December 23, 2011

25 Days: White Christmas

White Christmas (1954) Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera Ellen

Confession time: I didn’t watch White Christmas. I have watched it—loads of times. In fact I watch it every year, and I swear I own a copy. But when I went to watch White Christmas I could find no trace of it in my home: not on DVD, not on VHS, not on TV, not even on Netflix instant queue. So I guess I will go out and buy a new copy tomorrow, if I can find one. But in the meantime we watched The Ghost and Mrs. Muir instead, and I will write about White Christmas from memory, since clearly my copy was stolen by the ghost of Rex Harrison. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 23, 2011

Christmas Bonus: Elf

Here’s a Christmas bonus I think you can all appreciate: Elf! Knowing that Elf is a popular Christmas movie that hadn’t made my list this year, the lovely Laura took time out of her busy schedule to watch this with me and write it up for you. Enjoy!  —DocSmartypants

Elf (2003) Will Ferrell, Ed Asner, Bob Newhart, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel

Elf is the story of a human baby who accidently gets transported to the North Pole on Christmas eve and is raised as an elf. The baby grows up to be Buddy (Ferrell), the largest and least productive “elf” Santa’s workshop has ever known. After a few too many bad days on the assembly line, Buddy’s true human nature is finally revealed to him and he embarks on a quest to New York City to find his biological father (Caan). The quest is complicated by the fact that Buddy’s dad, a high-powered publishing executive is *gasp* on Santa’s naughty list! Many adventures follow and Buddy ultimately triumphs in connecting with his father, finding love, and saving Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 22, 2011

25 Days: A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story (1983) Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, voice of Jean Shepherd

A Christmas Story came out in 1983, and my family has watched it pretty much every year since. It is permanently tied to my memories of Christmastime. I can quote from it endlessly. I know not everyone is a fan, but as far as I am concerned this is one of the funniest, most spot-on portrayals of a child’s experience of Christmas I’ve seen. It’s not a movie with a grand romance; there’s no holiday miracle or Santa-Claus-is-real reveal; it’s just a kid being a kid and dreaming of a toy he wants for Christmas, as kids do. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 22, 2011

Christmas Bonus: Holiday Inn

Yet another Christmas bonus! Stacey watched Holiday Inn, and since I wasn’t writing it up, and she had time and was nice and sober, she wrote the Great American Novel of blog posts about it for you all. Enjoy!  —DocSmartypants

Holiday Inn (old enough to be in black-and-white) Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, some chick who can sing and dance because they could all sing and dance back then. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 21, 2011

25 Days: The Year Without a Santa Claus

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) the voices of the damned

Oh god, it’s another Rankin-Bass monstrosity! Why do these Rankin-Bass movies never make any sense? Is it really that hard to make a Christmas film with a coherent plot? Their movies remind me of craft projects made by little kids: They start out with a solid concept and somewhere along the way it just becomes a Frankenstein’s monster of Elmer’s glue, glitter, feathers, and Froot Loops. Read the rest of this entry »

December 19, 2011

25 Days: Mixed Nuts

Mixed Nuts (1994) Steve Martin, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis, Liev Schreiber, Rita Wilson

Like an actual jar of mixed nuts, there are a few bits of this film that I love and a whole lot of bits I’d rather discretely spit into a waste basket when no one’s looking. It’s such a bizarre mix of stupid and delightful. Mostly stupid. I have really fond memories of watching this with Erin back in the ’90s, and maybe if we’d been able to watch it over the phone together this year I would have enjoyed it more, but sadly Erin’s pre-Christmas baking schedule got in the way, so I watched it alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 18, 2011

25 Days: Miracle on 34th Street

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Natalie Wood, Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, John Payne

Miracle on 34th Street is definitely on my list of top Christmas films. I like that it isn’t too sappy, that it has a sense of humor, and that it acknowledges the stresses of a commercialized Christmas without completely denouncing it. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 17, 2011

25 Days: Love Actually

Love Actually (2003) Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Colin Firth, Every Actor in the UK

Love Actually has about a million plot threads going at once, but all you need to know really is that it follows the lives—romantic and otherwise—of a set of loosely related London-based characters in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Most of them live happily ever after, but some of them just live. Read the rest of this entry »

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