With Christmas coming, there is a growing festive spirit that gets even larger when the annual holiday movies start hitting the airwaves. Whether it is the limitless airings of It’s a Wonderful Life, both versions of Miracle on 34th Street, The Charlie Brown Christmas special, or the wonderful stop-moton animated films featuring Rudolph, Frosty and Santa, it really is the most wonderful time of the year.
With that in mind, the staff of Renegade Cinema sits down and talks about their choices for the holiday themed movies that they look forward to the most every time Christmas rolls around.
Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas
Ruby Le Rouge: I’ve watched this every year since I was tiny. It’s the one overly sappy and sentimental thing I do, because it just doesn’t feel like the holidays without it. Jim Henson will always be my hero. It’s the classic gift of the Magi story retold in the bayou, and though it is pretty sappy, it’s never felt trite to me. Henson had a gift when it came to story telling like this.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Caleb Masters: No matter how hard I try, I can’t get away from the fact that I love A Christmas Carol. I’ve seen countless renditions, stage plays, and theatrical releases.
My favorite version of A Christmas Carol is definitely “A Muppet Christmas Carol”. I love the muppets and their Christmas outing is still their best theatrical outing yet. Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat made for some fun narration and Michael Caine as Scrooge was spot on. The musical pieces (including Marley and Marley, It Feels Like Christmas) are insanely catchy and really throw me right into the Christmas Spirit.
Derek Johns: Admittedly, some of this has to do with childhood nostalgia but The Muppet Christmas Carol is still a first rate Christmas Carol adaptation in it’s own right. First of all casting Statler and Waldorf as the surrogate for Jacob Marley was a touch of genius from Jim Henson Productions. Even if you take the Muppets out of the equation, Michael Caine is still my favorite actor to ever play Ebenezer Scrooge who effortlessly portrayed the one the most well known characters in literature.
Caliber Winfield: Nuts to holiday films where people learn life lessons, or appreciate their loved ones. Gremlins is a holiday film where gnarly monsters are microwaved, put in a blender, blown up, and melted by the sun. Before all that, they’re terrorizing citizens, attack Santa, and sending a truly deserving woman soaring into the winter’s night after tampering with her stair-climber chair.
Everyone has seen it, so I don’t need to explain the plot. But it’s got Speilberg’s fingerprints all over it, as it’s a B-Movie plot that’s turned into an A film. Fantastic effects, human characters you care about and human characters you want to see get theirs, a great monster-reveal build up, action, and well executed humor.
Although, what the hell was with that stupid ‘dead was dead in the chimney’ speech?
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Patricia Márquez: I love Planes, Trains and Automobiles! It’s such a wonderful and funny Thanksgiving movie featuring two great comedic actors. Everyone can relate to certain holiday trips that just go horribly wrong, with one terrible misfortunate occurring after another. It’s also a great buddy movie, road trip movie, and one of the late John Candy’s finest works, and it’s also pretty sad and heartwarming at the end. There’s not many good thanksgiving movies but this one stands out. Mad props to PTAA all around.
Rick Tym: One of the best action films of all time, and the movie that really thrust Bruce Willis into the cinema stratosphere (no disrespect to his Moonlighting gig), Die Hard took over Nakatomi Plaza with the sweet L.A. Christmas backdrop providing the framing for one man versus Hans Gruber and his thieving minions. I love this film and can quote it not only verbatim but on command after watching it roughly 127 times freshman year on VHS. In fact, it’s almost time to pull it down off the ol’ DVD shelf, just in time to decorate the tree after we stuff ourselves full of turkey this weekend. Yippee ki yay, mother—!”
A Christmas Story
Shawn S. Lealos: A lot of people have their favorite holiday movie that they watch every year, possibly many times over. A lot of people choose It’s a Wonderful Life and others might go with Miracle on 34th Street. While both of those are great holiday movies, I prefer my holiday cheer to come from a movie that is full of bad language, an evil department store Santa Claus and a bee bee gun that might shoot your eye out. Yeah, give me A Christmas Story any day of the week. Just watch Ralphie’s childhood and things suddenly look better in your own house. We even bought my father-in-law a leg lamp for Christmas one year. Plus, who doesn’t love Chinese as a Christmas dinner?