A CHRISTMAS STORY is my all-time favorite holiday movie. I’ve seen it probably fifty times, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched it from the beginning to end in one sitting. Like most people, I catch the annual 24-hour marathon on TNT or TBS or one of those networks with a “T” and see various segments at a time. Usually, by the end of 24-hours I’ve pretty much seen the whole film, albeit disjointed.
But there are other Christmas movies I recommend as well.
DIE HARD certainly. A company Christmas party goes bad but like Santa saving the day, Bruce Willis sweeps in and kills a lot of people.
BACHELOR MOTHER – Okay, this is an obscure one. 1939 starring Ginger Rogers and David Nivens. A screwball comedy set in a department store filled with misdirection and confusion. Warning: Ginger doesn’t dance.
BAD SANTA – Very dark comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton as a Santa who robs stores. People either really like it or they loathe it. Sort of like with IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE.
SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS – All you need to know about this 1964 sugar plum is that 8-year-old Pia Zadora plays a Martian child.
ELF – worth it for Bob Newhart alone.
STALAG 17 – Most people don’t think of this Billy Wilder classic set in a World War II German Prisoner of War camp as a holiday yarn, but it was set during a Christmas season. And it is a phenomenal movie.
SUSAN SLEPT HERE – This 1954 comedy starring Dick Powell and a very young Debbie Reynolds is one of my favorites because it takes place in my neighborhood and I think you can see my house from Dick Powell’s balcony. I don’t know if the movie’s any good. I’m always just looking out the windows.
There you go. I know it’s a short list, but if I see one more Scrooge reboot or fantasy with Jim Carrey in make-up I think I’ll vomit. Oh, and one final warning: There are a lot of bad Christmas movies and a lot of bad comedy movies but MIXED NUTS might be the very worst of both. It’s the “Aunt Edna’s Fruitcake” of holiday films.
What are your favorites... and least favorites?