For some heading to the box office can be a Christmas tradition, and for others it may be watching a holiday classic on the television while letting their family dinner settle. But regardless of where most happen to catch the cinematic tales of past, present and future, there is no doubt movies have made an impression on some people’s lives especially when it comes to the holidays.
As this holiday neared, Tracy and I made our own plans to go see two movies coming out Christmas Day. To forego crowds, we will probably head to the theater on the weekend, but nonetheless our choice got me thinking. “While we will be seeing two non-Christmas films, what are some typical holiday classics everyone loves to watch?”
I generally go to my friends and the Internet to find such answers as I gather general opinions that I will then debate. This time however I decided to poll the editorial office and generate a Top 5 list.
To do this, I asked for a Top 10 list from everyone, which I thought would give us a better selection. I then scored each movie by its rank creating our collective five favorites. OK, there is actually six because of a fifth place tie.
We here at the KDH hope you enjoy our suggestions and maybe you will pop one or two of these films in your DVD/Blueray player today, Christmas day.
The Number Fives
Two drastically different movies ranked number five in our poll — Scrooged and Love Actually.
Scrooged staring Bill Murray is a comedic and once modern take on Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol set in New York.
Philip Jankowski simple summed the movie up by saying in an email: “Dickens + Murray = Awesome. Plus Bobcat Goldwait! Great Cast. It’s even got that girl from Raiders of the Lost Arc.”
Clare Haefner said Murray’s take on the classic Christmas tale is “far and away the best film version” of A Christmas Carol.
The movie appeared in several people’s list most which attributed Murray to their justification of ranking the film among their personal favorite.
Scrooged personally used to give me nightmares as a child. The image of Murray standing in elevator with death is burned into my brain, so it didn’t make my list. I should probably go back and watch it as an adult.
On my personal list however is Love Actually. It is a more modern favorite that may give some people the idea that love and Christmas conquers all (or rather most) challenging situations.
The film is romantic comedy that follows multiple people and their version of love stories as time counts down to Christmas Day and as each plotline starts to tie together. For some it may seem like it has ever scenario — the cheating husband, the work relationship and the guy who's in love with his friend's wife. The movie even has the any British guy can bring home an American girl because of his accent love story line. All this makes the movie very relatable and fun to watch.
“It ends up being perfectly crafted together,” said Alex Cole. “It is very touching and of course it has that ‘real’ love – you know the kind of love that overcomes? Ahh only in the movies. Plus, I just love Hugh Grant.”
It’s a Wonderful Life lassoed the moon to take on the number four place.
If you are like me you have seen this movie countless times know the ending by heart — “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings,” — but you can never remember seeing the movie all the way through. Gee, after saying that, I really hope the angel line is somewhere near the ending.
I voted for this one because it has touching message.
It seems Mason Lerner (you know that other Mason in our office), had something similar to say as I did.
“I have never actually watched this movie," said Lerner, "so I don’t really know what it’s about, but I feel like I would be shunned by society for the rest of my days if I didn’t include it. That Jimmy Stewart kid is pretty dependable too.”
If you don’t know Stewart plays the lead in this film. The motion picture follows Stewart’s character’s life through the courting and marriage to Donna Reed’s character and much more as an angel shows Stewart what the world would be like without him.
Even without seeing the film, Lerner knows this movie is a classic and ranked it high on his list. If that doesn’t say how important this movie is on the “Christmas Must Watch List,” I don’t know what does.
I would consider this one an odd duck, but it appeared on multiple people’s list. Shocked at first I began asking other people about this action packed thriller, and sure enough more people agreed.
The movie is no other than the Bruce Willis' classic that is spawning its fifth franchise film this upcoming year — Die Hard.
Jankowski summed this movie up the best with his short little quip. “Ho ho ho. Now I have a machine gun.”
Hearing from people who were not polled, they claimed Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, but the setting would say otherwise.
The first Die Hard takes place at a Christmas party in Los Angeles. That is enough for a good number of male office mates to put it on their Christmas movie top 10 as well as some female co-workers.
I don’t know if paraphrasing Chris McGuiness does him justice, so I am just going to write his long quote.
“For me, it just isn't Christmas without watching the gritty, foul-mouthed cop John McClane (Willis) take on a group of terrorists that crash his estranged wife’s office Christmas party,” McGuiness said. “In addition to being one of the best action movies ever made, the fact that the movie takes place during the holidays is a good enough excuse for me to pop it in the DVD player while decorating the Christmas tree.”
I am a little bitter this one is on the list because it plays almost nonstop during the holidays, but that probably means it deserves this spot. And this list is not just about me.
Audrey Spencer yelled at me for being mad that this film made it passed the chopping block, because I created the survey and she found out even with my griping it reached its way into my personal top 10.
Alas, A Christmas Story is a great movie.
The movie follows the young boy Ralphie, played by Peter Billingsley, and all the Christmas shenanigans that occur to his family.
The leg lamp, the bunny costume, the changing of the tire, the BB gun, the dogs stealing Christmas dinner, some of these events had to happen to someone, which is probably why Spencer said, “It’s relatable on probably too many levels.”
Haefner said even she wanted her own BB gun for Christmas after watching this movie. It never happened, but Haenfer did get her sister to stick her tongue to a light pole once.
If you have somehow managed to miss this movie during your life time, — I’m not sure how that is possible — you need to sit down and watch it.
Again, I am shocked. I probably should have voted for this one but didn't think about it.
The number one Christmas movie, as ranked by our office, is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
I will turn to Jankowski one last time to sum this selection — “An underrated National Lampoon's movie.”
The film is about the Griswold family and their plan to have a wonderful Christmas. It just kind of goes south in that comedic National Lampoon’s way as the family starts to arrive.
The humor is probably why Lerner said the National Lampoon movies are outlawed in his house, but this movie is a guilty pleasure of his.
Cole also called this movie out in her top 10 list by ranking it first.
“I like to laugh and this is the funniest Christmas movie ever,” she said.
For McGuiness the movie hits close to home despite it being over the top.
“Anyone who's had a visit from extended family for Christmas knows that this movie is a pretty accurate picture of what Christmas is actually like,” said McGuiness. “Who doesn't have one or two Cousin Eddy's in their family? Who's never gotten a cat wrapped in a box from that aunt who can never remember your name?
"I watch this movie every single year, and it never stops being funny.”
Well if you need a laugh you should probably follow the advice of our Christmas movie rankings. If you don’t like our list, feel free to leave a comment with your own top five list. Be sure to explain why you enjoyed the film.