There really is a little something for everyone at Christmas, be it live-in trees for you nature lovers, door-to-door carollers embarrassing the life out of home owners or the ever present suite of Christmas movies. I have collected for you the list of my favorite Christmas movies. Enjoy.
- The Holiday
A Christmas movie was inevitable for “white people problems” connoisseur Nancy Meyers. The fact that she tapped the holidays to draw out one of Jack Black’s best (and undervalued) performances is the real surprise.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Before the days of motion capture, Ron Howard padded Jim Carrey with actual makeup to play Dr. Seuss’ furry, green bastard. It’s an ideal role for Carrey, whose bravado can prevail through the Seussian facade. Howard doesn’t have anything new to add, but seeing it realized is a wonder all its own.
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Setting a Home Alone sequel anywhere but home sounds like an awful idea. Yet New York, a bustling Christmas metropolis, plays directly into everything that worked in the first movie. Toy shops and frightening old people and apartments that are so run down, they’re basically booby trapped already.
- Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
The real gem of this rehash isn’t Sir Richard Attenborough or Mara Wilson, as good as they are. It’s Elizabeth Perkins, who adds wit and emotional damage to the mother character. Writer John Hughes is credited for many of the finest young adult scripts of the ’80s and ’90s, but the key was that he always nailed the parents.
- Arthur Christmas
Aardman Animation (Wallace & Gromit) took a stab at CG animation and did what few other studios can ever achieve: heart. Their take on modern Christmas saddles Santa with the concept of going back to the basics, with his son Arthur as the remaining North Poler who finds joy in the holiday event.
- Love Actually
Little known fact: Richard Curtis’ Crash-esque Christmas romance can actually be tapped for syrup. It’s that sappy. And it’s impossible to turn off.
- Die Hard
The legacy of John McClane may be sullied by lame sequels, but his rampage through Nakatomi Plaza continues to kick ass and act as the perfect metaphor for the season. Christmas music plays, terrorists invade, and it all begins to feel a little like a family gathering.
Only Will Ferrell, the master of manchildren, could create a character in the post-9/11 world with the earnestness to carry a Christmas movie. As goofy as Elf is, it’s a delicate stunt to pull off and deserves the title of “modern classic.”
- Home Alone
Is it wrong that I still want to live a weekend by myself, Home Alone-style? Macaulay Culkin got his Christmas wish, eating ice cream and watching gangster movies while his parents lost their minds trying to get home over the holiday. It became our fantasy. Though the climax is what sells the movie — the epic Rube Goldberg death match between Kevin and the Wet Bandits — but every moment entertains. Kevin’s preparation for the showdown set to “Carol of the Bells” is iconic.
- It’s a Wonderful Life
Many will say the Frank Capra classic is too far down on the list, even at #4. The truth is, the redemptive story of George Bailey (James Stewart) is a great movie, not a brilliant movie. It takes it’s merry ol’ time getting to the juicy stuff, but when Bailey meets Clarence the Angel, the whirlwind of feelings begins.
- Jingle All the Way
A father decides to dream the impossible; to get a Turbo Man action figure for his son just before Christmas.