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Favorite/Least Favorite Christmas Movies


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#1 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 03:15 PM

Favorite Christmas movies:

It's a Wonderful Life
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Muppet Christmas Carol
White Christmas

Least favorite:

Call me a scrooge, but pretty much everything else. Especially A Christmas Story and Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

#2 Andrew

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 03:33 PM

My wife's and my favorite is the version of 'A Christmas Carol' with George C. Scott: it contains an appropriate measure of Dickensian quirkiness, with a strong cast, beautiful settings, and an emotional punch. Watching it is a yearly tradition for us.

#3 opus

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 04:25 PM

A Wish For Wings That Work - An unknown gem based on Berkeley Breathed's Bloom County/Outland characters. If nothing else, it stars Bill The Cat for crying out loud. If that doesn't scream "classic", I don't know what does.

#4 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 05:47 PM

The Apartment above all.

I concur with the Scott version and beg to differ, Darryl, on A Christmas Story. I'm a longtime fan of both Jean Shephard and Darrin McGavin. One of my best friends' family traditions is Peking Duck at one of the few restaurants open on Christmas. Been that way ever since the movie came out. Apparantly, this is an improvement over the haphazard celebration from when her Mom died when she was young. Now they do it as a lark and a joke. That's not one of the reasons why I like the film though.

Others in no particular order: The Family Man, Scrooged, Pocketful of Miracles, Die Hard, The Preacher's Wife, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, While You Were Sleeping, White Christmas. Almost all of these are rotating traditions with us (no time anymore to see 'em all).

Though it is my wife's favorite, I have little use for It's A Wonderful Life. I watchit with her occasionally, though.

#5 Jazzaloha

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 07:09 PM

Aw Rich, "little use for It's a Wonderful Life? That's my all-time favorite film!

Has anyone else seen Remember the Night starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray? This is a really warm-hearted Christmas film that deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Darryl, check this one out.

#6 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 18 December 2004 - 10:21 PM

Of course they count. Christmas is Christmas. I tell you, nothing like Die Hard to get you out of the funk of a Christmas gone haywire (just like this one for us, at the moment). No Christmas I've been aware of gets that bad. My wife and I have a game we play in coming up with films with obscure references to Christmas.

#7 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 04:04 AM

Jazzaloha wrote:
: Has anyone else seen Remember the Night starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred
: McMurray? This is a really warm-hearted Christmas film that deserves a lot more
: attention than it gets.

[ blink ] [ blink ]

Wow, it DOES exist.

But I don't think I could ever see it without having constant flashbacks to Double Indemnity.

And written by Preston Sturges, too, eh?

#8 Alvy

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 12:19 PM

I was very pleased to see Scrooge (1970) get a Region 2 release at long last. I'm about halfway through my second viewing this year -- the songs border on the banal at times, but that's Leslie Bricusse for you. Overall, it's a joy. Finney makes a great Scrooge, and Alec Guinness is hilariously camp as Marley.

Of the other Scrooge adaptations, I rank the Alistair Sim version (1951), the Muppet version (1993) and Scrooged (1988) the highest.

It's a Wonderful Life is the all-time ultimate Christmas film, of course. And I am looking forward to seeing the Capraesque "alternative" Christmas film Gremlins again this year.

#9 mrmando

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 04:49 PM

Does anyone remember Henry Winkler's An American Christmas Carol?

Saw it on TV when it came out, but don't remember much except that it was weird to see the Fonz in a white wig, and his acting style was severely understated.

I would rank Scott slightly above Sim. Haven't seen the Owen version.

While channel-surfing in a hotel in Ocean Shores, Washington, my wife and I came across what has to be the worst Christmas Carol adaptation ever: The Gospel According to Scrooge. It was showing on TBN. Produced by Jesus People Church in Minneapolis, it features a scene where Bob Cratchit and Fred the Nephew meet up at First Victorian Charismatic Chapel and pray for Scrooge's soul, and there's an elbow-patch-jacketed pastor interrupting with wry homilies in case you can't follow the story. Every so often one of the actors will tear into a lame CCM tune, or remember to speak with a British accent.

On my list to watch: Patrick Stewart, Rich Little, Blackadder, Reginald Owen. On my list not to watch: Kelsey Grammer (this year, apparently), Hoyt Axton, Vanessa Williams.

#10 Rich Kennedy

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 08:01 PM

QUOTE(mrmando @ Dec 19 2004, 05:49 PM)
On my list not to watch: Kelsey Grammer (this year, apparently),

Actually, some of his old "Frasier" Christmas specials were unparralleled, particularly the doorslamming farce from a few years ago where Frasier must pose as Jewish for the mother of a girlfriend even as Niles gets stuck playing Jesus Christ Superstar in the building hodge podge holiday catchall spectacular that he started out only directing.


#11 SDG

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 08:45 PM

The Ref.

#12 DanBuck

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Posted 19 December 2004 - 10:00 PM

QUOTE(Alvy @ Dec 19 2004, 01:19 PM)
I was very pleased to see Scrooge (1970) get a Region 2 release at long last. I'm about halfway through my second viewing this year -- the songs border on the banal at times, but that's Leslie Bricusse for you. Overall, it's a joy. Finney makes a great Scrooge, and Alec Guinness is hilariously camp as Marley.





DITTO!! I love this version. My wife got me hooked on it as it was her family's favorite Christmas flick. My 3-year old son is addicted. Finney is outstanding. Hard to believe he was so young. The special effects are horrible and there are one or two songs that need to go. "Happiness is a tall tree. Can I climb it? Watch, and see." Yuck.

But the Thank you very much, number, I hate People/Father Christmas and December the 25th are fantastic! And I do feel a little of Scrooge's pain when he sings "You" to Isabelle.

#13 Nick Alexander

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 09:02 AM

I second "Remember the Night." My wife and I make it a perrenial each year. Although it does get slow in the second half, I think it's a great hidden treasure.

Other hidden gems not mentioned here: Holiday Affair--a romantic comedy starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh--very very cute. And there's a quirky romantic comedy "Beyond Tomorrow" made in the early forties that is also really pleasant.

I think my all-time favorite unheralded Christmas movie, tho (and it probably doesn't count coz it was an hour-long TV special), was "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas." An early Muppet departure, it doesn't have an ounce of cynicism, it is what it is, and the story will bring a tear to your eye.

As for heralded Christmas movies, I love "Holiday Inn", "Miracle on 34th Street", "Christmas in Connecticut", and "It's a Wonderful Life."

#14 Mark

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 11:14 AM

QUOTE(SDG @ Dec 19 2004, 08:45 PM)
The Ref.

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Dang, I almost got through the whole thread thinking I'd be the first to post this one, but SDG beat me to it.

BTW, I think this also meets your "Christmas movie challenge" from a few weeks ago - i.e., movies not too chicken-hearted to mention Jesus. I'm mis-remembering the exact quote, but there's a very funny exchange between a couple of Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis's awful relatives, where one of the kids complains about being bored and says, what are we gonna do now, and the kid's mother (Christine Baranski) snaps "Celebrate the birth of Christ!"

Other sentimental favorites are A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life.

Least favorite is Ron Howard's Grinch - a bad movie in its own right, made all the worse for soiling my childhood memories of the TV special (which I still watch every year).

#15 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 12:35 PM

mrmando wrote:
: While channel-surfing in a hotel in Ocean Shores, Washington, my wife and I
: came across what has to be the worst Christmas Carol adaptation ever: The
: Gospel According to Scrooge. It was showing on TBN.

Heh. Sounds dreadful. Any relation to this? smile.gif

#16 mrmando

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 02:28 PM

QUOTE(Peter T Chattaway @ Dec 20 2004, 01:35 PM)
The Gospel According to Scrooge. It was showing on TBN.

Heh.  Sounds dreadful.  Any relation to thissmile.gif

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Yeah, as a matter of fact, there's a passing resemblance. In the TV show, Scrooge shows up at Fred's house proclaiming, "I'm saved!"

I was disappointed that the Jesus People Church couldn't accept Dickens' story on his own terms—they felt compelled to translate it into theirs. Awfully anachronistic of them.


#17 mrmando

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 02:30 PM

The Bishop's Wife
The Bells of St. Mary's (that pageant scene is priceless)

#18 John Drew

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 05:09 PM

QUOTE(Rich Kennedy @ Dec 18 2004, 08:21 PM)
My wife and I have a game we play in coming up with films with obscure references to Christmas.

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In keeping with this, I would add The Hudsucker Proxy. I love the scene that takes place at the annual Christmas party for Hudsucker top brass and shareholders.

My favs.... traditional

It's a Wonderful Life
A Christmas Story
A Christmas Carol
(Sim or Scott)
A Charlie Brown Christmas

My favs... non-traditional

Go
Bad Santa
Die Hard


Least Favorite

Christmas With the Kranks... OK, any Tim Allen Christmas movie
NBC's A Christmas Carol: The Musical ... my review



#19 Jazzaloha

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 09:02 PM

Pete,

Yes, Sturges wrote Remember the Night. I think you can get over the Double Idemnity vibe. This is a film I can recommend to anyone.

Nick,

I think I remember "Emmit Otter" the film/TV special, but I know I remember reading the book as a child. Loved it!

#20 BethR

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Posted 20 December 2004 - 11:09 PM

It's a bit offbeat, but isn't there a subtle Christmas undercurrent to About a Boy? There's the infamously bad Christmas song, and at least one Christmas...maybe two, as our hero discovers true love over the course of the film. I saw the DVD on sale today for an absurdly low price, but couldn't convince my DH that we needed it, so I can't refresh my memory just now...perhaps Santa will drop it down the chimney on Friday night wink.gif

I have a low tolerance for Christmas movies. Alastair Sim as Scrooge, the 1947 Miracle on 34th Street (Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn). I'm a bit burnt out on It's a Wonderful Life (even though it IS). At some point, I always fall for A Christmas Story.