HT Schuyler: Top 5 Favourite Christmas Movies

Posted: December 14, 2012 by htschuyler in Lists

Let’s play a little Christmas game, everyone name their all time favourite Christmas movie…the first person to say Elf loses…

Christmas is such a wonderful and magical time of year, so, naturally, there are many, many movies that celebrate it. After deciding that I wanted to do a Christmas related post I began thinking of all my favourite Christmas movies, and then I suddenly realized that most of my all time favourites were not actually movies, but were in fact simply Christmas specials. Classics like A Charlie Brown Christmas, Merry Christmas Mr. Bean and Arthur’s Perfect Christmas. It was also then that I realized that most movies that celebrate Christmas, while fun and entertaining to watch over the season, aren’t particularly great films. Most of them just exploit consumerism and promote nothing more than buying shit in order to achieve happiness (I’m looking at you Christmas with the Kranks). So with this in mind I really had to think about that films that either a.) contained many morals and values that people can really take something away from, or b.) that are just great films that relate directly to the season. So, I’ve gathered all these films together to comprise HT SCHUYLER’S TOP 5 CHRISTMAS MOVIES. TM.

HT Schuylers Top 5 Favourite Christmas Movies

5.) Die Hard.

This movie has everything you could ask for from a classic Christmas film. Terrorists, guns, violence, killing, Bruce Willis being a badass and Alan Rickman. Okay, maybe this isn’t much of a film to accurately display the holiday, and normally I don’t consider movies “Christmas films” just because they take place during the festive season, but this is one of a few exceptions. Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a cop who is forced to fight for survival and save his wife and other hostages from a group of terrorists who have crashed an office Christmas party. Bruce Willis is great as he relies on his wits to take down the terrorists and their leader, Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman in his first feature role. The movie has great action, great suspense, great direction and great performances in the first film to launch the successful and well known Die Hard series. Despite it being an action film, it contains a lot of nice Christmas imagery, there’s lights, partying, festive colours, Christmas music and even snow. So that is what makes it a Christmas classic…actually no it doesn’t but whatever this movies kicks enough ass that it deserves to be here.

4.) Black Christmas (1974).

Another movie to perfectly embrace the Christmas spirit, Black Christmas is a 1974 Canadian horror film directed by Bob Clark, who would later go on to do A Christmas Story, a film which is widely regarded as one of the best Christmas movies of all time. I actually have not seen A Christmas Story in a long time, hence its absence from this list. Black Christmas tells the chilling story of a group of sorority girls who are stalked a killed by a deranged killer during the holiday season. While this may not be the set up to get you in the mood for the holidays, it is (in my opinion) one of the greatest horror films ever made. I’ve talked before about how it revolutionized the genre and set the stage for many slashers to follow. Why this is one of my favourite Christmas movies is actually because it does, bizarrely enough, put me in the mood for the season. The scenes where the girls are all together by the Christmas tree exchanging gifts and having fun with classic Christmas music playing in the background perfectly sets the mood for the holiday. You’re put in a happy holiday state of mind, until people start getting killed and then you’re utterly terrified. A true horror classic that also serves as a haunting Christmas tale to warm your heart and chill your bones.

Don’t even get me started on that piece of shit remake…

3.) It’s a Wonderful Life.

Yes, It’s a Wonderful Life, everybody and their mom’s favourite Christmas movie. Why is this not number 1 you may ask? Well, mainly because I personally find that Christmas doesn’t really play that large of a role in this movie. It’s really not until the end that you really get that Christmas feeling, as the rest of the movie is just the life and times of George Bailey (played flawlessly by the magnificent James Stewart). Christmas doesn’t really become a big deal until the end of the movie when Bailey attempts suicide and the Angel Clarence shows him what life would be like if he never existed. Which I always found to be somewhat of a cop out, because the whole movie is leading up to this realization from Bailey, but this scene of him seeing what his life would be like only lasts for around 20 minutes, while the rest of movie is just leading up to it. So, why is this movie here? Well, despite my flaws this is still a damn good movie. I originally didn’t appreciate it on my first viewing, but over the years I’ve started to see it’s true genius and have come to respect and acknowledge it for the classic that it is. While it may not be a true Christmas film in my eyes, the fact that it can top basically every “top Christmas movies” list means that it’s good enough to be here. Plus James Stewart is just so awesome you can’t not love this movie.

2.) Christmas Vacation.

While most people would admit that the Vacation series has had its ups and downs, most people will agree that the two best are the first Vacation and the holiday classic, Christmas Vacation. Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) and his family celebrate their Christmas vacation with their entire family; both sets of grandparents, Clark’s old aunt Bethany (Mae Questel) and his grumpy uncle Lewis (William Hickey) and of course his infamous cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family. And that’s basically it, it’s a simple set up to a series of hilarious situations and set pieces. This movie perfectly displays the hardships, stresses and hilarity of spending Christmas with your family, and everybody in the movie is perfect. No matter how many times I watch this movie I’m always laughing from beginning to end, and if perfectly captures the warm Christmas feelings and joys of spending time with family during the holiday. A hilarious comedy and a perfect Christmas movie.

And my number 1 favourite Christmas movie of all time is………………………………………………………………

1.) Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) (1951)

One of the most adapted and televised stories of all time, Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol is one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told, and, in my opinion, this is the best adaption. Alastair Sim is the perfect Ebenezer Scrooge, capturing the essence of the character perfectly and convincing you that he is the real deal. The dark, cold streets of Victorian age London look beautiful, and you really feel like you are looking through a window into this time period. Scrooge’s transformation is endearing and at times heart breaking, and you feel that you are changing along with the character as you get a glimpse into his troubled past and figure out what has led him to hate Christmas. The special effects on the Jacob Marley’s (Michael Hordern) ghost are excellent and look impressive to this very day, and the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come (C. Konarski) is as chilling and frightening as ever. This movie will endear you, make you cry and ultimately make you cheer, leaving you with a goofy smile on your face once the film has ended. No movie puts the spirit of Christmas in your more effectively and joyfully. Forget those other adaptations, this is the one you want to watch to embrace the holiday season, and fill you with the love and joyfulness of Christmas.

So that concludes my Top 5 Christmas Movies, I hope you have enjoyed reading and let us know what your favourites are in the comments! From myself and everyone else here at PG COOPER’S MOVIES REVIEWS, have a happy, safe and loving Holiday Season!

-HT Schuyler.

  1. r361n4 says:

    Nice choices, I might throw in A Christmas Story and Elf for myself but otherwise I can’t argue much :)

  2. reel411 says:

    Good ones. but Scrooged needs to be here :)

  3. filmdrivel says:

    Good picks, I haven’t even heard of Black Christmas but it sounds like one I need to find!

    Shamefully I think I’d have the muppet version of Dickens story in there.

    • htschuyler says:

      I’d highly recommend “Black Christmas”, but I will admit I tend to like it more than most people. Also nothing wrong with the Mupperts version! Michael Caine makes a great Scrooge!

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