Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us!

As we begin the holiday season, i.e. Turkey Day and Santa Day, it's time we ask everyone to share their favorite holiday films with us! Is it Christmas Vacation? Elf? Die Hard? Ghosts of Mars? Well, probably not, but you get the point. Tell us your favorite holiday films and tell us what makes them so special!

P.S. We're taking off until next week. Enjoy your holidays everyone!


Mr_Severus_Snape said...

Yay, my 1st ever 1st comment here! Finally! lol

For Thanksgiving, man Thanksgiving is like the ugly stepchild of holidays, there's not a lot of movies about Turkey day, I have to say "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles"! It's not just one of the best holiday movies ever, it can be one of the best movies ever. I really have a hard time naming another movie that can both make you laugh your ass off and make you cry.

For Christmas, man, there's a lot! I have to say "A Christmas Story"! It's just the quintessential holiday movie!

K said...

"My favorite Xmas Movie" as interpreted by the MSM.

The Bishop's Wife - Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven. A racy romp where Dudley, an "angel" - played by Cary Grant - gets an itch for a young Christian Bishop's super hot but neglected wife. Dudley's arrival in the Bishop's household sends the female household staff into steamy rapture reminiscent of Ken Russel's masterpiece "The Devils".

While the utterly impotent Bishop is away at hard but futile work, Dudley purposely exposes the dissatisfied wife to ridicule and shocked gossip by publicly wooing her and making simulated love to her on ice in front of a large crowd. As a final act of spite, the supernatural being arranges for the Bishop's best friend, an old rummy McCarthy victim, to get sufficient drink to keep him plastered for the rest of his life - dooming him to homelessness and total destitution. In the climax, Dudley destroys the Bishop's fondest dream of building a new people's Cathedral by exposing the innermost secrets and seducing the wealthy woman who's the Cathedral's main beneficiary into blowing her dough instead on a corrupt private "charity".

Anthony said...

For myself, Die Hard (just the original, I don't think much of the sequels). With the wife and kids, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

Outlaw13 said...

"A Christmas Story" Although TBS has done their level best to run it into the ground, you can never beat the line, "You'll shoot your eye out kid, Ho Ho Ho!"

For Thanksgiving it's hard to beat, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

Nick said...

These are rare, hard to find, and well-worth seeking out:
Remember The Night (1940): This is THE most romantic Christmas movie you will ever see. Stanwyck and MacMurray, before they were in Double Indemnity. Script by Preston Sturges. A must see.

The Cheaters (1945): This has a comic brilliance that builds and builds to the final moments, where it simultaneously becomes gut-bustingly funny AND exceptionally poignant. I had to see it twice to get its rhythms.

It Happened on Fifth Avenue (194?): Another inspired comic lunacy where the whole film is on a tightrope, able to collapse at any moment, and it never does. They simply don't make them like this anymore.

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942): Monty Wooley out-Potters Mr. Potter in this uncompromising, laugh-a-minute, sardonic comedy that holds up exceptionally well today. Just reading the quotes page on imdb has me in hysterics.

Anonymous said...

I spend Chanukah with my family but I usually spend Christmas with the Griswolds, Ralphie, and John McClane. (And you'll be reading more about my thoughts on his adventures next month.) :-)

tryanmax said...

There are a handful of Thanksgiving films but they never have "Thanksgiving" in the title. Plus, they tend to just be family dramas or comedies with the holiday as a backdrop.

Still, my favorite Thanksgiving movie is Pieces of April (before Katie Holmes was a big deal and way before Katie Holmes wasn't a big deal anymore). For those who have never seen, it's about quite possibly the most dysfunctional family ever coming together and ultimately having a nice Thanksgiving. It's super syrupy and has film festival written all over it, but it's the perfect sort of film to let your emotions take over (if you're into that sort of thing).

tryanmax said...

Oh, and I can't go without Charlie Brown Thanksgiving! Ha, first!

BIG MO said...

Snape already named one of my favorites, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. (Just keep in mind that "Those aren't two pillows!")

I also enjoy the original Christmas in Connecticut with my dream actress, Barbara Stanwyck. Nice lighthearted romance.

And while I get sick of seeing A Christmas Story 'round the clock, it's still a perennial favorite -- and not just the movie & it's fantastic memorable lines. There's a street close to my house where each year most of the homeowners go all-out with Christmas decorations (about 3/5 to 3/4 of the houses join in) to raise some funds for the Fathers Club of Affton. Amid the lights, trees and every kind of Christmas decoration you can think sits one house that has only a single decoration, which is displayed in its large front window:

The infamous leg lamp.


T-Rav said...

Why is there a picture of the Travelocity gnome?

Kenn Christenson said...

Well, I like "The Bishop's Wife," despite the racy description, above. Could the casting have been any better?

"The Muppet Christmas Carol" is high on my list, as well. Who'd have thought the Muppets would be involved in one of the best adaptations of that story on film.

Anonymous said...

We don't celebrate Thanks Giving so my favourite holiday are National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Home Alone.

Though if you ask me my favourite movie that is based during the holiday period then Die Hard would kick both their buts.

And I do love Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It is a bloody great movie no matter when it is set.


Anonymous said...

Oh dam I almost forgot Bad Santa, I love that movie. While it is a "holiday movie" it could also be considered an "anti holiday movie" but however you see it, it is a great movie.


AndrewPrice said...

Snape, It's amazing there aren't more Thanksgiving films, isn't it? You would think there would be a couple famous one as least, like Miracle on 34th Street. I wonder why Hollywood neglected it?

AndrewPrice said...

K, Excellent spin on a clearly misunderstood classic! LOL!

Backthrow said...

Props to Nick, especially for mentioning REMEMBER THE NIGHT and THE CHEATERS.

PLANES, TRAIN AND AUTOMOBILES ('87) is easily my favorite Thanksgiving-themed film, but I also honor the day by recreating WOR New York Channel 9's old Thanksgiving line-up of KING KONG ('33), SON OF KONG and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG ('49). Oh, and I also play the ludicrous giant-bird-from-space movie, THE GIANT CLAW ('57), the biggest 'turkey' of all, lol.

As usual, I have no single, all-time favorite Christmas film, but the 'big four' are IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ('47), MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET ('47), A CHRISTMAS STORY and SCROOGE/A CHRISTMAS CAROL ('51, Alastair Sim).

My personal Christmas tradition is to run the classic black & white Popeye cartoon, 'SEASIN'S GREETINKS' ('33), followed by the Sim SCROOGE, then the Christmas episode, "Too Many Christmas Trees" ('65, which has a Dickens backdrop and features SCROOGE alumni Mervyn Johns and Patrick MacNee), of the British tv show THE AVENGERS, and finally the James Bond classic ON HER MAGESTY'S SECRET SERVICE ('69, which has Christmas/New Year's at its center, and THE AVENGERS' Diana Rigg).

Other Christmas faves:

THREE GODFATHERS ('36 and '48, the former is superior)
BEWARE MY LOVELY ('52, Xmas noir)
THE LADY IN THE LAKE ('46, ditto)
CASH ON DEMAND ('62, ditto)
DIE HARD ('88)
NIGHT OF THE HUNTER ('55, ends at Xmas)

Backthrow said...

Augghh... that's 'ON HER *MAJESTY'S* SECRET SERVICE'... I hate stupid typos.

Individualist said...

I like Scrooged with Bill Murray - don't know why just do....

And I like all the stop motion puppet mvoies with Rudolph and Santa and Frosty.

Oddly enough the Berkely Campus had a strange response. Their favorite Christmas move was the Invention of Lying which I found boring as actaul 13th century history.

AndrewPrice said...

Nick, Thanks! I've never heard of a couple of those and I'll have to look into them. There is a shortage of good holiday films.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, There's always room for Charlie Brown at the holidays!

AndrewPrice said...

Mo, LOL! We usually drive around town one night in December and check out the Christmas decorations.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That's the official Commentarama Santa Hat.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, The Muppets do indeed do one of the best interpretations of A Christmas Carol!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You don't celebrate Thanksgiving? I can't imagine why not?! ;)

Those are all good movies. A Christmas season isn't a Christmas season without Christmas Vacation!

AndrewPrice said...

Backthrow, Excellent list as usual! You are encyclopedia of films! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, Those are always great specials as well. I like all the claymation stuff.

tryanmax said...

How could I forget Mouse on the Mayflower? It's one of the few Rankin/Bass productions done in cell animation (traditional) rather than stop-motion. I haven't seen it in years, myself. I recall it as being better than Cricket on the Hearth but not as good as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Backthrow said...


THE CHEATERS (1945) is very hard-to-find, as it wasn't released on home video and isn't currently on Netflix streaming. Turner Classic Movies aired it a couple of Decembers ago, but I don't think they're running it this year.

However, somebody thoughtfully posted it in full on YouTube:

Fortunately, REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940) is easier to see now than it was just a few years ago. It's on DVD (albeit as an exclusive 'TCM Vault' release, so only a couple of online retailers officially carry it), and TCM runs it every December... looks like they're playing it in primetime (EST) this year, on Dec 12th, in fact. They're airing IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE (1947), too, on the night of December 23rd.

Also, TCM is running BEWARE, MY LOVELY (1952) this Monday, November 26, at Noon (EST), if anyone wants to see Ida Lupino threatened by a psychotic Robert Ryan at Christmastime, in a Hitchcock-esque suspense film. It was directed by Harry Horner, who was better known as a Production Designer on films like A DOUBLE LIFE, BORN YESTERDAY ('50), THE HUSTLER, AUDREY ROSE and the 1980 version of THE JAZZ SINGER.

Tennessee Jed said...

This is a 1950's special I used to enjoy in the 1950's. It is all done with marionettes and covers the poem "The Night Before Christmas" and "The Nativity." It has been made available in DVD and looks rather dated, but it takes me back to a happier time in America.

T-Rav said...

I love The Muppet Christmas Carol. Thankfully, the whole movie is up on YouTube, so I can just go on and watch it once I'm in the Christmas spirit. I also like the '90s version of Miracle on 34th Street.

What I do not like--practically any of the holiday movies you find on Hallmark; which is to say, all of the programming on Hallmark. That's an example of what can happen when you stack everything on one genre.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Same here, they're too sickly sentimental. They basically drip syrup from the get go and they feel fake throughout.

Hollywood is surprisingly bad at making genuinely good holiday films.

Dave Olson said...

When I want to get a laugh I say that my favorite Christmas movie is "Die Hard". It really is one of my faves, but just in the general category. My top three Christmas movies are no surprise. In no particular order: A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and It's a Wonderful Life. All have wonderful messages and are endlessly entertaining.

There really aren't that many Thanksgiving movies, except for John Hughes' masterpiece "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", so I will mention my all time favorite Thanksgiving TV episode, other than the infamous Turkey Drop from "WKRP in Cincinnati": The show was "Quantum Leap", the first episode of the third season, "The Leap Home Part 1". Imagine being able to relive your all-time favorite thanksgiving dinner, before life really kicked you in the nuts. Now I have no real tragedy or grief in my life; my parents and only sister are still alive and today we celebrated my grandmother's 99th birthday. But this episode makes me weep every time, it's that good.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I don't think I've seen Mayflower?

Backthrow, Thanks for the additional information! That could make it hard to find.

AndrewPrice said...

Dave, That moment, where Les is talking about how he thought turkeys could fly is one of the classic moments in sitcom fame. Everyone who watched that episode was still talking about it decades later!

Backthrow said...

Here's an interesting and informative recent interview with WKRP IN CINCINNATI creator Hugh Wilson, and several other key people involved in the sitcom, about the 'Turkeys Away' episode:

Also, a classic animated goodie to help further celebrate the day:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Backthrow! Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are your links: WKRP and Animated Classics

Critch said...

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Christmas With The Kranks....

Anthony said...

Saw Rise of The Guardians with my oldest. Strictly by the numbers and feels soulless but harmless and reasonably entertaining. Santa in this film is wrapped in tattoos and wields two swords, so he's not your father's Santa.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

I'm going with The Lemon Drop Kid as one of my all time Christmas favorites.

You also can't go wrong with The Duke and John Ford in The Three Godfathers

rlaWTX said...

I'm way late, but I have to agree with Charlie Brown"s Thanksgiving (popcorn!!) - but Peanuts' Christmas is my fave "special" with the animated, non-Jim Carrey version of Grinch coming in a close second. Thirs is the original!! Miracle on 34th Street.

I also have to admit that I kinda like some of the Hallmark movies. The Hallmark commercials make me cry at Christmas, so I try and avoid those, but some of the treacly movies are fun, sweet, easy...

Die Hard!!!!
Since a main character's name is Christmas, does that make Expendables a Christmas movie?? :)

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