December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment
In honor of the holiday season winding up, here’s a run-down of a few of my favorite Christmas films. While I’ve spent most of the past few weeks hiding out from winter storms in my cozy little house catching up on Lost and drinking wine leftover from the holiday party my boyfriend and I hosted, I did manage to snatch a few minutes to re-watch a few of my holiday favorites. Be forewarned: Christmas dramas don’t do it for me, and I’m a little iffy on all variations of Ebenezer Scrooge, Charlie Brown, and anything involving children convincing jaded adults of the possibility of holiday miracles. On the other hand, I do love . . .
. . . 1960s stop-motion and Burl Ives singing about holly, jolly Christmases, but even more than that, I love How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Why? Max. That dog alone can carry the whole movie–and as a bonus, you get Thurl Ravenscroft’s delightfully nasty “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Grinch is my favorite type of Christmas movie, the one that has you rooting for the villain both before and after his miraculous metamorphosis into a beacon of holiday cheer. I love my holiday films with a little bit of black humor to balance out their light.
. . . which is also why I love The Man Who Came to Dinner so very much. Monty Woolley is just hilarious as unwanted house guest Sheridan Whiteside, Bette Davis is just Bette Davis enough to play off his barbs in her role as his assistant, and the entire film has enough bite to cut through the usual holiday comedy treacle.
Still, I’m not totally averse to holiday treacle, which becomes obvious when you realize that the holiday musical is my favorite holiday sub-genre of all. My favorite Christmas scene in a musical is Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis (also my favorite Christmas song), but if I have to pick a full-length movie musical dedicated to the glories of roasting chestnuts and sleigh rides, et cetera, et cetera, then I haltingly opt for White Christmas. Sure, it’s conventional, and all right, In the Good Old Summertime has Judy Garland plus that charming Edwardian setting that I love, but . . . White Christmas has Vera-Ellen’s light-as-a-cloud dancing, cute sisterly chemistry with Rosemary Clooney, and army buddies! What’s not to love?
Merry Christmas to all!