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Article – Have yourself a Very Merry Film-mas!

 

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Posted December 15, 2013 by

 
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Have yourself a Very Merry Film-mas!

Puns were made for Christmas, okay?

If I had a chocolate Santa for every time I’ve been agog at the sheer number of people I know that haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life, I would be buried armpit deep in chocolate. There have been moments where I feel a scream rising in my throat, fists clenching around a festive hat, ready to strike the festive blasphemer. I mean, is it really okay to have seen (and enjoyed) Bad Santa, but haven’t enjoyed the true unabashed joy of James Stewart running through the snowy streets of Bedford Falls? I suspect not. I also highly suspect that I have become a horrible festive film snob, but I’m cool with it. This is my gift to you film lovers, to those of you adorned in Christmas jumpers and pouting under mistletoe, a selection of the film equivalent of those little sausages wrapped in bacon.

10. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Dir: George Seaton

Don’t be fooled, this isn’t the painful remake with Matilda in, no this is a classic, I say! Lovely old Saint Nick is the real deal and he brings Christmas cheer to everyone he meets, but most don’t believe him, leaving it to a lawyer and a little girl to prove his story to the world. Watch out for the particularly lovely courtroom scene – everyone in your family will suddenly find they have something in their eye.

9. Love Actually (2003) Dir: Richard Curtis

Colin Firth wearing slouchy jumpers? Joanna Page as a porn double? Liam Neeson being super cool Dad? Emma “could be in anything and I’d watch it” Thompson? Is this film real life, or just a fantasy? Divides opinion, very cheesy, very schmaltzy, but it is lovely all the same.

8. The Santa Clause (1994) Dir: John Pasquin

Workaholic Tim Allen inadvertently inherits the role of Santa Claus in this family favourite. Growing a belly like a bowlful of jelly, a bushy beard and an increasingly worried ex-wife whose son is convinced that his Dad is Santa. Brilliant.

7. Jingle All the Way (1996) Dir: Brian Levant

We all know that this is Arnie’s best performance, ever. Turbo Man is the toy of the year and guess what? Howard has forgotten to buy the toy and now he must scour the city on Christmas Eve to find one for his slightly-neglected son. In true Arnie fashion, he finds a way to become an Action Hero, saving the day, how could we expect any less.

6. White Christmas (1954) Dir: Michael Curtiz

I wax lyrical about White Christmas to anyone who will listen; it follows the story of two army pals-come- Vaudeville performers, who befriend a singing sister duo – see where this is going? Not just a cheesy romance, but a heart-warming story of finding faith in other people and yourself, all expressed through the medium of song and dance, of course. Stand by with tissues and preparation for a major crush on Rosemary Clooney.

5. Arthur Christmas (2011) Dir: Sarah Smith, Barry Cook

The first animated offering on this list and it is wonderful – and no, not just because I have a fascination with James Mcavoy. Mcavoy provides the voice for optimistic son of Santa, Arthur, who writes replies to all the children who write to his Father. When he finds out that a little girl’s present has been missed from the list, he realises – in the true spirit of Christmas – that he must find a way to get it to her. Full of wonderful exuberant characters, voiced by the likes of Hugh Laurie and Jim Broadbent, with lots of sneaky jokes for us grown-ups, as well as daft bits for the kids. Perfect.

4. Die Hard (1988) Dir: John McTiernan

And what, pray tell, is more Christmassy then a young Bruce Willis in an increasingly dirty vest? Nothing. Not even your Granny in a paper party hat.

3. The Snowman and the Snowdog (2012) Dir: Hilary Audus

This is a short animated film that was shown for the first time on TV last Christmas and it is lovely, but then I’m a sucker for anything cute, cuddly and er, snowy. This magical tale follows a young boy whose beloved dog passes away, so he sculpts one out of snow only to find that he comes to life. This sure-to-be-classic will melt even the iciest of hearts.

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) Dir: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Every Christmas this film is brought out from its hideaway, along with my cinematic soap box and I stand upon it, proclaiming; “I don’t care how silly this film is, it’s not officially Christmas until Chevy Chase has had a festive related nervous breakdown!” Presumably, the stares of concern that I receive are merely the worried faces of Lampoon fans who are wondering if they can fit in their allotted 77 viewings. For those who haven’t experienced the joy of Chevy Chase in festive jumpers, the plot follows Clark Griswold and his family’s quest for the perfect family Christmas. Of course it goes wrong in every possible way imaginable. There is nothing better than a film that makes your own family look relatively normal by comparison; even your drunken Uncle Clive.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) Dir: Frank Capra

This for me, is the quintessential Christmas film, it literally does not get better. Before some of you begin exclaiming, “But it’s in black and white!” Let me tell you a story, a story about George; an underdog, a kind, gentle man who is always putting others first. George has not had an easy life as a result of his selflessness, but he has a loving wife and sickeningly sweet children, that is until he finds himself in financial trouble and he considers something drastic. In a moment that is very Dickensian, George is assisted by a kindly Guardian Angel who shows George what it would have been like if he had never been born. The result? Endless tears from yours truly and a film experience like no other; it is full of boundless joy and that for me is what a Christmas film should bring. Bit sickly, sorry (but not really.)

And the Runners Up are…

The Muppet Christmas Carol  (1992) Dir: Brian Henson.
By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953) Dir: David Butler.
Edward Scissorhands (1990) Dir: Tim Burton.
Jack Frost (1998) Dir: Troy Miller.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Dir: Tim Burton.

 

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Georgie Barron
@OrangeGee
Freelance Contributor


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