TAU Top 10: Christmas Films
- Category: Film
- Published: Tuesday, 24 December 2013 18:06
- Written by Deedsy
"Check out TAU's definitive top 10 Christmas films!"
Christmas is officially upon us, which means one thing; Christmas movies and more Christmas movies. There have been many - most not worth sitting through - but hidden amongst those are some real treasures. Here at The Awesome Update we’ve had a lot of fun choosing our favourites, to compile a list of the top 10 greatest Christmas films. Let’s see if you agree. Enjoy!
10 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Coming in at a gentlemen’s tenth on our Top Ten Christmas Film’s list is a festive comedy from the pen of John Hughes (Home Alone) and directed by Jeremiah. S. Chechik. This chaotic caper is a snapshot view of family life during one of the most stressful holidays of the year, Christmas. We are invited into the home of the Griswold’s as the family’s patriarch, Clark (Chevy Chase), tries to construct the perfect “good old fashioned family Christmas”. As you’d expect, Clark’s well intentioned plans go awry as his increasingly testing family descend upon his home. Despite being full of hilarious moments and endlessly quotable lines, the real lasting impact of this film comes from its underlying sweetness, a sweetness rooted in Clark’s noble cause, and all too familiar situation.
9 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
At first glance, this is a very unusual Christmas film; following the exploits of Jack Skellington, the main man in Halloweentown, as he discovers Christmastown and is entranced by the concept. The moment you see this is written by Tim Burton, however, the “unusual” nature sort of slides away, and you get to relish in the delightfully bizarre nature of the story. The film manages to be creepy, disturbing, funny, heart-warming and joyful all in one, and is one of the single greatest Christmas films ever shown, simply because of its unique spin on everything, whilst still retaining the “meaning of Christmas” stuff that we expect from the genre. A truly marvellous film.
8 The Santa Clause (1994)
This is my absolute favourite Christmas film of all time, and I’m astonished it only made number 8 on the list. “The Santa Clause” stars Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a workaholic, part-time dad who, when looking after his son on Christmas Eve, is awoke by Santa on the roof. Upon going outside to inspect the intruder, he accidentally startles Santa, who falls off the roof. Finding reindeer and a sleigh and Santa disappeared from his suit; Scott is encouraged by his son to try it on, and in doing so, he is subject to the Santa Clause making him, very reluctantly the new Santa. I love this film as it is so full of the spirit of Christmas; it has a brilliant cast, a truly magical story, and a lot of heart. It was released in 1994 and I have been watching it every year, ever since. Tim Allen is perfect for the role of Scott/Santa; he brings to it a lot of humour and emotion. The film was very successful and has produced 2 sequels; The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), both great films, but not a patch on the original, which just signifies Christmas is here again.
7 Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
I haven’t met one person in my entire life who doesn’t love Miracle on 34th Street. What is amazing about this film, is that it is a fantastic remake of the original version, with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood from 1947. The 94 film has managed to create its own take on a beloved classic, hold its own, and become a seasonal favourite for whole new generations. Edmund Gwenn’s Santa Clause from the original may be a favourite of many, but Richard Attenborough has got to be the best Santa Clause in any film, ever. He brings so much warmth to the role; you just can’t help but smile when he is on screen. Beginning with the famous Macy’s annual parade, the real Santa is hired by the company to perform the role when their original is discovered drunk. From there, he meets a single mother who runs the parade and her young daughter, who has been brought up in a practical, no nonsense manner. There is no room for fairy tales and imagination in this small family, and especially no room for Santa Clause. It is up to Santa to prove to them that it is good to believe, to have faith and imagination in this world. Amen to that.
6 Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard is a movie about one man going up against a team of terrorists after they take over a building. It’s as fantastic as it sounds. It’s also a Christmas film. You may disagree, but it meets all the criteria of a Christmas film: spirit of giving – John McClane is a very giving man, especially when it comes to bullets; thankfulness – McClane is thankful he survived his ordeal and was reunited with his estranged wife; importance of family – the only reason McClane is there is because he came to the coast to be with his family for Christmas; miracles – one man survives against a host of professional terrorists (the sequels prove McClane can pull off Christmas miracles all year round). Most importantly: the entire film takes place on Christmas Eve, with the backdrop being an office Christmas party. Die Hard really is a brilliant Christmas film.
5 How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Hilarious, infinitely quotable and enjoyable for everyone: what’s not to love about The Grinch? The story of how one outcast tries to ruin things for everyone, before realising that material possessions aren’t the be-all, end-all of the holiday, is one of the best Christmas stories ever told. With some excellent performances - Jim Carrey on absolutely perfect form - and a simple, yet inspired story, I really can’t think of anything wrong with this film. The entire thing is absolutely nonsensical, but what would you expect from a story based on a Dr Seuss book? There are few things as good at this time of year as watching the story of someone that hates Christmas come to love it. Especially if that person is a tall, green-skinned/haired guy with a massive grin that tells such classic jokes as “Is your refrigerator running? Then you better go catch it!”
4 Elf (2003)
At fourth, we have the ever brilliant Elf. Elf tells the tale of Buddy - played by Will Ferrell - an orphan child who crawled into Santa’s sack on Christmas Eve when he was a baby, and was taken back to the North Pole and raised as an Elf. After growing up and towering above the other elves, he always felt different, and after finding out the shocking news that he was, in fact, a human, Buddy heads to New York to find his Father. Will Ferrell brilliantly portrays the childlike innocence of an elf who has never witnessed the modern way of life in New York, and provides a barrel full of laughs and enough Christmas spirit to tide you over for many Christmas’s to come.
3 Jingle All The Way (1996)
Weighing in at number three is this heavyweight entry starring none other than action man incarnate, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The premise is a simple one: an over worked and loving father attempts to buy his sons happiness at Christmas by getting him the year’s most sought after toy, Turbo Man. Of course, achieving this turns out to be far more complex than the plot suggests as Howard (Schwarzenegger) contends with a ring of crooked Santa’s led by Jim Belushi (also keep an eye out for the cameo of WWE star, the Big Show), a fellow desperate father Myron (Sinbad) and an adulterous neighbour, Ted.
For me, it’s the turn of the tragically late Phil Hartman (who you may remember from such voice acting work as Troy McClure in The Simpsons) who steals the show as the lecherous neighbour Ted; his faux performance as the friendly guy next door is hilarious and the perfect foil to Schwarzenegger’s more straight laced Howard. A fun, festive frolic for all the family.
2 Home Alone (1990)
If there is one Christmas film and one only that everyone knows of and most love, it's Home Alone, which just narrowly misses out on our top spot. The film that made Macaulay Culkin a child star, its basic premise is a large family goes on a Christmas vacation, only to realise they have left an 8 year old child home – wait for it – alone. To make matters worse, two (admittedly incompetent) thieves have targeted the house. Fortunately, this 8 year old child is no ordinary one, and what follows is a madcap adventure that has since been emulated many times but never truly matched, wherein the thieves face off against the ingenious terror that is Culkin. Full of quotes and memorable moments, you can't go wrong with this film, and I can practically guarantee that any child you show this to will love it.
1 The Muppet Christmas Carol (1993)
So here it is, Merry Christmas and what better way to spend it than with The Muppets! This classic retelling of Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ brings together an incredible performance from Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, along with the timeless humour of Kermit and the gang! Not only does this film follow the classic tale very closely, it is actually narrated by Charles Dickens himself… played by Gonzo!
Like the original tale, Scrooge makes his employees, including Kermit, work over the holiday season, and due to his horrible deeds, Scrooge meets the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come, who take him through a journey of enlightenment that involves many of The Muppets, and lots of heart-warming songs that could fill any humbug full of Christmas cheer!
From everyone at The Awesome Update, have a freakin’ awesome Christmas and a Happy New Year!