Thursday, December 12, 2013


In descending order

10. When Harry Met Sally ~ It comes in at #10 as it's not a Movie centered around Christmas, but the late Nora Ephron's signature writing style tended to incorporate the Holidays in her 3 biggest hit movies. (Including:Sleepless in Seattle and You've got mail) The Movie stars Billy Crystal (Harry) and Meg Ryan (Sally) It's directed by Rob Reiner.  This movie is one of Reiner's finest works.
9. The Grinch who Stole Christmas ~ A Cartoon Christmas classic from Dr. Seuss, but this one is a Christmas Cartoon for the Ages.  Please do not confuse the Cartoon with the hideous version with Jim Carrey.
8.  Die Hard ~ The first of a series of 4 Die Hard Movies.  The original is staged around a Christmas Party. It does star Bruce Willis, however; more importantly, it stars one of the best unknown actors of our time: Alan Rickman!  This movie could rate higher on the list but the others are traditional Christmas Movies.
7.  A Christmas Story ~ This Movie is a modern day classic.  Although it was produced in 1983, it recalls a childhood Christmas set in the 1940s.  The cast is void of any A list actors making this movie all the more special.  The presentation of this movie is from the first person's POV.  Because of the success of the movie, Television would spawn a first person series called: "The Wonder Years". 
6. Sleepless in Seattle ~  The 2nd of two Nora Ephron romantic comedies.  Sleepless is a rip off of the movie classic "An Affair to Remember". But unlike Harry and Sally, this Movie like the next one, is staged from Christmas Eve to New Years and ends at the top of the Empire state building on Valentine's Day. Unlike Harry and Sally this Nora Ephron script teams Meg Ryan with her former leading man Tom Hanks.(Joe vs. The Volcano)  They would try the combination again in "You've got mail".
5.  Trading Places ~ Like the above Movie, Trading places starring Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis and one of the greatest supporting casts ever assembled since "The Robe" starts before Christmas and ends after New Years Day. This movie is wonderful and flawless. It's the last chance for our generation to see many of the greatest actors ever, including: "Denholm Elliot". Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche.  It also includes cameos by blues great "Bo Diddley" and the voice of Sesame Street's Oscar the Grouch and Miss Piggy "Frank Oz".  Jim Belushi makes an appearance as do two young writers from SNL Franken & Davis.  This could be Senator Al Franken's only memorable piece of notoriety.  The list of fine actors is too long to cover which is what puts this movie in the top 5.
4.  Christmas Vacation ~ As much as I dislike Chevy Chase, he works well as the nerdy Clark Griswold.  Christmas Vacation is one of few Christmas Classics that take us through the ups and downs of the Christmas season.  (Especially if you have family coming to stay).  It's important to remember that this movie was written in the 80's which explains many of the esoteric jokes.  Of the 4 National Lampoon "Vacation" movies this one hits home and in doing so hits a home run.  From struggling with Christmas lights to the financial stress of counting on the Christmas Bonus this movie has it all.  Again, this movie has an all-star supporting cast.
3. Miracle on 34th Street ~ As  "Terrence Mann"(James Earl Jones) from "Field of Dreams" would say: "It reminds us that all that once was good.......and it could be again". This movie represents a time before we lost our innocence.  It reminds us of our belief in Santa Claus.  It's a love story, a court battle, a struggle of the people vs. the government.  It shows us that some things, even amongst the most capitalist of Capitalists are more important than profit.  It puts giving above taking.  It also stars a wonderfully cute Natalie Wood.  Watch the black and white version as it was meant to be watched.
2.  White Christmas ~ White Christmas was a color sequel to movie in the #1 spot.  This is the Christmas movie that most of the public associates with the popular Bing Crosby hit.  But this is a common misconception.  White Christmas is not much more than a Irving Berlin Musical that is set at the end of WWII in the European theater.  The true value in this movie is not the script, nor the poor acting, but the song and dance that is re-created by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.  Danny Kaye is no Fred Astaire, but to his legacy; "There are no more Danny Kayes".  Michael Jackson came close to being one of the last truly multi-talented "Entertainers" but the king of pop could not act (See the video "Thriller").  Something Danny Kaye proved time and time again.  Although the plot is poor and this was just one last shot at cashing in on the greatest Christmas song of all time; The soundtrack and choreography are amongst the best ever filmed that was strictly a Christmas movie.  *Note - Do not bother with the director's cut.  They used Rosemary Clooney to give her insight to the filming of the 1954 Classic.  Unfortunately all Ms. Clooney does is repeats funny lines and laughs.  She's the obnoxious friend that's already seen the movie that you yell at to shut up at the theater.
1.  Holiday Inn ~  Filmed during the height of WWII in 1942, Holiday Inn is the Irving Berlin Musical that spawned the song "White Christmas".  The movie was written by Claude Binyon and, of any Christmas movie, is The quintessential masterpiece.  The story is a typical love tri-angle. 

Although the movie stars the two Hollywood Giants: "Bing Crosby" and "Fred Astaire", a young beautiful actress named Marjorie Reynolds steals almost every scene she is in.  What most audiences fail to notice is that while the premise of the movie is based on one famous singer competing with one famous dancer for the affection of the beautiful young unknown talent "Linda Mason"; you have to realize that Ms. Reynolds who plays Linda Mason keeps up with both superstars in every scene she's asked to dance and/or sing.  One might add, her acting is as good if not better than either Crosby's or Astaire's.  I would compare this movie (with the exception of some poor special effects) To my favorite movie ever: "Casablanca"  Both movies define the term: "Classic".  This movie just happens to be about Christmas and Holidays.


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