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DVD Shelf: Christmas Movie Classics

This week Noah highlights some of his favorite holiday flicks.

OK, so now that it’s been a day and my Thanksgiving food coma has lifted, it seems that the holiday season has official started.

Along with the Christmas trees and eggnog, one holiday mainstay is always an onslaught of movies. While every year, dozens of new movies come out, sometimes we just want to stay home, light a fire and watch a classic Xmas flick.

Some of my favorites aren’t “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “Miracle On 31st Street,” they’re newer movies that also capture that holiday spirit. Here they are:

"Elf"

The genius to Will Ferrell is that he doesn’t treat his characters as a joke.

They are idiots, perhaps, but they are goodhearted, naïve idiots who just aren’t in on the joke. From his thong-wearing businessman on “SNL” to characters like Ricky Bobby, he takes each character as seriously as if he was playing Hamlet. Never have the results been more hilarious or earnest than in “Elf” with his master creation Buddy.

“Elf” just may be my favorite Christmas movie. It’s wickedly funny, with material for all ages and just tongue-in-cheek enough so that it doesn’t get cutesy. But it also has charm, wit and oodles of Christmas cheer.

The Nightmare Before Christmas” 

What if I told you that one of my favorite Christmas movies stars a skeleton as Santa, a Bride Of Frankenstein-esque heroine and an evil boogey man? But that’s just the case with this wildly inventive, macabre holiday musical from the warped mind of Tim Burton.

“Nightmare” takes the classic holiday movie and throws it on its ears.

For those kids who feel “too old” for sentimental Xmas favorites, “Nightmare” is the perfect antidote. And with eye-popping visuals and unique characters, it’s a great way to celebrate the Holiday with an edge.

A Muppet Christmas Carol

If your kids loved the new Muppet movie (which I’ll likely review next week), you should get your hands on “A Muppet Christmas Carol.”

While it’s not my favorite in the Muppet cannon, “Carol” retells Dicken’s classic tale of the original Xmas misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge with their usual mix of zany humor, heartwarming moments and toe-tapping musical numbers. In this version Scrooge is played by a surly Michael Caine, with the Muppets filling in the other key roles – like Kermit The Frog portraying Bob Cratchit.

It may not be up to par wit the others on this list, but it’s a great way to introduce the kids to Dicken’s story and a squeaky clean way to spend the afternoon that will thoroughly entertain everyone, including the parents.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas"

Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy and nostalgic for childhood than Peanuts. They somehow represent the childhood we never had and kids we all still have inside us.

In this installment of the classic Peanut series, Charlie Brown and the gang are back, this time celebrating the Yuletide. But Good Ol’ Charlie Brown is struggling with the commercialization of the holiday and finding the perfect tree.

From Vince Guaraldi’s classic jazz score to the funny, bittersweet message, “Charlie Brown Christmas” is a holiday classic that deserves a spot to be watched every year.

Bad Santa

Warning: Despite the seemingly genial title, this one isn’t for the kiddies … or easily offended adults. In fact, if watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is like drinking a big mug of eggnog, then “Bad Santa” is like taking the same drink and pouring in a few big glugs of vodka.

The Santa in the title isn’t your usual holly-jolly toy maker. His name is Willie (Billy Bob Thornton).

He reeks of stale sweat and booze. He has been in prison twice. He talks more like a drunk David Mamet than Kris Kringle. His game is traveling to a different town each Christmas with his “elf” Marcus (Tony Cox), getting a job as a department store Santa and then robbing the store blind.

“Bad Santa” is almost everything an Xmas movie shouldn’t be. It’s crass and profane and doesn’t include a moment of sentimentality. But it’s also incredibly funny and subversive and wildly entertaining. 

Terri Miles November 26, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Noah! how could you not mention A Christmas Story?
Noah Golden November 27, 2011 at 03:51 AM
I like Christmas Story...who doesn't? I was trying to get away from the more common Xmas flicks.

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