Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Top Ten Christmas Movies

Not everyone enjoys Christmas. There are lots of reasons why. Stress, monetary constraints, family issues, being a Christmas-hating freak. Personally I tend to get a bit lonely this time of year. Spending most of The Life in close proximity with something

makes it unfortunately starkly apparent when it is missing.

And The Housemate spends most of this month missing, what with ‘work’ and ‘family’ commitments and other lame excuses like that.

So, for any of us who find it lacking, I have help at hand to get into that Christmas Spirit.

Yes, that’s right. The answer to most of life’s issues is live vicariously through fiction.

So I have made especially for you a list of The Top Ten Christmas Movies. Whenever you feel that seasonal pluck ebbing away, plonk yourself down in front of one of these babies and you’ll soon be overflowing with Xmas cheer.

NB: this list is currently in the wrong order, but I'll have to watch all the films again before I can fix it.

10. Iron Man 3 [2013]

'When Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin, he starts an odyssey of rebuilding and retribution' (at Christmas)

– the end of the Iron Man story, following on from the events in Avengers Assemble, Tony hits rock bottom (again) and nothing says Christmas like watching a hero build himself up again.  If you're down, then take inspiration from Tony.  If you're looking for witty lines, charismatic actors, exciting action sequences, cool special effects and lots to warm the heart, then this is the movie for you.  Plus watching Iron Man save the day against impossible odds is definite much needed cheer at this time of year.  

9. Catch Me If You Can [2002]

'A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars' worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor' (the leads talk every Christmas)

– if you're feeling lonely this Christmas, then you'll definitely identify with Frank.  Tracking the relationship between con artist and FBI agent, the heavy juxtaposition of their lifestyles will make you laugh, the thrill of the chase will keep you excited and the empty tragedy of Frank’s life will probably get you teary-eyed, and what more can you ask for for Christmas.

8. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang [2005]

'A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor' (at Christmas)

– definitely looking for something a bit exciting then? Probably best to watch this one before you eat Christmas dinner so you’re alert enough to keep up with the twisty plot. Now it’s not going to be for everyone, for a start, it’s violent, profane and is way too gratuitous when it comes to female nudity, but it’s deeply witty, very refreshing and it's another one with Robert Downey Jr, and are you really going to suggest that Christmas + Robert Downey Jr is going to be worse than Christmas without Robert Downey Jr?

7. Scrooged [1988]

'A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve'

– okay, okay, let’s go back to something more traditional, right? You want A Christmas Carol, huh? Then settle down and try this jazzed up version, because it's a hell of a lot of fun, plus it’s 80s Bill Murray so you’ll be laughing all night.

6. While You Were Sleeping [1995]
'A ticket-collecting romantic pretends to be engaged to an unconscious man but can't fool his brother' (at Christmas)

– a schmaltzy film that will make you vomit at any other time of the year, but stick this on when you’re alone at Christmas and you’ll be sobbing into your sweater sleeves that if lonely Lucy loser can get rugged carpenter Bill Pullman all moony-eyed over her while she creepy-stalkers her way into a family that doesn’t belong to her, then maybe you can too.

5. The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

'The Muppets tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve'

– fine, it’s Christmas, you want something traditional and cultured, so it’s time to reel out that most famous of Christmas stories again, no not Jesus - Scrooge. But if you must endure this story yet again, then the addition of Michael Caine, muppets and musical numbers can only be an improvement.

4. About A Boy [2002]

'A cynical, immature man is taught how to act like a grown-up by a little boy' (he's living off the royalties of his father's Christmas song)

– this one’s for those of you who think you’d rather be alone instead of going through the family rigmarole - just remember, no man is an island. Also, see here for why suicide is bad.  Plus Hugh Grant is brilliant in this.

3. Gremlins [1984]

'A boy inadvertently breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town' (at Christmas)

– looking for something a little less schmaltzy than the last few options? How about a tongue-in-cheek monster movie. It’s funny and it’s dark, and it’s cheesy and cute and scary, a weird mix that’ll get your Christmas going with a zing. This is probably why they say you shouldn’t give pets as Christmas presents, but everyone wants a Gizmo. And hey, how about Kate's tale of Christmas woe?

2. The Shop Around The Corner [1940]

'Two employees at a gift shop can barely stand one another, without realizing that they're falling in love through the post as each other's anonymous pen pal' (at Christmas)

– and if you like to laugh and who the hell doesn’t, then you can’t top this sublimely funny film. Also, James Stewart. You really can’t do better than that.

1. It’s A Wonderful Life [1946]

'An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed' (at Christmas)

– seem like an obvious number one? There’s a reason for that, you know. George Bailey’s a bit down this Christmas.  He's on a bridge contemplating suicide. See his life story, learn how things don’t always turn out how we want, but why that’s not a bad thing; it’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s brilliant, it’s your own Guardian Angel right there.

And if you don’t feel Christmasy after those ten, then you clearly didn’t watch them, so go back and try again.

(Wow, at least four of these films contain suicide plots, but don’t worry, only one of them is successful.)

The important thing is, they all have happy endings because CHRISTMAS.

What are your favourite Christmas movies?

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