Getting festive on the screen
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
It’s that time of year again! Christmas music invades your ears, decorations are in your face, and stores are crowded everywhere as rampant consumers find material goods as gifts for their loved ones. There are a lot of Christmas movies to choose from on Netflix and every TV channel ever, but here are some of the very best.
A Christmas Story (1983)
Arguably the best Christmas movie of all time. Set in the 1940s, it follows young Ralphie (Peter Billingsly) in comical adventures leading up to the big day. There are so many classic scenes here. Getting one’s tongue frozen on a flagpole, “Mommy’s little piggy!,” and of course, Ralphie’s biggest Christmas wish: an official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Naturally, everyone warns him “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Delightfully nostalgic, this one is a staple of the season.
The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
“What’s this?” Perhaps the best-known and loved Tim Burton movie, it’s a beautiful Claymation adventure of holiday worlds colliding. When Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon), the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, stumbles into Christmastown, he discovers true Christmas magic. Jack decides to give Santa Claus a “vacation” and hijacks Christmas for himself. Things quickly go very wrong as monsters and ghouls attempt to celebrate the holiday. Suitable for all ages but still deliciously creepy, it’s beautifully crafted and features a delightful Danny Elfman soundtrack.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
There are a lot of adaptions of the Scrooge story, but this one is the very best. It features Michael Caine as Scrooge, Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, and Gonzo as Charles Dickens/the Narrator. Despite featuring musical numbers and half of the characters being Muppets, this is still an incredibly faithful adaption of the original novel. A lot of the dialogue is even verbatim. It combines the most beloved Christmas story of all time (besides the manger one) with all the zany antics of a Muppet tale, and the results will make you quite happy inside.
Love Actually (2003)
An all-star ensemble British cast including Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Kiera Knightley, and more round out these nine intertwining plots. It tells many stories of all kinds of love (“love, actually, is all around”), romantic and familial alike. The concept of “intertwining ensemble cast during a holiday” has been ripped off several times since, but nothing comes close to capturing the magic of this modern classic. It’s overly sentimental and sugary, but it’s also relatable and genuinely heartwarming in its message. If you’re feeling down over the holidays, or just need a reminder of love in the world, give this one a chance.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
It was dismissed by critics and didn’t earn much when it first came out in theatres, but it went on to be the Christmas movie, and is considered one of the very best movies ever made. Small-towner George Bailey (James Stewart) is one of the most beloved men in Bedford Falls. But after being ripped off by the villainous banker Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) and endangering the town, George contemplates suicide on Christmas Eve. Enter his guardian angel, Clarence (Henry Travers), who shows George how much worse off everyone would be if he was never born. It’s often parodied and universally cherished, because it really is that charming and well-done. An oldie, but a goodie.