Photo courtesy of moviemarker.co.uk
Though it’s somehow still shorts weather and there is not a flake of snow to be seen in Kansas City, Christmastime is upon us once more. The stockings have been hung and the trees are decorated, providing the perfect environment for you to snuggle up in your coziest penguin pajamas and watch some Christmas classics. Here are a few I’d recommend:
For the kids: Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the real people version)
“He’s the kind of city council guy that’d try to pretend 9/11 never happened,” my friend muttered upon seeing the mayor of Whoville for the first time.
I had to agree – with his smug-looking face and haircut fit for a used-car salesman, he really did look like an utter sleazeball.
The mayor of Whoville was a character in the first movie we watched, Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
I’m not talking about the cutesy cartoon version of Dr. Seuss’s book, but the movie where they actually bring Whoville to life. They use enough hairspray to kill a small dog with the fumes, and the camera angles and colors are fit for an acid trip. Seeing a place like that really exist, even if it is just limited to a movie set, is every little kid’s dream come true.
The movie starts with some full-on capitalism. The Who’s, funny-nosed creatures of Dr Seuss’s imagination, are running to and fro to complete their last-minute Christmas shopping. Meanwhile, the Grinch, a large snot-green beast played by Jim Carrey, lurks in his cave at the top of Mt. Crumpit, which overlooks Whoville. He’s a monster who all of the Who’s fear – he notoriously hates the holiday that they love the most: Christmas.
For all of those avid Dr. Seuss readers out there, we know what’s next: after a nasty confrontation with the Who’s, resulting in them ridiculing him, the Grinch comes down from his mountain on the night of Christmas Eve and tries to steal Christmas. He sucks up all of their toys and goodies, Christmas trees and decorations and brings them to the top of Mt. Crumpit to dispose of them.
But then, something amazing happens. The Grinch peeks down at Whoville Christmas morning, expecting to see a whole bunch of chaos and sadness. He did take all of their Christmas presents, after all. What he does observe, though, is something you’ll have to find out for yourself. Really, watch the movie. It’s hilarious.
My favorite part of the movie is at the end, when the Who’s invite the Grinch down to Whoville to sing with them, even after he tries to steal their Christmas. They’re all standing together singing, the Grinch included, but he doesn’t know the lyrics so he’s just completely butchering their song. It’s pretty amusing.
For an adaptation of a little kid’s book, this three-hour long movie is full of cheesy humor that you won’t be able to help but snicker at. From the baby Grinch taking a bite out of a glass plate to his lame prank calls, there’s something for everyone to find funny.
For the romantics: Love Actually
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a hopeless romantic who wouldn’t dare turn down a good old fashioned rom-com. Multiply a good love story at Christmas time by eight, and you have one of my favorite movies of all time, Love Actually.
“Love Actually” is like “New Year’s Eve” or “Valentine’s Day” with it’s star-studded cast. It’s got two-time Academy Award nominee actress Keira Knightley and Alan Rickman, who’s so decorated with awards that he’s got his very own Wikipedia page for all of them.
My favorite love story in the movie isn’t even about a couple. It’s Collin, arguably the most awkward man on the planet when it comes to talking to girls, and four American girls. After mistake after mistake made with British girls, Collin decides to give them up entirely and buys a plane ticket to Wisconsin to find some hot American girls over Christmas. He succeeds. The best scene in the movie being when they’re all sat down together in the bar, making him pronounce everyday objects in his accent.
I’ve got to admit that I’ve done similar things with people I’ve met with accents, which is another reason why I love the movie: it’s relatable. Of course, not everyone meets and falls in love with Hugh Grant on a daily basis, but at least it’s not decked out with Santa and reindeer and the characters up to their necks in fake snow like every other stereotypical movie out there.
For those who just like to sit back and reminisce: It’s a Wonderful Life
Ranked the best Christmas movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes and second best only after “Elf“on AMC, “It’s a Wonderful Life“ never fails to top the charts in its holiday charm. It does a magnificent job of proving that a grainy black and white film from 1946 can still capture us today with its timeless lines that will make you chuckle, gasp in horror and smile so hard your cheeks hurt.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” begins with different people praying for a man named George. He’s at the end of his rope, working a job at a loan firm that he hates and always putting himself last is finally taking a toll on him. After losing a large sum of money on Christmas Eve, George becomes suicidal, wishing he was never born.
He climbs to the top of a bridge and is about to jump into the icy water below when suddenly, someone else beats him to it. It’s Clarence, his guardian angel. George saves Clarence and Clarence grants George his wish, a world in which he never existed. George’s loan firm has been closed down in favor of a night club. His enemy, Potter, has claimed the entire town for his own and his wife doesn’t even recognize him. Seeing all of this, George realizes what a wonderful life he led and begs his guardian angel to take him back to the life he led before.
This was actually my first time watching the movie, and I’m not gonna lie: I had to read the plot off of Wikipedia while I was watching the movie because I couldn’t understand what they were saying for the first 20 minutes of the movie. The characters just spoke too fast and had this weird half-English half-American 1940’s dialect.
Even though I didn’t understand a lot of what they were saying, I could appreciate the pretty pictures moving around on screen, like the random animals in the loan firm. They were all the pet’s of George’s uncle, who was crazy. There was this huge crow that would casually plop down on a person’s shoulder like they were in a Disney movie or something. In another scene, a guy was sitting at his desk with a squirrel lazily crawling up his arm. Also similar to a Disney movie, or any good movie for that matter, was the happily ever after.
It’s not a Christmas movie if there’s not a happy ending.