The Rankin Bass Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a movie a remember watching every Christmas as a child. It’s obviously a Christmas classic that has stood the test of time since it is still played on tv every year. For some reason this is one of the most vivid scenes in my memory of the movie. I have no idea why.
As I wrote about last year, for the past nine years my friends and I have rented out the upstairs room at Max’s Taphouse for our annual holiday party. Kudos to our friends Kevin and Tracie, who usually organize the event for organizing it again this year despite the fact that there was a good chance they wouldn’t make it due to the impending birth of their first child. Their baby was born a few days ago, so they indeed didn’t make it in person. Though because we are the nerdy dorks that we all are they did Skype into the party for a little bit via my husband’s Nexus 7 tablet.
My husband and I should win some kind of prize since we brought the two most popular gifts for the white elephant gift exchange. Per the rules we play by after a gift has been stolen 3 times it is frozen and no one else can steal it. Our gifts were the only two that got stolen enough times to get frozen. I brought an Atari Flashback, which is some reissued Atari thing that came preloaded with 40 Atari games and looks like an old Atari, but of course is some new thing sold to nostalgiac old people like my husband who play it twice and then let it rot in a corner. I predicted that would be the hot present at the party. I wasn’t expecting the broken laser pointer cat toy that my husband bought to be so popular. It was some cat toy, possibly bought from Think Geek I think that is a laser pointer that you turn on and it randomly moves around for the cat to chase without you having to do any work. The motor in it is dead though, so it doesn’t move around anymore. I suspect most people did not realize that fact when they were vying for possession of it.
We managed to come home with yet another stack of crappy B movie DVDs. I swear every year one of us manages to pick the present composed of bad DVDs. I’m not entirely sure where they all are at this point, but I think we’ve amassed quite the collection. I got the complete collection of some little plastic toys called S.L.U.G. zombies. Ok actually looking that up I only got the complete collection of one of the series. I was just going off the packaging, but apparently there are way more of these things than I thought. Perhaps something people can look forward to seeing again at next year’s party.
It was as usual an enjoyable way to get together with friends and celebrate the holidays before we all go our separate ways. I imagine we’re going to need to start rethinking where we hold this party given the rapidly increasing number of children in our group of friends. Though people have been bringing their babies/toddlers to the party for the past few years it’s getting sort of unrealistic to think that a room in a bar is an appropriate place for us to have a party with that many kids.
Elf is a delightful little Christmas movie. I often find Will Farrell a little over the top and annoying. I like my comedy to be a little more subtle than his antics often are, but it totally works for him in a movie where he plays an elf who is supposed to be overly joyous. It’s actually been awhile since I’ve seen this movie. I should perhaps watch it again soon.
Based on the Dr. Seuss book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a great little holiday movie. It pretty much is the epitome of the plot of almost every Christmas related movie in which a grouchy, unloving person hates Christmas, tries to spoil it for others, but by the end learns a lesson and winds up one of the greatest Christmas lovers there is. Plus this movie gave us the great theme song.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is another one of my childhood favorites. I remember when I was in 3rd or 4th grade having a special get together with other classes where we all gathered together in one of the classrooms and one of the teachers read this book to us. I loved the book, and subsequently loved the movie it was based on when I saw it on tv. It’s a great little story about looking past appearances and really embracing the true meaning of Christmas. I unfortunately have no clip of the movie to link to today. Someone did post the full movie on YouTube, but I don’t like linking to those because I don’t support such blatant copyright violations. You can look it up if you want.
No list of Christmas movies would be complete without the classic Miracle on 34th Street. I’m a little sad to say that I’m pretty sure I saw the 1994 remake before I ever saw the original, but now that I’ve seen both the original is preferable. In the first several years I lived in Baltimore when the little movie theater up the street from where I live only had 2 screens and was owned by someone different, they used to have a free showing of the original Miracle on 34th Street on one of the weekend mornings in December. It was great to be able to see the movie on the big screen, and even better for free. I wish they still did it.
Today brings us yet another movie that is only a Christmas movie in that some of it takes place during Christmas. I love a good romantic comedy. Despite the fact that there are any number of romantic comedies released each year, the ones that are actually any good are few and far between. We seem to have gotten to a point where Hollywood thinks that they can just formulaicly throw together a romantic comedy and have it be something worth watching. That is entirely not the case. While You Were Sleeping is one of the great ones, and the fact that it is set largely around Christmas makes it an excellent choice to watch at this time of year.
Home Alone is a fantastic Christmas movie that is fun for all ages. It’s always nice to have a movie that everyone in the family can enjoy especially around the holidays, and Home Alone fits that bill perfectly. I remember when this movie was released in theaters. I was in middle school and it was practically impossible to get a ticket because it kept selling out. It was definitely the hit movie of that holiday season. It’s still a movie I love to watch. It’s got both humor and heart but never gets too treacly.
Whoever owns the copyright on Home Alone has YouTube locked down tight as it was almost impossible to find a clip of the movie on there. So sorry about the poor quality of this one, which I guess made it past the copyright police due to the fact that it was made by someone videorecording their tv. If you were reading this blog last year during this time you should know by now that I really like the melancholy side of Christmas, so one of my favorite parts of this movie is the scene where Kevin is talking to the old man in the church while a children’s choir sings O Holy Night, which is one of my favorite Christmas songs, in the background.
What Christmas movie list would be complete without National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? It fills a niche that I don’t think any other Christmas movie fills. At least none that I can really think of. It’s completely about Christmas, humorous, and not the treacly sweet stuff that surrounds many Christmas movies. It also is one of the rare sequels to a movie that I think many people enjoy more than the original.
Rent the movie is obviously a film version of the Tony award winning Broadway musical. I adored the stage production, so was of course was excited about the movie especially since it starred most of the original Broadway cast. Again Rent is not strictly a Christmas movie, but it covers a year in the life the characters beginning on Christmas Eve and ending the following Christmas Eve. Though most of it is really set between Christmas Eve and New Year’s. There are also a lot of songs that reference Christmas with one the characters dressed in a Santa dress. So of course Rent reminds me of Christmas. The stage show is better, but I still adore the music in this show no matter what form it’s in so the movie makes this list.
It was surprisingly hard to find clips from the movie on YouTube. Everything I was finding was the stage production. So here’s a link to the movie trailer.