Phil shares his top five festive flicks to get you in the mood for the festive period
I don’t know about you but as soon as the spooky Halloween period comes to an end my attention immediately turns towards mince pies, winter scented candles and Christmas movies. Some might say that it’s far too early to start watching festive flicks, and yet, in the UK Netflix has been promoting Ron Howard’s The Grinch for months. Furthermore, the Sky Christmas movie channel has just launched and is packed to the brim with winter classics. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, stores across the country are already filling their shelves with festive favourites. So, who can blame me for getting a jump on things and preparing for the Christmas countdown with my top five festive flicks?
Now, call me old fashioned … but I’m a sucker for the uplifting, heartwarming stories from Doctor Seuss. I’m also a connoisseur of the ultimate crooner … and a secret Muppet lover, so my list may not surprise many of you, but nevertheless … grab a mince pie and a hot chocolate and join me for my top five festive flicks to get you in the mood!
5. Santa Claus: The Movie
Okay, Santa Claus: The Movie may be the ultimate cringe-worthy Christmas movie with an awful plot and the most abhorrent wardrobe department in history, but I adore this movie. From the opening moments when the snow begins to fall and the melody of “every Christmas Eve we are part of a miracle” begins to play, I am transported back to my childhood self as the magic consumes me and I am reminded of a time where I believed Reindeer could fly.
For the most part, the cast does an exceptional job despite the dismal screenplay. Dudley Moore slips into costume as a perfect rebellious elf Patch, David Huddleston is delightful, and for me, portrays the definitive version of Santa Claus and the unconquerable John Lithgow commands the screen in his role as the evil toy tycoon, B.Z.
As bad as it is, and believe me … it is bad, Santa Claus: The Movie just oozes Christmas aesthetics and makes for a thoroughly harmless, charming piece of Christmas nostalgia which kicks my festive spirit into high gear every time.
4. The Grinch
Okay, purists will crucify me for this one … but I adore Ron Howard’s version of Doctor Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Despite its often darker take on the source material, there’s just something special about The Grinch. At the time of its release, the casting of Jim Carrey as the titular character raised a few eyebrows, my own included, but he portrays the character with such vigour that it’s hard not to succumb to his overly sarcastic charms.
The overly goofy tone and over-elaborate aesthetics are the perfect tonics to the dark, cold winter nights and the movie fills me with Christmas joy every time. Ron Howard worked wonders to flesh out Doctor Seuss’ short story and turn it into a noteworthy feature which boasts a typically sublime score from the late great James Horner. Whenever I feel the need to dial my Christmas spirit to eleven, The Grinch is the movie I reach for.
3. The Polar Express
Probably the most magical festive flick in my top five. The Polar Express is pure, unapologetic Christmas magic. Robert Zemeckis’ heartwarming reaffirmation of Christmas spirit is an absolute joy to behold. From the magical train journey to the heavenly “Hot Chocolate” sequence and even meeting Sana Claus, this is every child’s fantasy wrapped in a big bow and realised in stunning fashion.
2. White Christmas
You can’t beat the classics … and White Christmas is the KING of Christmas classics. Despite being one of those films that aren’t overly Christmasy, White Christmas excels in harnessing the talents of its incredible cast to produce a spectacular flick which tickles my festive pickle every time. As a rule, I am very picky about my choice of musicals. I mean, I love Grease and Calamity Jane but the majority of the genre just doesn’t appeal to me. White Christmas is the exception to the rule.
Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are delightful in their roles as double-act Wallace & Davis and their on-screen chemistry, comedic timing and all-round lovability are the glittering jewels in the crown of this classic. The movie was originally designed to be a vehicle for the classic “White Christmas” song, but instead, we were gifted a delightful Christmas comedy which has a heart of gold at its centre.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
At last, we’ve reached the top spot and I am apologetic for it being bestowed upon The Muppet Christmas Carol. The lovable Muppets slip effortlessly into the classic Charles Dickens tale and present its often dark and sombre tone in a way that is both alluring and heartwarming. The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are the perfect narrators to ease us through this perilous journey into the spirit of Christmas and add their typical and often hilarious touch to proceedings.
Even though Michael Caine turns in a positively cringe-worthy performance as Ebeneezer Scrooge, it does not detract from what is a legitimate Christmas classic and my go-to festive flick to truly usher in the Christmas period. If you ever need reminding of the true meaning of Christmas, join Kermit, Fozzy, Miss Piggy and Gonzo for the ultimate festive ride of your life!
Now, despite my list being restricted to just five entries notable mentions go out to The Snow Man, A Christmas Carol (Jim Carrey), Home Alone and Home Alone 2, Gremlins, Die Hard, Batman Returns, It’s A Wonderful Life, A Miracle on 34th Street and oddly Disney’s Lady and the Tramp which is just pure Christmas magic from the opening credits! All of the above are perfectly legitimate entries into the annals of Christmas awesomeness, but my top five has withstood the test of time and gets me in the mood for Christmas every time … even in November.
What are your go-to Christmas movies? Drop me a line and join in the festive fun!
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager and Editor of Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter @philthecool where he uses the force frequently!