Merry Christmas, ya’ll out there in cyber world!
Today I thought I would write something fun for the Christmas season. I know it is a tough season for many, me included. I pray for the Lord to help me remember why I celebrate Christmas. I celebrate not because I have enough money to buy everyone a bunch of gifts, cuz I don’t. It’s not because all of my family members are healthy and alive, because some are not. It’s not because I’m healthy, cuz I’m not. It’s because of the gift of Jesus Christ that was given to us on Christmas day.
Now, before you literalistic people wig out on me and remind me most emphatically that Jesus wasn’t really born in December, let me say this: I know. Scholars think he was maybe born in spring, but no one can say when, so we picked December 25th as the day to celebrate. Does God care that it isn’t the exact date? I don’t think so. He knows we can’t figure that out because none of us were around that day and since no one in Bethlehem bothered to write out a birth certificate the day Jesus was born, we’re probably never going to know. If they did, I bet it got lost between Bethlehem and the flight to Egypt. You know how it is with moving from house to house. Things get lost. 🙂
I am thankful today for the gift of Jesus. Where would I be without him?
I am also thankful for Christmas movies.
Yeah!!!!! Christmas movies!!!!
Today I am putting together a list of my top five Christmas movies with a bit of commentary. So without further ado, here it is:
1. It’s A Wonderful Life. Now, if you’ve never seen this, you’ve been missing out. A 1946 movie, clearly a classic and number 1 on many best Christmas movies lists. It is a movie that is in black and white. You youngin’s out there might not like black and white cuz you’re not used to seeing it, but trust me, this movie is fantastically written and exceptionally performed by actors Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed as the lead characters. Lionel Barrymore, who plays the crotchety Mr. Potter, is Drew Barrymore’s great (grand) uncle. Interesting movie note: Barrymore’s character was in a wheelchair not because the story called for it, but because Barrymore could no longer act standing up. His health had deteriorated by the time of this film and had to act sitting in a wheelchair. I know! I’m a movie nerd! The story follows a boy named George as he grows up into adulthood and has to take over his father’s bank business rather than follow his dreams. He then gets married and has kids and begins to wonder if his life is worth living. Once 8,000 dollars is misplaced by George’s Uncle Billy, he becomes suicidal because he would be held responsible and sent to prison for federal charges. An angel is sent from heaven to show him what life would be like if he had never been born. It is a very dramatic movie, but one that leaves you with the reminder that you might not have much but you do have things for which you can thank God.
2. White Christmas. Again, an oldie but a goodie. Like It’s A Wonderful Life, this movie covers World War II. In fact, it starts out around the end of the war. Leading actors are: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye (love him!!), Rosemary Clooney who’s name you might recognize. Yes, kiddies, that is George Clooney’s aunt. And also Vera-Ellen, the beautiful and talented dancer in the show. The movie came out in 1954. It’s a sort of romance, musical comedy. The storyline is about a couple of song-and-dance enternainers who become romantically involved with a sister act. They team up to save the inn of the guys’ former commanding general in the army. It’s hilarious. My favorite scene is of the guys taking the place of the girls’ act so as to let them sneak out and run away from the hotel manager who wants to hit them up for damaging the carpet in their room. I know all the words to the song they sing by heart. Yes, I’ve seen it that many times! haha! This movie has great one-line zingers! I love the banter between Crosby’s character and Kaye’s character. Plus, I just love old American 40’s vernacular. I wish people still said, “How do you do?” upon face to face introductions and greetings.
3. Holiday Inn. Another musical. OK, so I love musicals. 😉 Now, this one, ya’ll, is the movie where the song White Christmas first appeared. You’d think it was the movie, White Christmas, but no. You’d be wrong. This one came out in 1942, a little more than 10 years before the movie production of White Christmas. The song, White Christmas, was written especially for Holiday Inn. It stars Bing Crosby and the great Fred Astaire along with Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale. The storyline is Crosby, Astaire, and Dale are an musical act working together in New York City nightclubs. Crosby’s character, Jim is engaged to Dale’s character, Lila. Little does Jim know that Lila and Astaire’s character, Ted, are romantically involved and plan on breaking the engagement between Jim and Lila so Ted and Lila can run off and get married. You notice a sort of love/hate relationship between Ted and Jim as they fight over women. Jim leaves for Connecticut where he had bought a farm since he was tired of showbiz. Once that doesn’t work out he changes the farm into an inn and sets it up as a dinner club with musical acts. Lila finds herself a millionaire and breaks up with Ted who is distraught and turns to Jim. Jim, meanwhile, had moved on and found someone to work with him, Reynolds’ character, Linda. They become romantically involved until Ted steps in. Cue dramatic music. haha!! Ted now looking for love and a new dance partner begins chasing after Linda while Jim tries every maneuver possible to keep Linda from him. My most favorite scene of the movie is Astaire’s dance act with firecrackers for the 4th of July. The man is brilliant and moves like he’s weightless! He practically was at 85 lbs. during the time of shooting the scene. The motel chain franchise that we know as Holiday Inn was named after the inn in this movie by founder Kemmons Wilson in 1952.
4. Elf. One of the few films with Will Ferrell that I like. Main actors Will Ferrell, James Caan, and the legendary Bob Newhart. It’s charming and silly. I probably don’t need to give much commentary on this since this is a modern film and most probably have seen it. But on the rare chance that you haven’t, here’s the summary of the film: Buddy is an elf. But he’s no ordinary elf. He’s a human elf. As a baby he managed to sneak into Santa’s bag while at an orphanage and hitched a ride to the North Pole. So Buddy was raised by elves. As he grew to 6 ft tall, and became an adult he finds out he’s not really an elf so he heads to NYC to find his real dad who happened to be on Santa’s naughty list. Buddy is sweet and childlike. And there are so many scenes where I about peed my pants laughing so hard. My favorite scenes are when Buddy is in a department store and it is announced that Santa was coming. He exclaims most excitedly, “SANTAAAAAAA!!!!!” And then a bit calmer but still excited, “I know him!” haha!! The other scene is Buddy interaction with a literary agent, Miles Finch who is about the height of an elf. Mistakenly thinking that because of Miles’ size he must be an elf, Buddy asks him questions about how he left the North Pole. Miles, of course, takes offense to it and chaos ensues.
5. Home Alone 2. I picked Home Alone 2 as my number 5 pick because I think it is absolutely hilarious! The first one was good, but this one is even better. This came out in 1992. Can you believe that? Just over twenty years ago! What makes this film funnier than Home Alone? Tim Curry. The man’s comedic delivery is genius as the concierge for the Plaza Hotel, which is a real hotel in NYC. Movie note: The Plaza Hotel was built first in 1907. It is the only hotel in NYC that is a historical landmark. What I also love about the movie is how a fake movie was done to look like an old gangster movie from the 40’s. The director had to do some research on old movies from the 40’s to write the lines for the characters so they could sound as authentic as possible. The storyline is much like the first movie only this time Kevin is alone in New York. He’s alone in New York in a swanky hotel. Alone with his dad’s money and credit card. He runs into the bandits that tried to rob his parents’ house in the first movie. This time the bandits are trying to rob a toy store and Kevin tries to stop them. In my opinion, Tim Curry steals the show. Two of my favorite scenes with him is when he and the other concierges chase after Kevin into his hotel room where Kevin hides in the bedroom and plays scenes from the fake movie, Angels With Even Filthier Souls, the sequel to the first movie’s Angels With Filthy Souls. If the title sounds familiar it is because it’s a spoof of the real movie with James Cagney, Angels With Dirty Faces, a 1938 gangster film. My other favorite scene is with Tim Curry and the parents after they finally arrive at the hotel to find Kevin. The mom, played by Catherine O’Hara, says she is going to go out on the streets to look for Kevin. Curry’s character says, “Madam, there are hundreds of parasites out there armed to the teeth….” Mom slaps him. Then he says, “Do bundle up, it’s awfully cold outside,” as his eyes begin to well up with tears from the stinging slap. Man, oh man did I laugh when I watched this movie for the first time in years last week! I laughed so hard I cried.
There you have it. My top 5 favorite Christmas movies. If you haven’t seen any of these, I recommend you check it out on Netflix or Hulu!
Got any favorite Christmas movies? Please share in the comments!
Merry Christmas, everyone!