Saturday, December 25, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Days 19-25

Merry Christmas everyone! For the end of 25 Days of Holiday Classics, I'm only going to talk about a few more. One is a new favorite of mine and the other two are films that I watch more than once throughout December, if I have time. I actually watch some of the other classics I've mentioned more than once throughout the holiday season, but they aren't my favorite favorite ones. They're only my favorite ones. Yes, I actually categorize things like this in my head.

First one up is my new favorite, Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). This is one of my favorite musicals, as well. It's definitely one of Judy Garland's best performances. She plays Ester Smith, a seventeen year old girl who falls in love with the boy next door. I love the romance in this film! John Truett (Tom Drake) is the perfect boy next door. He's nice, shy, and handsome! The film focuses on love and it also shows how much life can change and develop within a short amount of time. Especially when the Smith family is told that they will be leaving their home in St. Louis for one in New York City. Of course, during the time period that this is depicting, 1904, it was an amazing opportunity for them. However, there is just something so charming about their home and St. Louis in general that'd it be awful to see them leave it. Also, if they do leave it, there's a chance that Ester and John won't be able to be together. Watch this film to find out what happens! For those of you who have Netflix, it's currently streaming on instant.

Next up on my list is A Christmas Story (1993). I've been a fan of this movie since I saw it when I was about 5 years old. The film is about an amazing Christmas that was experienced by an awkward 9 year old boy named Ralphie. The film focuses on Ralphie trying to convince his parents, teachers, and Santa Claus that the best gift in the world to receive is a Red Ryder BB gun. I love the dysfunctional family life that Ralphie has. It's awesome and it's perfect. The film is full of hilarious scenes and it really captures the excitement of Christmas and how it is experienced by a child.

Last, but certainly not least, is It's a Wonderful Life (1946). This film is about a man named George Bailey (James Stewart), who has always been selfless throughout his life. He does what he believes in morally right, rather than ignore situations, so that he is able to go do whatever it is he wants to do. However, after his Uncle Billy misplaces $8000 and the terrible Mr. Potter won't give it back, George starts to think that life would be better for everyone if he just hadn't been born. Luckily, he is given the chance to see and learn that that just isn't true because of Clarence the angel. I love George Bailey 'till the day I die, and like Mary, I'd totally whisper that into the ear that he can't hear on. This movie sends out a bunch of great life lessons, so I recommend watching it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: The Polar Express: Day 18

The Polar Express (2004) is another classic. I like it mainly because I grew up hearing the story and it's a wonderful story. The author of the book, Chris Van Allsburg, is from my hometown. I can visualize the Polar Express pulling up into my neighborhood and it's fantastic. The movie is about a boy who has been doubting the existence of Santa Claus for the first time this year. However, during the night on Christmas Eve, he is awoken by the sounds of a loud magical train. He boards it and realizes that it is heading to the North Pole to Santa's home. On the train, he meets a lot of friends with whom he ends up embarking on a series of adventures with. He also learns more about himself and the wonder of life in general.

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Elf: Day 17

Elf (2003) is a movie that never fails to put me into a festive and happy mood. Buddy (Will Ferrell) is a human who has been raised by elves since birth. It isn't until Buddy overhears some elves talking about him that he realizes that he is human. Santa decides that it is time for them to let him go explore the human world in New York City and meet his birth father, Walter Hobbs. He also informs Buddy that his dad has been on the naughty list for quite some time and that he has no idea that he has a son.

With this information, Buddy begins his journey off to New York and once he arrives, he is in awe of the vastness of the city and the many activities that can be done there. He meets Walter and it is obvious that Walter doesn't want much to do with Buddy. However, Buddy will not give up on making Walter get to know him better, which eventually ends up changing Walter for the better.

This movie is great for the whole family. It's sweet and it's funny. I love how Buddy changes a lot of lives. At first, people just think he's very strange and mentally unstable, but then they realize that he's not and is very nice. He brightens the lives of those he meets. I love how he ends up winning the heart of Jovie (Zooey Deschanel). I also love how nice he was to his new brother, Michael (Daniel Tay), who really needed to have someone like that in his life. I love Buddy the Elf. This movie sends out a good message about how important genuine kindness truly is.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: We're No Angels: Day 16

We're No Angels (1955) isn't your typical Christmas movie. It's very funny and it will put a smile on your face. It's about three convicts, Joseph (Humphrey Bogart), Albert (Aldo Ray), and Jules (Peter Ustinov), who have escaped together from Devil's Island to a small coastal town. At first, the three are trying to devise a plan to rip off some people and take off with their money to get on a ship and move to a different place. They end up choosing the Ducotel family, who hires them to fix their roof. The three intend to steal from the family during the nightfall, but they overhear the financial distress that they are suffering from because the business at the store they have been working for hasn't been doing well, so they decide not to go through with the robbery. Instead, the three decide to help them out and even end up making them a Christmas dinner.

During their stay, they learn that Andre Touchard (Basil Rathbone) who owns the store will be paying a visit, along with his nephew Paul. Once the three realize how awful these two men are, they decide to help the family out by devising a plan to dispose of the two men. Their plan is to use Albert's pet snake, Adolf, to take care of the two. Will Adolf bite the two and kill them? You'll just have to watch to find out.

I thought that this movie was incredibly funny. Anything involving Adolf really made me crack up. Bogie is great, as usual. Aldo, Peter, and Basil did an awesome job too. I've never seen a Christmas movie like this one. Everyone should add it to their list of movies to see, even if you don't celebrate Christmas. It's that funny!

Monday, December 20, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Love Actually: Day 15

I love Love Actually (2003). I love the little romantic stories being told. I even love the sad ones. I also love how all the stories end up being interrelated in some way. I think that a lot of the relationships being displayed are relatable.  The movie is also comical. The ridiculous Christmas song that Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) sings is oddly catchy. I love the relationship between Jaime (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (LĂșcia Moniz). They are so cute! Falling in love even though they don't speak the same language. I'd recommend this movie to anyone. Well, unless you just broke up with someone. Then it might make you feel really bad. Other than that, it should make you happy and put you in the Christmas spirit.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: The Santa Clause: Day 14

My family and I have to watch The Santa Clause (1994) together every year. It's been a tradition since we saw it in theaters. We love it because it's funny and it reminds you of what it was like being a kid and how exciting Christmas was then. The movie is about a divorced man, Scott Calvin (Tim Allen), who hasn't really been able to enjoy time with his son, Charlie. His ex-wife, Laura, drops off Charlie on Christmas Eve and she informs him that Charlie is a bit upset because he has been told that Santa is not real. Scott feels he is too young to have been told this, so he tries to tell him that Santa is real, which just causes an argument to start up between him and Laura. The two stop bickering once Charlie points out that they are always fighting. Laura decides it is time for her to leave and tells Charlie that she will pick him up the next morning. It is clear that Charlie rather go home with his mom and her new guy Neil, but she tells him he'll have a good time and leaves.

Once she leaves, Scott messes up the turkey dinner, so he and Charlie have to go out to Denny's. Clearly, the two aren't having the best bonding time. Once the two get home from dinner, Scott puts Charlie to bed and reads him a bedtime story, The Night Before Christmas. Thinking Charlie is asleep, he stops reading all of it, but Charlie begins asking him a bunch of questions about the story. Scott tells him its just a story and just to go to bed.

During the night, there is a loud sound on the roof. Upon hearing it, Charlie rushes in to wake up his dad. Scott goes outside to investigate the problem and tells Charlie to stay inside and to call 911 if there are any problems. Once he's outside, Scott notices that there is someone on the roof. He calls to the man, which startles the guy and causes him to fall off the roof and die. Charlie comes outside after this and notices that it is Santa. Scott is completely confused by the entire situation. A ladder shows up and both Charlie and Scott go up and find a huge sleigh with reindeer. Charlie talks Scott into putting the Santa suit on and the two end up delivering packages to every house that the reindeers take them to. At the end, the reindeer take them back to the North Pole.

The next morning, Scott is still confused about what happened during the night. Did Santa really fall off the roof? Has he, Scott Calvin, really been magically recruited as the new Santa Claus? Charlie certainly thinks so and he is really excited about it. Strange things start to happen to Scott and his body gradually transforms itself into a chubby Santa Claus like body. This worries Laura and Neil, who decide to take custody away from Scott, thinking that they are protecting Charlie. They even end up getting him arrested on Christmas night. Will he be able to escape jail and deliver all of the presents to all of the children around the world by the end of the night? Will Laura and Neil realize and accept the truth about Scott being Santa Claus? Watch and find out.

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Miracle on 34th Street: Day 13

I watched Miracle on 34th Street (1947) for the first time this week. I thought it was adorable, funny, and heartwarming. It definitely has the most believable Santa that I've ever seen. The movie begins with the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. The Santa that has been hired is completely unsuitable and drunk. A friendly old man (Edmund Gwenn) notices this and informs the woman in charge, Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) of the parade of her intoxicated Santa. Unsure of what to do, Doris persuades the old man to take his place. He ends up being the best Santa that the parade has ever had and he is recruited to be the store Santa at Macy's.

The man is very successful and he has been bringing Macy's even more business because of his Christmas spirit and helpfulness to the customers. However, Doris learns that the man calls himself Kris Kringle and believes himself to be the real Santa Claus, which worries her, even though the man is harmless. She doesn't want him to have an influence on her daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood), who has been brought up to reject fairy tales and imaginative things. Yet, a lot of people, especially Susan, seem to recognize that there is something special about Kris and that he really does seem to be Santa Claus.

The only person who really seems to be against Kris is the Macy's store psychologist and he ends up getting him committed into a mental institution. Appalled by this gesture, Fred Gailey (John Payne), who is a neighbor of Doris', agrees to represent Kris. A lot of people come to support Kris and even though Doris was a bit skeptical of Kris being Santa at first, she begins to believe that he is as well. Will Kris win his case against the people deeming him as a crazy old man? Is he really Santa Claus? Watch to find out.

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Shrek the Halls: Day 12

Shrek the Halls (2007) is a holiday TV movie special. My nephews absolutely love it and I like it a lot too. It's cute and it's funny. Shrek is celebrating his first ever Christmas with Fiona and the family. Having never celebrated Christmas before, he's not sure what to do. He finds a book that is an idiot's guide to Christmas. Shrek follows the book in his own ogre-like way and prepares the house for Christmas. However, Donkey and Shrek and Fiona's other friends show up to join them for Christmas. Shrek freaks out at them when they show up because they are all over the house and telling him how he should do things. All he wants is to give Fiona and his kids the best Christmas ever, but he doesn't realize that it's not about the things. It's about much more than that, like being with the ones that you love and being appreciative of the life that you have. Will Shrek be able to uncover the true meaning of Christmas?

 I've posted a little clip from Shrek the Halls. It's really cute. Puss in Boots is telling his version of the Night Before Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Home Alone Lost in New York: Day 11

While not as good as the first Home Alone movie, Lost in New York (1992) is still a holiday classic. Kevin is basically ditched at the O'Hare airport by his family after they are rushing to get on a plane to Florida. This causes him to accidently board the wrong airplane because he follows a man he thinks is his dad. Once Kevin lands and realizes that he is in New York City instead of Florida with his family, he's very excited. Christmas without snow and Christmas trees just isn't the same in his opinion and he was being treated poorly by his family as usual, so being alone in New York City seems fantastic to him. 

Kevin books himself a hotel room and uses his dad's credit card to pay for it. He enjoys himself going around the city, watching movies, and ordering room service. However, his perfect vacation comes to a close once he runs in to the Wet Bandits, Harry and Marv, again. He finds out that the two are plotting to rob a toy store, Duncan's Toy Chest. Having shopped there, Kevin knows that the money from Duncan's Toy Chest is meant to be donated to a children's hospital. He cannot and will not allow Harry and Marv to steal this money, so he comes up with a plan to prevent them from doing so. Of course, his plan involves a bunch of booby traps for Harry and Marv to get plummeted by. Will Kevin succeed in taking down Harry and Marv's despicable plan? Watch to find out. 

I like this movie because it's funny. Again, he seems to be the only one in his family who understands the true meaning of Christmas. He makes friends with a pigeon lady that everyone rejects because she seems scary and strange because she's always hanging out with pigeons. Also, donates some of his money to Duncan's Toy Chest when he learns that it's going to be donated to a children's hospital. Furthermore, he does whatever he can to stop Harry and Marv from ruining Mr. Duncan's toy store and stealing the money that is being donated. Kevin is definitely kind and selfless, his family should treat him better. 

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Edward Scissorhands: Day 10

I've definitely been falling behind on my 25 days and I'm sorry for that. As of yesterday, I've been diagnosed with a stress fracture on my lumbar. I slipped and fell on the ice on Saturday night, the same night that I was robbed, and apparently the fall caused me a stress fracture. Good news is, it's only a stress fracture. It could have been way worse if I did a clean break in that area. I've got some pain meds for the nighttime, so that I can actually sleep. My back feels awful when I sit and lie down. I'll be fine though.

I classify Edward Scissorhands (1990) as a necessary Christmas movie to watch. Sure, the movie can be watched at other times, but that doesn't mean it's not also a Christmas movie. I love this movie. Edward is one of my favorite made up characters ever. He is so awkward and sweet. It's awful how much of an outcast he is, but it's not surprising. Suburban neighborhoods tend to hold people who become part of a social bubble. A newcomer can disturb it for a while, but once the neighborhood decides that the newcomer cannot be a part of their bubble, then the newcomer will be pushed out. Edward was better off without those nutcases anyway. Of course, there were some people who weren't really a part of the bubble, so they noticed the greatness of Edward.

This film is a necessary watch. I think it is one of Tim Burton's best films, if not the best one. I like the strangeness, humor, romance, and quirkiness of this film. The score is amazing and really adds to the atmosphere of the film as a whole, I especially like Ice Dance, Storytime, and The Cookie Factory. Danny Elfman always creates imaginative scores. I also love the story of Edward and the score goes along with his character development. The acting in this film is superb. Vincent Price is perfect as the Inventor. Johnny Depp is perfect as Edward. Who couldn't love Alan Arkin and Dianne Weist as the parents in this film? If you haven't watched this film before, then what have you been thinking?! Watch it now!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Day 9

Boris Karloff is awesome and I love his narrating of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). Dr. Seuss was a genius. I don't know who couldn't love this story that he created. The grumpy Grinch is fed up with the Whos of Whoville and their love for Christmas. He doesn't know what is so great about it and why they are always outside holding hands and singing around a Christmas tree. It disgusts him and he wants it to stop, so he devises an evil plan. An evil plan that will help him to steal Christmas from the Whos! However, the Grinch realizes that there is more to Christmas than decorations, nice food, and gifts and that it cannot be stolen. Will he be able to return their gifts and celebrate Christmas with the rest of Whoville? Watch to find out if you haven't already watched it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Home Alone: Day 8

Well, seeing as my coat, wallet, and phone all got stolen a couple of days ago, I think Home Alone (1990) is a great movie to talk about now. I was with some people from work and we all had our coats piled up together. Mine was in the middle, but the only one stolen. Thankfully all the stuff that was stolen is replaceable and I was not physically harmed. I'm very lucky to have the friends that I have because they've really been there for me these past few days.

Stealing is a crappy thing to do and only desperate or mentally unstable people seem to do it. Harry and Marv fit under both categories and they are also stupid. They definitely get what they deserve when they run into Kevin's booby traps. Kids and adults alike love watching Harry and Marv get the crap beat out of them. I know this due to the fact that I've witnessed both kids and adults watching this and cracking up.

I love Kevin McCallister. He's a cool kid. He seems to be the only one in his family who understands that there is more to Christmas than being materialistic.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas: Day 7

Christmas clearly makes me nostalgic because a lot of the movies I've been choosing have been children's movies. It's fitting though because experiencing Christmas as a child is magical and you always remember that. However, I particularly love Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) because it is an awesome display of what the true meaning of Christmas really is. It's not about materialism, it's much more than that and Charlie Brown realizes this right from the beginning. It's amazing how well a little movie like this explains such a huge message so perfectly. 

I love the little Christmas tree in this film. It's perfect just the way it is. Also, I love Snoopy dancing on the piano and mocking Lucy. Makes me laugh every time. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: The Shop Around the Corner: Day 6

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) is a great Christmas movie. Two employees, Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) and Klara Novak (Margaret Sullavan), working at a gift shop have an extreme dislike for each other. Unbeknownst to both of them, they are actually in love with each other, but they don't even know it; they have been sending letters back and forth to each other and have fallen in love by being each other's secret pen pal. It's funny to watch the two slowly uncover the truth about their feelings for one another. Do yourself a favor and watch this movie.

Yes, this film highly influenced You've Got Mail (1998). I like that movie as well, but not as much as this one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Pluto's Christmas Tree: Day 5

Today would have been Walt Disney's 109th birthday, so it's only fitting that I talk about another Disney classic. Pluto's Christmas Tree (1952) is a short, but sweet little Christmas tale. Pluto helps Mickey pick out a Christmas tree. He's very excited about it and when Chip and Dale see him, they start making fun of him. This angers Pluto and he tries to run after them, but the two chipmunks hide in a tree, which ends up being the tree that Mickey chops down. Chip and Dale love the Christmas tree decorations and love looking at all of them. It isn't until Pluto notices that the two are hiding in the tree that things start to get a bit crazy.

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Mickey's Christmas Carol: Day 4

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) is another version of the Dicken's classic A Christmas Carol. I know I've already posted on the Muppets Christmas Carol, but this one is well done too and it's worth watching both. All of your favorite animated Disney stars are in the film to tell the story, including: Scrooge McDuck plays Ebenezer Scrooge, Mickey plays Bob Cratchit, Goofy plays Jacob Marley, and Donald Duck plays Nephew Fred. Scrooge is visited during the night by his old partner Jacob Marley, as well as by three spirits. They help him to realize how mean he has become and if he doesn't change his ways right now, then he'll end up suffering a terrible afterlife.

I love this movie, it's so heartwarming by the end. I've posted the first part of the movie below. The rest can be found on YouTube.

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Frosty the Snowman: Day 3

Frosty the Snowman (1969) is another classic and I have to watch it every year. This is a very short movie because it was made specifically for television. It's 22 minutes about a lovable snowman, Frosty, who has been brought to life by a magical hat that has been discarded by a greedy magician. However, once the magician realizes that Frosty possesses this magical hat, he is desperate to get it back, and will do whatever he can to get it. Frosty, along with a little girl who helped bring him to life, work together to elude the magician and to find a colder place for Frosty to live. Will Frosty be able to escape from the evil magician?

For those who haven't ever watched this or for those who want to watch it again, watch the video below. It is the first part of the movie and you can find the other parts on YouTube. Enjoy!

25 Days of Holiday Classics: The Muppets Christmas Carol: Day 2

The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992) is a must see. A Christmas Carol is one of my favorite tales concocted by Charles Dickens about a miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who gets the chance to change his life around. He is visited by three ghosts during the night, the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future who make him aware of who he has become and what will happen to him if he doesn't change his ways. Michael Caine plays Scrooge perfectly and the Muppets are awesome, as always.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

25 Days of Holiday Classics: Nightmare Before Christmas

Although I am missing my 31 Days of Horror, as well as fall in general, I feel like getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm not completely straying away from my monsters and ghouls yet though. I love Nightmare Before Christmas! In fact, I love it so much that I currently decided to decorate my apartment with both Christmas and Halloween decorations. I have a couple of Jack-O'-Lanterns and a small Christmas tree with ornaments on it. I love all of the decorations.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is about a skeleton, Jack Skellington, from Halloweentown who accidently stumbles upon Christmas Town. Once he sees Christmas Town, he becomes obsessed with the holiday and tries to find out as much about it as possible. He falls in love with it and decides that he, the Pumpkin King, will be Santa Claus this year. He sends some kids to capture Santa and keep him hostage in Halloweentown while he goes out to deliver presents to children. Jack thinks that he's giving Santa a much needed break, but he ends up scaring him instead and accidently putting him in danger of being eaten by Oogie Boogie. However, Jack realizes that he has made a terrible mistake trying to put on Christmas, so he returns to Halloweentown just in time to find out that Santa is being tortured by the terrible Oogie Boogie. Will he be able to both save Santa from being killed and Christmas from being ruined? Watch to find out!

I love the music and stop-motion animation of Nightmare Before Christmas. It's all spectacular. Who is my favorite character besides Jack Skellington? Zero the dog, of course. Do yourself a favor and watch this film, it's truly a visual and musical masterpiece.