.
(Reading what John McClane wrote on dead terrorists shirt)
From the mind of Tim Burton (again), and the genius of stop-motion director Henry Selick, comes the most innovative Christmas film on our list: The Nightmare Before Christmas. We love the movie for many reasons, but mainly for how it utilizes the same stop-motion animation technique used in the classic 60s TV specials Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty The Snowman. The difference is, Nightmare broke the ceiling for achievement in stop-motion, while creating a grim world, almost too grim for little ones. Revisit the movie and relish in the extraordinarily stunning visual effects, along with a beautiful score by acclaimed composer Danny Elfman.
(Discovers Christmas Town)
Elf is the best Christmas movie of the 21st Century thanks to an uproarious performance by the funniest man of the 21st Century: Will Ferrell. Its a match made in heaven Christmas movie-heaven and an instant holiday classic. The concept is awesome; a basic fish-out-of-water tale overfilled with situational humor that arises from taking a 6-foot something human elf from the North Pole and placing him smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, and then, sugar-coating it in Christmas clichés. Its an absolute treat, and we have a feeling in 20-30 years when reflecting back on Ferrells career, Elf will be in his top 5, as it is for our Christmas movies.
(Speaking to little person)
What might be the most imaginative Christmas movie of all time is definitely the greatest Santa Claus movie of all time: The Santa Clause. This movie is absolutely ingenious for its juxtaposition between the real life-adult world of disbelief, and the fantastical-childlike world of belief. This is a stark contrast initially for Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) who doesnt believe in Santa, until he becomes him, and sees his grounded-professional life turn into one full of magic and Christmas duty. Theres no better family film that deals in the power of believing in something, specifically the most prestigious figure of Western folklore. Its also incredibly careful with protecting the truth behind the myth all while acknowledging that most adults dont believe in Santa Claus. Impressive. And, theres something forever touching about the sentiment just because you cant see something, doesnt mean it doesnt exist.
(Shaking belly far for doctor)
How is Christmas Vacation not the most relatable family comedy of the holiday season? It would be blasphemous to place it anywhere else but in the top 3, and our reasoning is simple: Clark Griswold. Hes the ultimate movie-Dad. Were not saying Clark is the perfect father, just that his character personifies parts of pretty much every Dad. Clark just wants a good old-fashioned family Christmas and he makes it his duty to ensure this happens. Of course in typical Griswold fashion he screws up along the way, making it extremely difficult for him to maintain his composure and keep fighting to give his family (who doesnt care) something special. Meanwhile, we get to kick back, relax and laugh at him. Ha. Good ol Dad. Also, John Hughes wrote the script.
(Cuts rope holding down branches of giant tree, and branches shoot out, breaking windows and engulfing him)
Frank Capras Its a Wonderful Life is in one word: timeless. Not just a deeply thoughtful and richly thematic Christmas story, but also one of the finest and most inspirational films ever made. Watching this movie around Christmas is a special kind of tradition, one that reaffirms the purpose of living and continually gives generation after generation of audiences hope, and a refreshed perspective into their own wonderful lives. We should all be reminded, like Clarence the guardian angel, who reminded Jimmy Stewarts character George Bailey, No man is a failure who has friends. Which is true. This isnt our absolute favorite Christmas movie, but it is undoubtedly the most important one.
(After showing George what life would be like without him)
This was the easiest selection on the list. Why? No other Christmas movie encapsulates the warmth and spirit of the entire season the way Home Alone does. Finishing the movie is like completing an advent calendar, and now youre ready for Christmas. The second movie in our top 3 to be written by John Hughes, its really the heartfelt touch of director Chris Columbus that makes the picture so transcending. Thematically comparable to Its a Wonderful Life or Christmas Vacation, Home Alone reinforces the value of family, and not taking yours for granted. The film taught us at a young age that regardless of what you think you want for Christmas, being with your family on December 25th is the greatest gift of all. Oh yeah, and the burglars getting hurt is pretty funny.
(To Santas Helper, after it all makes sense for Kevin)
Well, thats our list. Hope you enjoyed reading, and will consider fitting as many of these into your remaining holiday screenings as possible. Here are some honorable mentions:
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992)
JINGLE ALL THE WAY (1996)
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000)
BAD SANTA (2003)
LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)