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Friday, November 27, 2015

Five Favorite Holiday Movies

Even during my bah humbug years, I have some traditions I stick to. One is holiday movie watching. A mix of classics and oddball recordings spark off my holiday season.
  • Home for the Holidays (1995)
    This gem starts the season off. It's a Thanksgiving movie in a sea of Christmas favorites. Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., and
    Cynthia Stevenson are the wild and not so wild children coming together at their parents house (Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning). Secrets are revealed, feelings are dished out, and a turkey goes flying. It has loads of humor, drama, and even a bit of music. It's a typical portrayal of the dysfunctional family get-together with the standard familial roles shown in a very real way. (Directed by Jodie Foster)
  • Mr. Bean Holiday Episodes (1990)
    There isn't much out there that makes me laugh harder than Mr. Bean. I can almost relate to this horrible little man. He always just takes it one step past normal into insanity. It's fun to watch the shorts of him cheating his way to the front of the line, closing the door in the face of the Christmas carolers after taunting them with treats, and of course getting his head stuck in a giant turkey. He brings dinosaurs and Daleks next to the manger and conducts a jazz rendition of God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen. I watch these a few times during the season. Knowing what's going to happen next makes me laugh that much harder.
  • Mixed Nuts (1994)
    This is another star-filled Christmas movie. This funny take on office dynamics and friendships helps me get into the holiday season. Madeline Kahn is the uptight dog-hater Mrs. Munchnik. Rita Wilson is the love-struck but shy Catherine. Steve Martin is the oblivious but well-meaning Philip. Macho Liev Schreiber rocks a little black dress and tangos like nobody's business. Even Adam Sandler makes a small appearance with a ukulele. It has the best breakup line ever, "I didn't want to tell you this over the phone, I really wanted to fax you. But you don't even have a fax!" Look out for John Stewart as a rollerblader. (Directed and written by Nora Ephron)
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
    This is a well-known classic that shows up on most people's list. It's corny, it's cheesy, it's hilarious. It's the original Christmas meltdown movie, Chevy Chase style. From Christmas-wrapped cats and questionable Christmas trees to and kidnappings and police raids, this wild 80s movie started a new movie tradition in Hollywood.
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)
    Paul Rubens as Pee-wee Herman creeps some people out, I get that. But I can't go a holiday season without watching this man-child and his cast of stars. Frankie and Annette handcraft cards and end up doing slave labor, Conkie prints out ridiculous Christmas lists, Miss Yvonne has a wild Christmas bouffant, and Jambi gives us a Christmas incantation with a mekka lekka hi, mekka ho ho ho. It's full of song and dance numbers, Charo spices it up with Feliz Navidad, K.D. Lang dances around in a country get up, Grace Jones creeps us out with her 80s stilted dance version of Little Drummer boy, and poor Dinah Shore is abandoned during her 500+ days of Christmas. Pee-wee's friends celebrate all types of holidays, he gets a dreidel from Mrs. Renee and hits a piƱata with Ricardo. Fruit cakes are had by all. It's ridiculous, but it's my kind of holiday fun. You can even have a drinking game with the secret word , YEAR!!!!!
Of course there are many holiday movies, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, A Christmas Story. But these are the movies that I have to see to start my holiday and end my year.

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