Top 10 Christmas movie classics
Providing much needed brainless light relief on the day where you don’t want to think about anything, Elf is a cheery comedy where Will Ferrell does his Will Ferrell thing, and we guiltily enjoy it. The fuzzy headed buffoon plays Buddy – the only human ever to be raised as an elf at the North Pole, who’s determined to find his real dad when he discovers he’s not like his elvin brethren. But when it turns out his pa is on this year’s “Naughty List”, it might take some seriously ridiculous physical comedy to change his ways… Elf is essentially a collection of jokes about how tall Will Ferrell is in comparison to various children, but dammit, that’s all we need it to be.
After the sickly sweetness of Christmas pud, endless Quality Streets and the inevitable Cat Deeley TV appearance, a bit of Bruce Willis is the perfect ruggedly explodey tonic. Featuring a deliciously evil Alan Rickman and his crew of heavily accented villians, at the very least John McClean and his heroic vest will fight off the Christmas Day snooze for just that little bit longer.
The perfect weapon against the kids when they invariably end up kicking each other and throwing bits of potato around, The Snowman is as terrifyingly hypnotic now as it was when it was first released in 1982. Not even half an hour long, its a beautifully tragic tale of a boy who builds a snowman, only to find he comes to life. All together now, “We’re walking in the…”
Remember when Eddie Murphy was funny? Good times. Relive those warm, fuzzy feelings with genuinely brilliant Christmas comedy Trading Places; where a street smart vagrant (Murphy) and a snobby investment banker (Dan Ackroyd, yes!) find their positions reversed by two ridiculous millionaires. Dark, silly and perfect Christmas fodder for those looking to get away from jingle bells and singing animals.
Anarchy. Darkness. A scaly rampage. The inherent problems of over-population. What about this isn’t saying “a festive treat for the whole family”? Gremlins is an 80s classic, and we must recognise its bizarre genius in a sacred yearly ritual. Also, mum can’t understand why you like it so much, which makes watching it together all the more uncomfortable. Ah, Christmas.
5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Indie Christmas ahoy! If an aversion to bright lights and famous children means that your Christmas collection is looking pretty thin, this Tim Burton classic is for you. Perfect for the teens who’d prefer to spend Christmas out smoking with their mates n that, at least you can pretend to have a modicum of cool with the tale of Jack Skellington and his team of creatures who wish to shake of the shackles of Halloween in exchange for Christmas fun.
4. The Great Escape
Watching Steve McQueen tear up the countryside on that motorbike has become a wonderful – nay, crucial – part of all our Christmases. A tale of a valiant break-out from a Nazi POW camp; there’s nothing like The Great Escape to drum a bit of perspective onto your glossy Christmas sheen. And frankly, where would Grandad be without his chance to mumble “bloody Germans” into his fourth glass of Sherry? Go Steve! Go!
3. Home Alone
KEVIN! The absolutely classic tale of one boy’s war against would be thieves, Home Alone is more of a Christmas staple than Santa’s lovely trousers. Macaulay Culkin is at his infuriatingly charming best in this flick, and Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern work absolute wonders as the villainous duo. From the iron to the face (brilliant) to crunchy bauble feet and paint-can knockouts – every horrible injury is like a harmonious Christmas angel singing directly into your eyes. Marvellous.
2. It’s a Wonderful Life
There’s nothing quite like a cheerful film about suicide eh? First screened in 1946, this tale of a man’s realisation of his own worth is just as heart-warming as it ever was. It’s the one that will have your mum all teary-eyed, the little-uns utterly unimpressed (black and white?!), and will be the film to finally make you feel like Christmas has properly arrived.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
So full of emotional nutrition is this Jim Henson wonder that every moment spent watching it adds approximately half an hour to your lifespan. Putting a (much-needed) puppet-y twist on the Dickens classic, Muppet Christmas Carol is jammed packed with music, laughter and Michael Caine in a variety of super outfits. Providing everything you need out of a classic wintery tale from the Christmas turkey to the humble pie, you simply can’t go wrong with the joys of Kermit et al.
Pssst – If you’re wondering what’s out this Christmas, check out our feature on Christmas films coming out in 2010, and feast your eyes on some brand spanking new releases .