Beloved films to start your holiday
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The holidays are upon us! Winter celebrations take many forms, but the biggest mainstream Hollywood films still emphasize the Christmasy aspects of the season. From golden oldies to contemporary classics, here are some films to get you into the spirit.
A Christmas Story (1983)
This charming 1940s-setting tells the story of nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) and his one Christmas wish: an authentic Red Ryder air rifle. Unfortunately, the adults in his life all warn him, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Ralphie must also contend with his friend’s tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole, his father’s (Darren McGavin) passion for hunting dogs and leggy lamps, and sadistic elf helpers in this zany tale.
Love Actually (2003)
This is one of the best ensemble and love exploration films in recent memory. The movie follows the connected stories of many forms of love during the holiday season. Featuring a cast of almost every recognizable British actor, this film reminds us of the force that manifests among each other: that “love, actually, is all around.”
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Enjoyable Muppet humour and extremely wonderful jolly songs are enough to love this Scrooge story. But if that’s not enough, this adaption is one of the most faithful versions of A Christmas Carol ever made. The majority of scenes and dialogue are verbatim from the original Charles Dickens, portrayed by Gonzo in this film. And who could forget the legendary Michael Caine as Scrooge?
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) attempts to have a fantastic Christmas with his family. Of course, things don’t go exactly according to plan as Clark battles a rogue squirrel inside a fir tree, his cheap boss (Brian Doyle-Murray), and a lazy cousin (Randy Quaid) who drops by for a so-called visit. This remains one of the classic and best family-hijinks Christmas movies.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This is perhaps the most famous, parodied, and best Christmas movie of all time. George Bailey (James Stewart) is fed up with his family and small town and contemplates ending it all on Christmas Eve. That’s when an angel (Henry Travers) shows him what his family’s lives would be like if George was never born. It remains a heartwarming, magnificently crafted, beloved classic almost 70 years later.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton presents a unique Claymation adventure. This beloved film features Jack Skellington (voiced by Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, who accidentally stumbles upon Christmas Town. Fascinated by the contrast of the two holidays, Jack kidnaps Santa (voiced by Ed Ivory) and attempts to take over Christmas monster-style. The disastrous holiday merging is genuinely beautiful on its own terms.