Friday, December 23, 2016

Top Ten Christmas Movies


1. "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946, Frank Capra) - with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, you've all seen it. The perfect Christmas movie, and dare I say it, the perfect film.


2. "Christmas in Connecticut" (1945, Peter Godfrey) - with Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet.  Not only great Christmas atmosphere, but a sexy, steamy, adultery love story.


3. "The Polar Express" (2004, Robert Zemeckis) - with Tom Hanks. From the famous Chris Van Allsburg book, a very witty visual fantasy of a boy's trip to the North Pole.  The stiff motion-capture animation looks very awkward now, but great storytelling.


4. "A Christmas Carol" (1951, Brian Desmond-Hurst) - with Alistair Sim, Michael Hordern.  This film was played every year on my local Oregon TV channel, and it scared the bejeesus out of me. Plus, it was a British production, so it felt very true to the Charles Dickens story.


5. "Bad Santa" (2003, Terry Zwigoff) - with Billy Bob Thornton.  As you know, I love twisted comedy, and "Bad Santa" really takes the satire of Christmas to hilarious places.


6. "A Christmas Story" (1983, Bob Clark) - with Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon.  Adapted from a Jean Shepherd story, this sweet little film is totally hilarious and twisted.


7. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (1966, Chuck Jones) - with the voices of Boris Karloff and a story by Dr. Seuss.  This is a perfect little gem of an animated story, I can watch it endlessly.


8. "Elf" (2003, Jon Favreau) - with Will Ferrell, James Caan (miscast), Bob Newhart, Zooey Deschanel.  This is the film that convinced me that Will Ferrell is a comic genius.


9. "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (1993, Henry Selick).  Although Tim Burton had a lot to do with the design and story of this film, it's really a Henry Selick film, a lot of people forget that. Very dark for a holiday film, and that's why I like it.


10. "White Christmas" (1954, Michael Curtiz) - with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen.  The old Hollywood classic. I was in the tropical Columbia Hotel, floating around in the swimming pool, and they played the famous Bing Crosby song - a totally surreal moment in my life.  My son now thinks that if it snows outside, then it must be Christmas. 

So that's my list.  If you have any additions, I'd love to hear about them.

--Bill Plympton

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