Christmas is coming and that means so does the normal schedule of films you watch every year. Christmas films are a particular breed of film. They are cute and innocent and full of Christmas cheer. It is a well known fact that the best Christmas film of all time is Die Hard but to make this a fair countdown, I have decided to choose the top 6 Christmas films of all time that isn’t Die Hard.
6. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. (1989)
The Griswalds return to try and spread some chaotic family Christmas cheer. The film is the best representation of what it is like to have your whole entire family round for Christmas. If anyone has had their uncles and cousins and grandparents and neighbours round then you can see how accurate this is. The film is full of classic scenes that have been watched by grandparents, parents and children. Scene’s like putting the lights up and creating a power cut. the scene with the cat and the tirade on his boss provide huge laughs. This film is good raucous fun. The Griswalds are a family that is a great joy to watch and to see them in this Christmas setting solidifies this film as a Christmas classic. The film is a very good encapsulation of the forced happiness that the family has to be and how annoying and hectic it can be and how this can unravel quickly.
5. Jingle All The Way (1996)
Every Christmas there is a Toy of the year. Remember Furby’s, Tickle me Elmo’s, Tamogotchi’s, those fairies that you pull the cord and they fly off. All these toys create a hysteria from lack of stock and you get news footage of stampede of fathers and mothers trying to get their children their favourite toy. Jingle All The Way encapsulates this hysteria. Schwarzenegger plays the father who tries to get his kid the Turbo Man toy. It is the toy of year and low stock forces Schwarzenegger to travel to get this toy before Christmas day. Schwarzenegger’s interaction with competing father postman Sinbad really holds the film together. Fighting in a ball pit to a fake bomb scare, there competition to both get a single Turbo Man is so funny and is one of the reasons why I come back every year and watch this film. Just the line of ‘GIVE ME THE TURBO MAN!’ is enough reason to watch this. To top it off it has Phil Hartman’s Ted, who plays the squeaky clean father who hilariously tries to seduce Schwarzenegger’s wife. This is a very good film that tackles the commercialisation of Christmas and in the centre of the film has a very good message. Fun, fast paced and even by the end of the film at the age of 24, I too want a TURBO MAN!!
4. Scrooged (1988)
Two reasons why this is one of the greatest Christmas films of all time. 1. Bill Murray. 2. 1980’s. Bill Murray’s 80’s and early 90’s comedy are some of the funniest film ever put to screen. Scrooged takes on one of the most adapted Christmas stories of all time. Murray plays an angry, bah humbug, TV executive who forces his staff to work the holiday and cancels the Christmas bonus. This retreads the same foundation of any Christmas Carol adaptation. He is then met by three ghosts to make him realise the errors of his ways. This is a story that is well known and to have the twist of having Bill Murray, with director Richard Donner at the helm and Danny Elfman writing the score. This is one of the finest adaptations of the Dickens classics. It is funny and a bit more grown up that some of the simplistic adaptations. You could put Bill Murray into any situation and will make the film fantastic. Well… except for Garfield.
3. The Polar Express (2004)
Creepy animation, an off kilter script and Tom Hanks playing half the cast. It a very divisive film that falls into the category of Marmite. You either love it or hate it and I fit into the former. I like the strangeness of the film. The possibility to travel to the North Pole via a train on Christmas eve sounds like a magical concept. I describe The Polar Express as your child who is so ugly but only you can see that they are special. As time progresses I think this film will be liked more because of it’s magical core. Christmas is full of wonder and belief and hot chocolate! It is a very strange film that is only intensified by the numerous Tom Hanks cameos. I like quirky-ness and I like the wonder and The Polar Express is one of those film that immediately instills that Christmas spirit. I could watch this in September and immediately capture that Christmas feeling. A good film with a good message. Packed full of emotions and wonder, The Polar Express is a film that is the black sheep of the Christmas films and for that I really do like it.
2. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol (1992)
Another Christmas Carol adaptation! This film shouldn’t work. Muppet’s and Michael Caine singing. But it does. This is a perfect example of how to make a good Christmas family film. Michael Caine plays Scrooge and just like every adaptation is met by three ghosts to right him from the error of his ways. Why this is the best of the bunch? Mainly the Muppets. They instill a sense of fun into the story. Gonzo as the narrator is perfect and holds the film together. Michael Caine is a fantastic Scrooge and the level of acting he provides here is far greater then it should be for a Muppet’s film. The songs is something I listen to every Christmas and it is upbeat and wonderful but also has that Dicken’s dread to it. It is a wonderful balance that creates a fantastic Christmas film for the whole entire family. Seeing your favourite Muppet’s being put in the Dicken’s world of the Christmas Carol is fun. I ask that you watch this and you will understand how impossible it is not to smile to this film. It also tricked me into thinking that in the original story of the Christmas Carol that Marley was twins. Damn you Muppet’s.
1. Home Alone (1990)
It had to be Home Alone. Christmas films need to be fun, hectic and full of that Christmas spirit. Home Alone has all of the above. Kevin Mcallister is accidentally left home alone when his whole entire family go to Paris and must defend his home against two burglars. Bad parenting aside, wasn’t it every kids dream to be home alone to do whatever you want? or was it just me? This is a amazing, fun for the family, John Hughes comedy with the backdrop of Christmas. This is loved by so many generations and will be for decades to come. The stand out role by far is Joe Pesci’s PG swearing that every time I stub my toe or step on a piece of Lego, I don’t swear, I Joe Pesci swear. Memorable scenes like the Aftershave scene and the setting the hat on fire scene and too many to mention to be honest is some of reasons why this film is loved. Home Alone is nonsensical but it is so fun to watch. This is not just a film that should be watched at Christmas but a film that can be watched all year round! Home Alone is a 100 minute gift of a film that encapsulate the magic of Christmas and the chaos and nonsense that surrounds it. Fun, action packed and just hilarious. Home Alone is one of those films that will be replayed every Christmas and so it should.
What is your favourite Christmas Film?