Over at Liberty Film Festival, the columnist Dirty Harry, http://www.libertyfilmfestival.com/libertas/ had an okay list of best Christmas films, but he included that awful MGM Christmas Carol and put A Christmas Story at #2, so I vent with my list. These are films and specials I like to capture every year.
1) It's a Wonderful Life - This is one of my favorite films of all time. It is called sentimental, but it is also at turns tough and cynical. Jimmy Stewart give his best performance, one of the best performances in film as he shows the grief and frustration of living with broken dreams. But he also shows the genuine love of a father for children and a husband for his wife.
In ways, this film could take place anytime of year. But since it takes place at Christmas, it makes the list.
Also is a bit about the power of prayer.
2) A Charlie Brown Christmas - Because it is one of the few good pieces of popular Christmas entertainments that gets the true meaning of Christmas right. It is also very funny. Just watch the dance moves of those Christmas program cast members.
3) Scrooge - You may ask if I mean the Alister Sim version of A Christmas Carol with the best performance of Ebenezer ever or the Albert Finney musical version? And the answer is yes.
4) Die Hard - Like IAWL, this could happen any time of year. But it does take place at Christmas and because it is one of the best action films ever, it's on the list.
5) How The Grinch That Stole Christmas - Because, as much as I love the presents and food, this makes it clear Christmas is not about the prestents and food (though I'm not sure the good Doctor Suess knew what Christmas was really about). And because it has Boris Karloff.
6) Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer - Though I miss the elves riding through the snow on razors, and it is pretty funny to see them try to get every line of the song quoted, and I can't figure out why some of those toys are misfits; it still just rules.
7) Home Alone - Yeah, some of the slapstick is lame. But the sloppy sentimental bits make my eyes water. And it has John Candy.
8) Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - Ed Gwynn, Natalie Wood and Maureen O'Hara are all wonderful and the script is even better. But they do get faith wrong (which is really "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see".)
9) White Christmas or Holiday Inn - As long as you get to hear Bing sing White Christmas.
10) MST3000 version of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians - If I have to explain this to you, you still won't understand. But it does involve mocking robots.