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Christmas Movies

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Do you guys have a favorite? Least favorite? What elements, to you, make the perfect holiday movie?

I'm a big fan of Elf, if only because it's the only time where Will Ferrel's "act like a child" shtick actually works. Also, Zooey Deschanel isn't a manic pixie dream girl, which is always a good thing. I'm also a big fan of Love Actually minus two of the stories (the dude from Walking Dead and the one where the British guy goes to America), but I know that a lot of people don't like it and there have been all kinds of think pieces about how awful the movie is. 

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Die Hard and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Nothing says "Christmas" to me like hostage-taking and missing fingers.

For what it's worth, I'm Jewish, so my sentimentality for Christmas is little-to-nonexistant. 

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Adding to the action movie list, Lethal Weapon and Iron Man 3 (what is it with Shane Black and Christmas?) 

Not a Christmas Movie but I absolutely love Home For the Holidays, I watch it every Thanksgiving. 

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Die Hard and Nightmare Before Christmas are my go-to Christmas movies. I actually like It's a Wonderful Life, but only every few years. And if I'm home, mom and I usually have a Pixar movie marathon. 

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I've somehow managed to never see It's a Wonderful Life... at this point I'm just going to continue not watching it out of spite or grinchness or something.

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Out of season, but I'll toss in The BFG and The Fool of the World and His Flying Ship animated films- both used to air on Christmas morning on TVO, so both mean Christmas to me. I also quite enjoy White Christmas, Meet Me In St. Louis and anything seasonal which is Muppet or Sesame Street related.

And an echo of Die Hard, it's always fun. :)

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A Christmas Story!

I'm from Cleveland, and worked downtown when they were filming it. My best friend used to live down the street from the house.

I adore Darren M cGavin in anything!

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Aside from typical Christmas movie favorites like A Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation, our family's must-see Christmas movie is the black comedy The Ref, starring Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, and Christine Baranski:

Edited by OriginalCyn
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A Christmas Carol (aka Scrooge), but only the Alistair Sim version.  Because it wouldn't be Christmas if Marley's ghost wasn't screaming "BUS-I-NESS? Mankind WAS MY BUS-I-NESS!" at me, and no one does that role like Michael Hordern.

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Favorites:  Monty Python's Life of Brian, Mixed Nuts, The Apartment, Better Off Dead, In Bruges, 8 Women and The Thin Man (with the second Thin Man film being a New Year's Eve staple).  Basically, I like laughs or suicide.

 

Least favorites: Every single thing Hallmark Channel airs when they suspend regular programming for two months each winter to air holiday dreck on a constant loop.  I want my Golden Girls fix, dammit!

Edited by Bastet
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I'm also a big fan of Love Actually minus two of the stories (the dude from Walking Dead and the one where the British guy goes to America), but I know that a lot of people don't like it and there have been all kinds of think pieces about how awful the movie is.

I adore Love Actually (but, I too, am not crazy about the guy that goes to America).  So much that it boggles my mind that there are people who don't like it.  I know, everyone has their own tastes, but the least I could imagine with this movie is an "it was ok".  Hating it?  It doesn't compute.  Anyway, I did like the storyline with the guy from The Walking Dead, but only because of how well he played it.  I believed that he was struggling between his friendship and his love for her.  He really pulled at my heartstrings. 

 

I love Christmas Vacation, of course :)  Also, Scrooged (so many great lines to quote!) and Miracle on 34th St. (the skeptical looks on Natalie Wood's face when they are called for are priceless and, yes, I cried when he and the Dutch girl sing that song). 

Edited by Shannon L.
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Elf is my new favorite for a pure Christmas movie. I also like several of the movies set around Christmas, such as Love, Actually and the one with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz trading houses, I think it is The Holiday, and even the one where Queen Latifah thinks she's dying, Maybe called Last Holiday?

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My Christmas WATCHathons cover several genres, including action and dark

comedies.

Die Hard 1-2

Lethal Weapon

Reindeer Games

The Long Kiss Goodnight(CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED)

Money Train

Running Scared (1986)

Invasion USA

First Blood

Turbulence

The Ice Harvest

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Exit Speed

In Bruges

Cobra

Other movies set during that time...

The First Deadly Sin

Diner

Maniac Cop 2

Eastern Promises

The Proposition

LA Confidential

The Gangster Squad

Go

Less than Zero

Jennifer Eight

Alien Raiders

Wind Chill

Frozen River

Dead Bang

Vanshing on 7th Street

ATM

Night Train Murders

Dead End

Behind Enemy Lines

High Crimes

Rabid

The Bourne Identity

The Children (2008)

While She Was Out

P2

Nobody's Fool

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As a whole, I love A Christmas Carol in any incarnation (apart from the Kelsey Grammer one, which I found dull.) My favorite live action one is the Alistair Sim version. I liked the extra bits of backstory even if they weren't in the original, such as young Scrooge and Marley conniving to put Fezziwig out of business. My intro to the story as a kid was Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, and I still love it, even though I notice things now that I wouldn't have so many years ago--the fact that it's technically a play but the "audience" never moves; or that there's no way an actual play could do so many setting and costume changes so fast. It had wonderful songs; the scene of Kid Scrooge and Old Scrooge singing "All Alone in the World" together can still make me puddle up.

 

All other Christmas themed movies, I'm kind of "meh" about. A Christmas Story is nice, but over-played. Do we really need a 24-hour marathon? The final third of It's a Wonderful Life (the alternate-world Bedford Falls, or "Potterville") packs a wallop, but it takes a lot of set-up to get us there. (It also doesn't help that people have spent decades snarking on this movie and pointing out that Potterville was actually pretty cool.)

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I love bill murrays Scrooged. The ghost of christmas present is my favorite. "Do you know THIS one" funny stuff

Christmas vacation and A christmas story are must sees for me during the holidays

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Bad Santa.

 

        I love this one, Billy Bob was hilarious.

        As were the late Bernie Mac and John Ritter.

 

        R.I.P.    

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The one scene in Bad Santa that I can't bear to watch is the one with John Ritter in Bernie Mac's office.  I still can't believe that they were both gone at such relatively young ages.

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This is probably going to make me an absolute freak, but I have to say that Brazil is my favorite Christmas movie. It may not necessarily be a Christmas Christmas movie, but it takes place at Christmastime, and it is such a brilliant movie that I watch it every year on Christmas. And the ending is a total gut punch that gets me every time. Then again, I'm also someone whose favorite Christmas song is Uncle Bernie's Farm by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. I have a messed up sense of humor.

 

For a Christmas Christmas movie, I'd have to say it's the director's cut of Bad Santa. John Ritter and Bernie Mac's deaths still sting, though.

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I am a card carrying liberal, leftist, progressive with no problem criticizing the American government and/or president, but I can't stand Love Actually because I'm a bit offended by the portrayal of the American president and the British reaction to him. It just rubbed me the wrong way. First time I ever found myself feeling that way.

 

Anyway, my favorite Christmas film is Bell, Book, and Candle from 1958, starring Kim Novak, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Elsa Lanchester, Ernie Kovaks, and Hermione Gingold. It's funny and extremely counter to Christmas while also celebrating Christmas. Love it. Here's a good, long scene from the movie.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFyb0TnBwdM

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I'm also a big fan of Love Actually minus two of the stories (the dude from Walking Dead and the one where the British guy goes to America), but I know that a lot of people don't like it and there have been all kinds of think pieces about how awful the movie is.

 

I love the movie too and cry buckets at the end when they show everyone greeting loved ones at the airport.  I've never seen The Walking Dead so which storyline is this?

 

A Christmas Carol movies.  I too grew up on the Mr Magoo version and still think it's one of the best.  (Great music.)  I also adore the Muppet version and the one with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.

 

I never thought of Bell, Book & Candle as a Christmas movie.

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Love Actually does not bother me and I usually end up leaving it on whenever (especially this time of year) it's on. 

 

I like the story with Walking dead guy.  First because the three actors in that plotline are all so hot.  Also I think it is the most interesting of all the arcs. In that one bit is a great movie that never came out.  Going anywhere from all kinds of dark to rollicking comedy.

 

Other than that, all the other story lines I find meh.  It is only as they intersect and shift that keeps the movie from being a complete bust.

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I am a card carrying liberal, leftist, progressive with no problem criticizing the American government and/or president, but I can't stand Love Actually because I'm a bit offended by the portrayal of the American president and the British reaction to him. It just rubbed me the wrong way. First time I ever found myself feeling that way.

I ended up loving the movie, but that one part rubbed me the wrong way, too.  I enjoyed enough of the other story lines, though, that I can overlook it.  Besides, the scene gave us one of my favorite moments:  Hugh Grant's celebratory dance.

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I never thought of Bell, Book & Candle as a Christmas movie.

 

 

I think most people don't, but it's totally set during Christmas. The characters do Christmas-y things ... in their own way. And a big part of the plot is the restlessness and growing disenchantment of the lead female character over feeling left out of normal life, normal traditions. I think, having the story set at Christmas and seeing all the oddball things this community of people do around the holiday enhances that feeling of exclusion and the lead character's desire for a different way.

Edited by Nidratime

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I'm one of those people who PVR Christmas movies as soon as they start popping up on the tv, although I think they do start too early.  I've never watched "Elf" and probably never will - don't care to watch Will Ferrell in anything he does.  I'm also not a fan of the "old" Christmas movies so haven't watched many any of those. 

 

One of my all time favourites has to be Borrowed Hearts.  So very sappy but I watch it every time it's on tv.  I really like The Holiday and have to admit that's the first movie that had me think Jude Law might have some appeal to him.  I didn't mind Jack Black in it as well - liked his character quite a bit if I'm truthful.

 

Many, okay possibly all of the Hallmark/Lifetime/etc movies tend to run together making them difficult to remember titles or themes until I see them again.   I'm always surprised at the number of "name" actors who show up on my screen in these.  I also laugh when I notice several Canadian names showing up which to me means the movie has been filmed up here.  There are plenty of those to choose from.

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I was just reminded of another Christmas movie that I love, but haven't seen on TV in ages and, unfortunately, it's not available for sale either -- "I'll Be Home for Christmas." This is the 1988 movie starring Hal Holbrook, Eva Marie Saint, Nancy Travis, Peter Gallagher, and Courteney Cox, among others. So, it's not a movie with a bunch of "also rans" in it, which surprises me even more that we never see it or have an opportunity to buy it. It's set during WWII and follows a family trying to celebrate Christmas while dealing with family members away at war and others dealing with struggles on the homefront. Very moving, but low key movie.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095347/?ref_=nv_sr_2

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I am a card carrying liberal, leftist, progressive with no problem criticizing the American government and/or president, but I can't stand Love Actually because I'm a bit offended by the portrayal of the American president and the British reaction to him. It just rubbed me the wrong way. First time I ever found myself feeling that way.

 

I run hot and cold with Love Actually; I loved it for the first 4-5 years after it came out, but ever since then I seem to alternate years where I'll watch it every time it's on or I won't watch a second with it. I have no idea why I'm like this. But, one of the things that bothered me about the American president story line is that for some reason I never bought Billy Bob Thornton as president. Smarmy VP, sure, but the actual president just doesn't work for me.

 

 

I ended up loving the movie, but that one part rubbed me the wrong way, too.  I enjoyed enough of the other story lines, though, that I can overlook it.  Besides, the scene gave us one of my favorite moments:  Hugh Grant's celebratory dance.

 

I always try to do the bit where he goes sideways. I can never get it, but I'll never stop trying because I LOVE that scene.

 

As for other Christmas films, the ones I have to watch every year Home Alone (sometimes the second one as well), A Muppet Christmas Carol, and even though it's not strictly a Christmas film, I like to watch Trading Places around the holidays (the film starts sometime after Thanksgiving and the climax is between Christmas and New Year's).

 

I can't bring myself to watch It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, or Elf. I have yet to see Scrooged, I want to, but I always end up watching or doing other things and telling myself "I'll see it next time." Maybe this will be it's year.

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I run hot and cold with Love Actually; I loved it for the first 4-5 years after it came out, but ever since then I seem to alternate years where I'll watch it every time it's on or I won't watch a second with it. I have no idea why I'm like this. But, one of the things that bothered me about the American president story line is that for some reason I never bought Billy Bob Thornton as president. Smarmy VP, sure, but the actual president just doesn't work for me.

 

 

I saw Love Actually in the theater when it first came out and there was laughter when Billy Bob was revealed to be POTUS. Not the most believable president, but as part of a rom-com subplot, I don't find his casting terribly egregious. He's still probably more believable as president than Fitz on Scandal, but anyway...

 

 

I love the movie too and cry buckets at the end when they show everyone greeting loved ones at the airport.  I've never seen The Walking Dead so which storyline is this?

 

He's the guy who holds up the signs at the door while pretending to be "Carol Singers" (it took me a few watches to realize that he was just referring to Christmas carolers).

 

The Liam Neeson storyline in LA is a gut-punch to watch now.

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I always saw Billy Bob in Love Actually as a hybrid of then current president George Bush's arrogance/bullying and previous one Bill Clinton's sleaziness. It was actually kind of amusing in that sense- I kept thinking yeah, that probably is how other countries look at us (at the time).

 

I love the movie though. Flaws and all, for me I could never get sick of watching it during Christmas season. It just works for some reason.

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Home Alone 1&2 are my favs and I love nearly every incarnation of A Christmas Carol but Disney made a animated one in 2011 I think and Jim Carey voiced Scrooge and I loved it.
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A Christmas Story!

I'm from Cleveland, and worked downtown when they were filming it. My best friend used to live down the street from the house.

I adore Darren M cGavin in anything!

Oh, you're so lucky! I used to live in Cleveland years ago and ACS brings back memories.

I'd like to add The Nativity Story, Bad Santa and the stop-motion Little Drummer Boy and Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer of course.

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Christmas isn't really Christmas until I've watched Elf, Christmas Vacation, It's a Wonderful Life, and The Ref.  Last year, the Music Box in Chicago had an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, and then you watched Christmas Vacation, and I hope they do it again.  There's nothing like watching that movie, in Chicago, with a bunch of people who know all the lines.

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Die Hard is my favorite Christmas of all time.  By far.  (The only thing that comes anywhere near close is A Christmas Story.)  When a friend and I were in L.A. a few years ago, we made a pilgrimage to the building which stood in for the exteriors of the Nakatomi building.


Most other Christmas movies are neither here nor there for me, but I do absolutely loathe Love Actually.  The only stories in that film to which I would ever again devote more than five seconds are the Alan Rickman-Emma Thompson one, the Laura Linney one, and the one about the porn movie stand-ins.  Although I do find the Brit in America picking up girls just with his accent to be vaguely amusing.  The rest of it makes me want to vomit, it's so sickly sweet.

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The Thin Man is one of my fave films of all time besides being an X-mas Season treat.  Holiday Affair with Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum is wonderful as well.

 

My two favorite X-mas films though are Come To The Stable and 3 Godfathers.  There's just something so charming about the nuns going into the office of a bookie or shady type to ask for a land donation, and it's chock full of lovely character actors like Regis Toomey and Mike Mazurki.  3 Godfathers has the same charm, with the stable of Ford players, and it's such a lovely story of redemption.  I do enjoy the prior versions filmed of this story but this one with Harry Carey Jr and dedicated to his father is very special to me.     

Edited by CherryMalotte

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I posted this in the UO thread, but I'll post it here, too.  I loved Love Actually and while I think this trailer is a little bit misleading, I found it very amusing.  For those of you who hate the movie:

 

Honest Trailers: Love Actually

Well, when you put it that way...  Really funny!

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I like the George C. Scott A Christmas Carol the best--he's terrific in the part as areDavid Warner as Cratchit and Roger Rees as Fred.

 

Another favorite of mine is Ebbie, with Susan Lucci as a modern-day (well, 1990's at this point) Elizabeth Scrooge.

 

I pretty much like any version of a Christmas Carol, except for the one with Vanessa Williams as a pop diva.

 

My sister really likes all those Lifetime/Hallmark movies, so I have to endure them.  I play a game with myself where I try to figure out the entire plot in the first five minutes.  Pretty easy, as they are very formulaic.

 

Guilty pleasure:  National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Cousin Eddie cracks me up.

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I like the George C. Scott A Christmas Carol the best--he's terrific in the part as areDavid Warner as Cratchit and Roger Rees as Fred.

 

I really like that version too.  I'm particulary fond of Edward Woodward's performance as the Ghost of Christmas Present; his "come in, and know me better" grabs me every time I hear it.

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Okay, the worst christmas movie of all time is Christmas with the Kranks, which is a valentine to religious oppression.  It's far worse than all those Little Willie Saves Christmas shows. The best version of a Christmas Carol is the Alistair Sim version followed b Mr. McGoo.

 

My favorite Xmas song is Staggerlee. He shot Billy on Christmas day 1895.

Edited by Notwisconsin

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My favorite Christmas movie is Meet Me In St. Louis. I absolutely adore Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien and what they brought to the screen.

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My favorite Christmas movie is Meet Me In St. Louis.

 

With absolutely the most depressing Christmas song ever written. LOL 

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For some weird reason I'm pretty fond of Home Alone 2 (or is it just called Alone in New York?). I don't even know why, but it's just - fun.

 

On the other end, I absolutely despise The Holiday. I saw it in the cinema and was almost angry that I'd spent money on it. The only bits I thought were all right were the ones with Kate Winslet's character and the old guy. But everything about the storyline in England with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law... I felt like they were trying to put me in a sugar coma. And the scene where Cameron Diaz finally "cries"? I didn't know whether to facepalm or laugh.

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