Each and every Friday throughout the calendar year, fresh theatrical releases find their way into cinemas worldwide. With genres abounding from drama and comedy, to action and romance, there is always something for all tastes. Nevertheless, come late November/early December, Hollywood typically attempts to get theater-goers into the Christmas spirit by emptying their wallets for a few holiday-oriented features.
This year the evidence would be Fred Claus, This Christmas, and The Perfect Holiday. In addition, 2007 presents a frightening twist on the holiday theme in P2. My advice is: skip the theater, and shop the shelves.
Whatever your appetite, there is a wide variety of Christmas treasures available on both DVD and VHS that offset other cinematic lumps of coal. Hopefully, the following list will provide you with an understanding of which films should help decorate your mantel and which motion pictures should be buried beneath the North Pole.
Let us first start with the classics. Before the 1970s, Santa’s cinematic sack was stuffed with lots of gifts of joy and spirit. While everyone is familiar with both the stop-motion animated favorite of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) and the animated classics Frosty the Snowman (1969), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966), and the 30-minute A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), some of the most endearing Christmas films to date came long before Alaska and Hawaii were added to Santa’s schedule of U.S. stops.
In 1946, Frank Capra helmed the outstanding story about celebrating life entitled It’s a Wonderful Life, and one year later Kris Kringle was on trial with the fantastic Miracle on 34th Street. Finally, to round out the early Christmas ornaments, the thoroughly entertaining White Christmas (1954) is undoubtedly a holiday musical favorite.
Moving on, post-disco era to present, there are a few films that take on the comedic aspects of the holiday season, including the outright uproarious A Christmas Story (1983), the popular choice of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), and the equally enjoyable Home Alone (1990). Also newly added to the comical collection of Christmas features is the amusing Elf. So, whether it’s watching Ralphie nearly “shoot his eye out,” the Griswold’s family fun, Kevin defending his house, or Will Ferrell playing a six-foot tall elf named Buddy, be sure your bladder is emptied of all eggnog before viewing these comedic treats.