If you're like me this year you've have next to no time to prepare for the holidays and they start tomorrow! Where did the time go? With Christmas Eve just hours away you've got to get into the Christmas spirit and you've got to do it fast! Luckily we're here to help. We've got a list of helpful suggestions for your holiday viewing pleasure. We've got everything to meet the needs of those stuck in the past, or who like things to be more animated, or those who like to laugh, or those who like their Christmas to be full of action or bloody. Who doesn't want that? Peruse my list of required viewing pleasures and be sure to add your own after the break so others too can get into the Christmas without relying on spiked egg nog.
Happy Holidays everyone!
For the nostalgic fan - You simply cannot go wrong with White Christmas and It's A Wonderful Life, both of which should be in regular rotation on any and all cable networks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. White Christmas has only been slightly tainted by a previous rendition of 'Sister, Sister' by a former roommate and his younger brother, both clad in kilts and Ottawa Senators jerseys. I think it was this movie that made me fall in love with Vera Ellen, though I keep wanting to yell at the screen, 'For crying out loud eat a sandwich woman!'. Yeah, she was graceful and beautiful but I swear you could see through her waist. This film fulfils that golden Hollywood niche perfectly. And then do you really have anything bad to say about It's A Wonderful Life? The only thing that could be better than the original film was a stick figure cartoon I saw on television some years ago. But that movie is one of my favourites that I have to see each year.
For the horror fan - I will be the first to admit that I like my Christmases light and fluffy, not dark and bloody. But, if horror is your bag and you want something a little dark this holiday season I will recommend the original Black Christmas. Not only is it Canadian [huzzah] but it is also recognized now as the first slasher film made. And honestly it is a genuinely creepy affair too. If only someone would look into the attic window! But I'm not the first one to come to for recommendations of Christmas themed horror films. Had I been able to get down to the Bloor Cinema tonight for a little Christmas cheer for another film of this ilk, Christmas Evil, I may have had another film to recommend in the coming years. But alas, parts delivery drivers are not hired for their smarts or driving skills and I got to work an hour extra tonight!
For the action fan - I've said it many, many times before. If you want a quality action film to watch during the holidays you can do no wrong with Die Hard. Of all of the action films in the late 80s that I remember none could match the balance of action, humour and entertainment like Die Hard did. And it happens during the Christmas season too. To this day I will make time during the holidays to sit down and watch it. It, like any other good film Die Hard fell victim to franchising, though the second one also took place during the holiday season and was filmed here in Toronto [another Huzzah]. But the success and formula of the first film could not be repeated, however valiantly they tried.
For the animation fan - This one borders on nostalgia but also because I have seen some wretched, wretched excuses for Christmas animations in recent years. Hands up anyone who has seen Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys? Horrible, horrible straight to DVD crap but it would make one hell of a drinking game when they say the word 'toys' which they do a lot, including a song where the chorus is just the word 'toys' repeated umpteen times! But, good times will be had by all if you watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I shudder to think that the original Grinch animation was surrounded by as much product shelling as its live action successor, which itself was odd given its anti-consumerism message. Oh and how we Jesus Freaks love it when Linus tells the story of the birth of the Christ child right from scripture in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Fundamentalists have a field day with that one. It may be the only VHS tape allowed in those households. Cause DVD is of the devil!!!
For the comedy fan - I began my belated Christmas viewing the other night. Our local national broadcaster, CBC, was showing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation but I knew better than to watch it with commercial breaks. My suspicion was only confirmed after I watched the network cut out the lingerie scene completely. What the hell man? Gosh darn it I want to see lingerie that is cut high on the thigh and I want to see it now! So in went my DVD and this movie has lost not of its appeal. It is still very funny having some of the best lines ever, including 'Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.'. Another must see in the comedy genre is A Christmas Story. Pink. Bunny. Suit. Need I say more? Sure. A Christmas Story wonderfully captures the joy and tribulation of a child at Christmas. It is pure joy.