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10 Holiday Classics + 2 Year Round Faves November 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor.

During the holidays, we turn on the tree (a small table top tree, not a B-I-G one), light some candles, and immerse ourselves in our favorite holiday classics.

Charles Dickens features prominently in our celebration: 

A Christmas Carol (1951)

Alastair Sim so brilliantly portrays  Ebenezer Scrooge, both before and after his ghostly visitors, that viewers find it implausible that the boyishly charming Sim (who awakens Christmas morn) could ever have uttered the phrase “Bah, Humbug” with any true conviction ~ yet he did.  A classic re-telling of Dickens’ classic tale.    

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Marley’s dead and Ebenezer Scrooge (George C. Scott) is in for a rude awakening!  Well,  three rude awakenings, actually.  As the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future conspire to deprive Scrooge of a peaceful night’s slumber, they open Scrooge’s miserly heart, and ours, to the joyful spirit of Christmas.

A Christmas Carol (1999)

Patrick Stewart’s powerful, persuasive performance and skillful transformation from the penny-pinching Ebenezer (visited by the spirits of Christmas past, present and future) to the enlightened Scrooge (who befriends Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim following that fateful Christmas Eve) make this adaptation of Dickens’ classic tale infinitely believable and thoroughly enjoyable. 

Scrooge (1970)

In this lively, musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future teach Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney) that life is to be celebrated, and relationships cherished.  Great sets and cast, including: Sir Alec Guinness, Dame Edith Evans, and Kenneth More.  

Home For The Holidays (1995)

Recently unemployed, an overwhelmed Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) flies home for Thanksgiving.  She tearfully begs her brother (Robert Downey, Jr.) to join her as ally in this laugh-out-loud look at family ties.  Tommy complies, bringing an unexpected visitor (Dylan McDermott) who reminds Claudia to face her fears and embrace life. 

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Hands down, our favorite animated Christmas special ~ The Grinch steals our heart as his heart grows in stature.  Boris Karloff’s narration and singing steal the show . . . from everyone but Max! 

Love Actually (2003)

This delightfully touching movie is not just another love story.  Set in London with a talented ensemble cast (Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson), it addresses ten separate but interlaced romantic threads, and the many facets of love, during the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Eagerly awaiting his annual bonus, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) longs to create a postcard-perfect Christmas for kith and kin.  His dreams shatter like broken ornaments as uncooperative lights, flammable trees, overdone turkeys, and relatives intrude.  This raucous comedic glimpse at holiday traditions will have you laughing into the New Year!  

The Nutcracker (1993) 

Narrated by Kevin Kline, this movie version of the timeless yuletide fantasy (produced by George Balanchine) features the New York City Ballet, including a young Macauley Culkin.  Angels and sugarplums dance, a magic prince conquers all, a dreamy young girl twirls across the stage and a Christmas tree grows sky high in this enchanting adaptation.

The Ref (1994)

Gus (Denis Leary) takes husband (Kevin Spacey) and wife (Judy Davis)  hostage after a Christmas Eve burglary “gone wrong.”  Clever dialogue,  successfully presented, elicits howls of laughter as the hostages bicker relentlessly over who’s responsible for their pending divorce while gun-waving Gus acts as reluctant referee and surprisingly insightful therapist.

* * * * *

At other times of the year, we have a few movies that we watch repeatedly, never tiring of the silly banter and childish humor. 

Here’s two: 

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

When Dean Wormer places Delta fraternity on “double secret probation,” in this hilarious spoof about 60’s campus life, Brother Bluto (John Belushi) leads the charge, encouraging Delta House to fight back and demonstrate to pledges “Flounder” and “Pinto” that there’s a time and place for everything, and it’s called college!

Caddyshack (1980)

Golf’s funniest foursome (Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield) tee off in this side-splitting tour around pompous Judge Smails’ country club.  Featuring songs by Kenny Loggins, a gopher-hating groundskeeper, and hilariously scripted characters, this comedy classic offers more laughs than the 19th green.  “It’s in the hole!”

Related posts:  Joy to the World! * 10 Movies Worth the Price of Admission * Ten Marvelous Musicals 


1. Cindy - November 30, 2010

A very good selection, Nancy, I love ‘Love Actually’ it is so camp it’s beautiful 🙂

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

I agree. And it’s the only “new” addition to our list, actually. 😉

All the rest pre-date the turn of the century.

2. Julie - November 30, 2010

I LOVE Love Actually. The Grinch=yes! We also love Rudolph and The Year Without a Santa Claus. The Family Stone is a good holiday choice too.

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

This list could have been MUCH longer. I enjoy ALL the animated classics I grew up with (like Rudolph and Frosty), movie classics (like It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas), plus newer movies like The Family Stone, Polar Express, ELF, etc.

Here’s to fat, sassy, and jolly holidays!

3. aardvarkian - November 30, 2010

What — no Die Hard? That was set on Christmas Eve and featured a guy in a Santa hat (albeit with a bullet hole or two in his chest…)


nrhatch - November 30, 2010

I didn’t realize that Die Hard was filled with such Holiday Cheer ~ I shall add it to our list posthaste! 😉

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

BTW: When are YOU going to start blogging about the Jolly Holidays???

We’ve missed your Irish wit and charm.

4. Maggie - November 30, 2010

Yes! Definitely the cartoon Grinch and not the live-action one!

nrhatch - November 30, 2010

I love the original! Short and to the point!

5. Judson - December 1, 2010

Still have to sit down and take in one session of “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas. It’s an addiction! And I love the simple joy of the animated “Charlie Brown Christmas”.

The “vacation” movies with Chevy Chase leave me cold for some reason … and yet … I can’t get enough “Animal House” and “Caddyshack”!

Go figure?

— Judson

nrhatch - December 1, 2010

I only like Christmas Vacation, not the European and Summer Vacations. It tickles my funny bone chakra. But I know it has a lot to do with who I was the first time I saw it.

If I saw it for the first time now . . . ???

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