Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Christmas Movie Shelf

So I know I was late getting you a list of indispensible Christmas books, but I think I am okay for my list of Christmas movies, since you will have all that downtime, noshing turkey and chocolates and sipping tia marias and champagne and our Tvs and netflix will be able to supply the rest.

The following are the movies that make me smile, cry and just feel hopeful.  You will no doubt know them all, but if you do not, I promise you are in for a treat!

1) It's a Wonderful Life

Mr. WMM and I have watched this every Christmas Eve since we were married.  Now our kids love to watch it, too, and my son can quote whole scenes of it and we often quote Mr. Bailey's sage advice to George and Harry Bailey when our son is heading out for the evening: "not one drop of liquor, son."  Sentimental? Yup?  Dark?  Yup?  This is the quintessential story of a man who feels his dreams have been thwarted by fate.  On Christmas Eve he gets the greatest gift of all.  Jimmy Stewart's finest acting and Mr. WMM has the serious hots for Donna Reed.  If you haven't seen this before, get out the kleenex.  Then go watch the Saturday Night Live parodies on YouTube!

2) Holiday Inn/White Christmas

Holiday Inn

White Christmas
I won't do Christmas without Bing, whether it is on my ipod or my TV.  It is my humble opinion that Bing, the original popular singer, is one of the greatest singers of all times.  Which of these should you watch?  Well, If you choose Holiday Inn you get:

1) the first time White Christmas was sung in a film, along with a number of other Irving Berlin classics
2) You get Fred Astaire dancing with firecrackers, and dancing "drunk", worth the price of any admission
3) you will know how to decorate your house.

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: there is a blackface scene in this movie.  no defence of that here.  Just a heads up and simply hit "next" on your clicker and you can avoid it!  I know it was the times (1930s), but it makes me uncomofortable so just wanted you to know!  You will miss nothing if you skip it!

If you watch White Christmas you get Danny Kaye, which may or may not be a blessing.  However, you get Rosemary Clooney, too! Two best scenes in the movie: "The Sisters" routine, portrayed above, where you can see that Bing can barely hold it together!  and the train car scene and the lovely song "Snow".

3) A Christmas Carol.  The conventional wisdom is that the 1951 version with Alistair Sims is the definitive version.  All dark and gloomy, the first scenes in Scrooge's rooms while he eats his supper and we know Marley is coming soon, are still terrifying! 

Personally, I like them all, except TV remakes with TV stars.  I am a huge fan of the Muppet Christmas Carol, but then again, I am a huge fan of the Muppets!

4) Love Actually


Oh I know - some of this is just schmaltzy stuff.  Okay - it all is!  And you can't watch it with the wee ones.  But I will watch this once a year to see the following:

1) Emma Thompson's acting
2) Bill Nighy as Billy Mack and his christmas scenes with his Manager
3) Colin Firth going to get the girl

And the scenes at Heathrow leave me a sopping mess!

4) Meet Me in St. Louis

1944.  Judy Garland is at the height of her abilities.  Margaret O'Brien is the most precocious child star ever.  Prepare for a joyous visit to turn-of-the-century St. Louis.  Some of the best songs ever, sang by somone who knew how to do them right!  Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is heart-stopping.  Dani - if Miss Buttons has not seen this, she is in for a treat!

5) A Christmas Story

 This movie has recently achieved cult status and no wonder.  It is a christmas card full of love and nostalgia for another time and is perfection itself.  Particularly significant for me now, since I recently discovered my own dad's orphan annie secret decoder!

 6) One Magic Christmas

This is a darker story and certainly has echoes of its A Wonderful Life.  Mary Steeburgen is fantastic as a wife and mother who is living a small life in which all hope has been sucked out and she in turn is sucking the hope from her husband and two children.  Harry Dean Stanton is perfection as a guardian angel.  The North Pole is just what you want it to be and the ending is wonder itself. 

7) The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

I know - not a movie at all.  But could I possibly leave it out?  Not me, my friends.  Every time I watch this my heart grows three sizes! 

8) Miracle on 34th Street

I believe, I believe.

Gotta be the 1947 version with Edmund Gwynn, Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara and 1940s Macy's.  When John Payne walks into court with his "proof" I believed!  And the house, and the sign left behind by Kris, still give me a thrill.  How could there be any doubt that there is a Santa Claus??

9) Charlie Brown Christmas

Another non-movie, but another can't-be-missed.  A little spiritual shot in the arm and one of the best scores ever.  It's really not such a bad tree, after all, Charlie Brown!

and my #10 Christmas movie?

10) Die-Hard

It's Christmas Eve and Bruce Willis has to stop Alan Rickman from stealing scads of money and killing innocent people.  This is one of the best action films ever, due in no small part to Bruce Willis' cheeky performance and Alan Rickman's over-the-top villain.  A nice jolt of salt if you are tired of all of the treacly stuff!

Hope you like these picks.  There are more I could have mentioned, but thought that 10 was enough!  What movies or shows do you like to watch at holiday time?  I have a few more blogs up my sleeve for the coming days and will have them set to go through the 27th.  I know many of us will be busy over the holidays, but some of us will not be quite as busy and these posts will be for you! 

Have a great Sunday and stay safe out there!



  1. I love Christmas films, I am starting to feel sad, I want to postpone Christmas by a week because soon it will be all over and the world will be normal again, no no, no!

    1. I hear you! I am definitely a girl who likes the buildup! I was always laying on the couch on Christmas Day saying "why is it all over??" My son is the same way! You definitely have to get the wow gift from your mum! There is still time...

  2. I also love Christmas films but MrBP says NO MORE "It's a wonderful life". Ah well, I'm ready to let it go. You know what, I've not seen Die Hard but will now, you've sold me!

    Well the world won't be normal again until January 1st, hang on to Christmas Week! The first of January, named after that two-faced god Janus (one face looking forward, one face looking back, so creepy) that's when it always hits me with a thud. Ugh, time to clean, stop drinking, step on the scale, de-clutter, no! We've got a good 8 days, let's make the most of it!

    1. Too funny! I hear you about the next 8 days!

      Just remember - die hard is of its era!

  3. I am pet sitting and indulging in Netflix at the moment....and this afternoon I was debating whether I should see Love, Actually again.... So I think I will.

    So far I watched The Net for the millionth time (the geek in me needs this every year). Also watched Traffic, Payback and a few other good ones.

    Thanks for the list, and have a very merry Christmas, WMM!

    1. Thanks Rose! I have never seen The Net, so I will definitely take a peek over the holidaysa! I really liked Traffic and Payback!

      Have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Great list - we just watched White Christmas last night, great movie. I would add the original Grinch show, Christmas Vacation and The Holiday (very cheezy, I know).

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi LR! I love all of those shows/movies! I just watched all three within the last week! Good suggestions!


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