Top 10 Feel Good Christmas Movies10.12.08 # Top Ten # 29 Comments
What a magical time of year it is; lame presents, pressure to decorate, long drives to relatives, indigestion from over-eating, credit card bills…
Here are the top 10 best Christmas movies for making you feel good about it all.
10. A Muppet Christmas Carol
Gimpy frog legs are a delicacy in Europe.
If you’re one of many literature buffs who read Charles Dickens and thought the only thing missing was singing animal puppets, than this film is for you. Not only is this the last great Muppet Movie, it’s also a surprisingly faithful film adaptation. Gonzo the Great narrates as Charles Dickens and Michael “Always Great” Caine stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, while a cast of the usual chatty animals and vegetables comprise the citizens of oldtime London. The Henson Company combined the musical silliness of the Muppets with the style of its darker projects like Labyrinth to capture the gothic spirit of Dickens’s novel.
9. Die Hard
Happy Holidays from the McClane family.
What better captures the feel good holiday spirit than a charming story about an absentee father who flies to L.A. for the holidays and reunites with his family?
What about one where he kills a bunch of terrorists, walks on glass, and jumps off an exploding building. With its witty banter and strong message about keeping the family together, and a bullet riddled happy ending, Die Hard meets all the qualifications of an uplifting Christmas film.
Still not convinced? Well, then, why is his wife named Holly?
8. A Child’s Christmas In Wales
I see a white Christmas … and graaaaave danger …
This film, adapted from the Dylan Thomas poem, will make you ache for the cosy olden times when children played with tin soldiers instead of X-Box 360. Starring the late great Denholm Elliot (Marcus Brody in the two good Indiana Jones films), even the ADD iPod generation will be consumed with the beauty and wonder of crackling fires and plum pudding.
7. A Miracle On 34th Street
The movie is much more genuine than this hug, I promise.
This slightly dated tale of a department store Santa who claims to be the real thing may seem light and fluffy by today’s standards, but considering it was made in a time when mental disorders were still treated with shock therapy, historical context can add quite a tense layer of hardcore drama.
But the scene were Santa gets bubble gum stuck in his beard should relieve some tension.
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Academy Award nominee Chevy Chase.
Naughty innuendoes and cartoon slapstick to not a Christmas movie make … unless it’s Chevy Chase and the film is Christmas Vacation, the third and best installment in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series.
From the silly cartoon opening credit sequence to rogue squirrels, feral dogs, and a Christmas Eve kidnapping, this zany farce combines all the elements of a mad-cap comedy with a surpassingly warm and cozy holiday spirit.
Or that could be the burning green gas coming from the sewer …
5. The Bishop’s Wife
Starring Cary Grant as an angel named Dudley who uses unorthodox methods to teach religious zealots the true meaning of life, this Holiday classic often slips pass the radar of modern movie watchers.
When a local Bishop prays for guidance, hoping the Lord will lead him give him the funds and focus to complete construction on a cathedral, an angel arrives and hits on his wife. This leads the Bishop into a spiral of jealousy that leads him back to his family.
They remade this film in 1996 starring Whitney Houston. It didn’t make this list.
4. White Christmas
Danny Kaye is finally outed by his coworkers.
This Irvine Berlin musical was the first to be filmed in the classic Vista Vision and was the top grossing movie of 1954 … which means it brought in about nineteen dollars. It’s also the film that’s responsible for convincing the world that Rosemary Clooney was attractive.
With its eye-battering Technicolor, toe-tapping musical numbers, and unabashed romance, White Christmas stands as a holiday classic, though it actually steals its name from the song made famous twelve years earlier in the less popular film Holiday Inn.
Still not as creepy as your Uncle Albert dressed as Santa.
Once upon a time, Chris Columbus wrote good screenplays, and one of them was Gremlins, a charming throwback to 1950s creature features and silly sci-fi.
For Christmas, Billy receives a rare pet: an ancient Asian creature known as a Mogwai (but goes by the name of Gizmo). When Gizmo gets wet he asexually spawns a devil army that quickly marches through the snow-filled streets of Billy’s sleepy, old-timey suburb.
It’s up to Gizmo, Billy, and the adorable but career-less Phoebe Cates to stop the gang of gremlins from sabotaging the Christmas spirit.
2. A Christmas Story
“Please tell me that’s a candy cane.”
You’ll shoot your eye out, but not after watching this hilarious movie.
Possibly the most nostalgic movie ever made, A Christmas Story was written and narrated by Jean Shepherd, a famous essay writer for Playboy magazine. His slightly naughty and satirical edge permeates this family film, making famous the “leg lamp” and “evil Santa” sequences. Highly quotable and highly memorable, this movie is popular enough to merit a 24 hour repeat marathon on cable every year at Christmas.
1. It’s A Wonderful Life
This is called a Catholic Tackle.
Most love it, some hate it, but no one can debate its place in the annals of film history and its overwhelming message of love, giving, and America’s ability to fall into complete economic chaos in a single day.
When family deaths, the Great Depression, and World War II rudely interrupt his travel plans, George Baily is forced to stay in his quaint hometown of Bedford Falls. When a money mix-up pushes his family business to the brink of foreclosure, it takes an act of God to turn things around. He sends a bumbling angel-in-training to alter the fabric of space and time, just to teach George a life lesson. The result is a commanding performance from Jimmy Stewart (who had just himself returned from fighting in World War II) and the greatest sing-along ending ever committed to celluloid.
And it all happens on Christmas Eve.
What do you think are the best feel good Christmas movies? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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