by NATALIE PENRY
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Dec. 2019) - Hello once again. It’s your favorite amateur movie critic. I’m back with a ~holiday blend~ of classics and comedies for you to watch over the highly-anticipated Winter Break. So, grab some candy canes and hot chocolate and start Netflix-binging with these certified bops.
Love Actually (2003) 5 out 5 Snowflakes
One of my absolute favorite movies of all time. If you have not seen this, get on your HBO/Netflix account RIGHT NOW and start streaming. It’s an ensemble movie, with a lot of little stories all connecting to weave a brilliant tapestry of love and holiday-ness and happiness. Emma Thompson is emotionally captivating, Bill Nighy is hilarious and ultra-cringey, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster is adorable (and was my childhood celebrity crush for like 5 years). A cinematic masterpiece in all the right ways.
Polar Express (2004) 4.5 out 5 Snowflakes
If this isn’t the best Christmas movie you’ve ever seen, then what are you watching? A magical train takes a boy on the adventure of a lifetime to the North Pole to meet with Santa Claus. Our hero boy goes on a journey with new friends to discover the true magic of believing, which includes some pretty ~interesting~ train conductors, a super creepy puppet room and a heart-racing train sequence. While the animation is starting to feel a little dated, I still get those happy sparkles in my heart while watching this movie. With a Hot Chocolate musical number and Magical Reindeer Bell, you cannot improve upon perfection. Send Tweet.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 4 out 5 Snowflakes
Probably one of the most iconic Christmas films to exist, and it is indeed a classic. Although this movie was actually a commercial flop when it first aired, it has become a staple of the holiday season for many reasons. First, the lovable George Bailey. You can’t help but fall in love with his character and his far-fetched dreams. Mary’s confidence and independence endear her to the audience, and she tries her best to make each day an adventure for her restless husband. Clarence the Angel is the Guardian Angel of my dreams, as he shows George how essential he is to everyone’s lives. While many brush it aside as a black and white golden-oldie, it ranks high in my favorite film list, and I HIGHLY recommend viewing for anyone who needs a little Christmas Cheer this year.
The Family Stone (2005) 3.5 out 5 Snowflakes
Okay, so technically speaking this film isn’t
really a Christmas movie, it’s more of a family/romantic comedy that takes place at Christmas, but that’s good enough for me. Dermot Mulroney (you probably recognize him from Friends) brings home his new girlfriend, Sarah Jessica Parker, to his very tight-knit family. Certain family members **cough cough Rachel McAdams cough cough** aren’t so happy with the new girlfriend. Add in the fact that certain brothers **cough cough Owen Wilson cough cough** fall in love with said girlfriends, and you get a classic Christmas romcom. There are laughs and tears and heart strings--it is everything you want in a Christmas movie, with an especially touching ending...but I won’t spoil anything, so pretty please go watch it now.
Holiday Inn (1942) 3.5 out of 5 Snowflakes
The oldest movie on here, but also one of the best movies of all time. Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby **dazzle** the stage and set up a slightly-unrealistic-but-still-enjoyable plot. Bing Crosby opens an inn that only hosts people during the holidays. Because it’s the 1940s, each stay is accompanied with lavish shows and dancing, led by Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds. In my heart, it’s perfect in almost every way. Warning: this movie is from the 1940s, so some...questionable costumes are used, but if you can fast-forward through George Washington day, it’s a blast.
White Christmas (1954) 3.5 out 5 Snowflakes
I love this movie more than words can say. It is truly a ~masterpiece~. I love everything about it from the old-timey musical feeling to the beautiful dancing of Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye. Special Bonuses include the ‘Sisters’ song and dance with the amazing final number. If you’re not a fan of this, you basically don’t like Christmas or musicals (which is fair, but it also means I probably don’t like you…) Anywho, definitely recommend to anyone searching for a little bit of classic Christmas vibes.
A Christmas Story (1983) 3 out of 5 Snowflakes
The OG Christmas Classic. If you’re not watching this on TBS Christmas morning, please re-evaluate your traditions. Again, this movie may not hold up great with social change, but it continues to warm hearts, almost 40 years later. You can’t not love Ralphie and his delusional visions, Randy and his snowsuit, Dad and the leg lamp, and of course, the Bumpus Hounds (my favorite part!!). This movie also graces us with some of the best one-liners in cinematic history, i.e. “Fragile...It must be Italian,” and, “We are going out!...To eat!” Classic.
The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) 3 out of 5 Snowflakes
It was ridiculously difficult for me to choose my favorite claymation Christmas film. From “Rudolph” to “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” they are a collective group of classics. However, I went with “The Year Without a Santa Claus” because of the ~iconic~ dance number from the Heatmiser and the Snowmiser. Jingle, Jangle and Vixen try to save Christmas when Santa takes a sick day, and chaos ensues. With a rallying, Elvis-y ending, you cannot go wrong with this cheerful claymation. Definitely check it out the next time you’re in the mood for a weather-themed dance medley.
Elf (2003) 3 out 5 Snowflakes
Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of this movie; however, I do recognize the greatness it once was. As a kid, I thought this was the best Christmas movie ever, and I desperately wanted to visit the North Pole. There’s a great comedic vibe throughout the whole movie, and the characters really do play well together. I especially love the dynamic within the store, from the uptight manager to the fake Santa. Favorite Scene: Buddy decorates the department store for Santa’s arrival. A holiday classic, but not aging as well as it should (I’m looking at you, bathroom sing-a-long).
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) 2.5 out 5 Snowflakes
I actually despise this movie; however, I was told by my fellow Lantern staffers and my father that I absolutely had to put this movie on the list. So, here we are. I’ll try my best. This classic family comedy puts Chevy Chase as America’s favorite dad, Clark Griswold, desperately trying to give his family the best Christmas ever. Hijinks ensue, plans go awry and everyone comes away laughing. Favorite scenes include: the Christmas dinner when the grandmother starts doing the Pledge of Allegiance (same), and the wholesome family videos Clark finds in the attic. The Griswolds are truly a one-of-a-kind family.