One thing that I love about the Christmas season is that I get to watch all the holiday-themed movies that I want. Sure, I could watch these types of movies at anytime during the year, but I specifically like the yuletide atmosphere provided by the movies to go hand-in-hand with the current season. So here are the Christmas or Christmas-related flicks that I have watched all throughout my life and would recommend to others—except for a few which I don’t really like. 😛
9 Mornings (2002)
Let’s start with a local movie. This flick was particularly crafted to portray one of the most significant Christmas traditions, the Simbang Gabi/Aguinaldo Mass. The said masses are celebrated every dawn, for nine days before Christmas (which explains the title). Although this Filipino tradition is exemplified here, the main story is a love story between a church and orphanage volunteer (Donita Rose) and a wealthy businessman (Piolo Pascual). Both actors look great together, that I thought that they would wind up together in real life.
A Christmas Carol (2009)
What else? It’s the most current holiday-themed movie showing around and it definitely imparts lessons on selflessness and simplicity. To understand Disney’s 3D adaptation though, you will first need to read the novella (on which it was based on) written by Charles Dickens. Spectacular effects, engaging antics, and a fulfilling end. Click to read the dedicated blog post.
A Christmas Romance
This is a home video, which is also a compilation of television episodes. I recently rented it out and viewed it, and while doing so, I noticed that most of the scenes were vaguely familiar. If I were to take a hunch, I have already watched this television series in my early childhood and have just forgotten about it while growing up. Thank GOD for rendering this short Christmas television series on home video! Now, I get to reminisce a part of my Christmas childhood.
A Christmas Romance is just like any other Scrooge-turned-into-loving-man story. The only difference is, the Ghosts of Christmas are replaced here by a destitute mother-and-three-daughter family fighting to keep their home from being taken over by a greedy bank.
Call Me Claus (2001)
One reason for watching this: Whoopi Goldberg. I just love her performances and how she injects humor without obviously trying. Like in A Christmas Romance, it’s got a similar premise to that of A Christmas Carol: A hardworking and moneyed individual who doesn’t care for the holidays discovers the real meaning of the season.
Here, though, there is no romantic angle (Haven’t you noticed that in Goldberg’s movies? No leading man!). The protagonist is hostile towards the holiday season because it reminds her of the death of her father—her father died during the holiday season.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Although the spirit of Christmas is not necessarily imparted in this flick, it still portrays family and forgiveness which is just right for the season. Plus, it’s got superb acting (by idol, Johnny Depp) and great effects.
After watching this flick, I thought, “What a genius Willy Wonka is!” Seriously! If he hadn’t run away from home, he would have become a medical innovator and discovered a cure for cancer and AIDS or, he would have pioneered in space aeronautics and revolutionized technology to that of what we see in the movies. Well, he’s fictional so what the heck!
If you haven’t watched it, you’re in for an awesome world inside the chocolate factory.
Home Alone (1990) & Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
These are two of my traditional Christmas movies. I guess it’s every boy’s dream, back then, to be in Kevin’s shoes. You house all to yourself, you’re being chased by bad guys, and you kick their butts by devising all those cool booby traps around the household. Kickass action-adventure! …well, in the context of a 10-year-old, anyway.
Jingle All the Way (1996)
The reason I watched this as a kid was because it starred my former favorite action star, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Good thing too, since it was the last comedy film that Schwarzenegger starred in. The plot is the old, busy-corporate-family-man-discovers-family-as-more-important-than-work story. What I find crazy in here is that Howard Langston (Schwarzenegger) goes through a lot of trouble just to get a toy for his kid when in the end, all the kid wants is some quality time with his father.
Look Who’s Talking Now! (1993)
Although Christmas in this movie was passed off as an accessory, it would be a nice diversion from traditional Christmas films. It’s the third installment of the hit, Look Who’s Talking trilogy starring John Travolta. Remember that movie that opens with sperm cells swimming in the fallopian tube, contesting to fertilize an ovum? How about those babies that talk with their minds but no one but the viewer hears them? That’s mostly the plot—a weak formula, I know, but otherwise entertaining. Of the three installments, I love this one best mainly because it now focuses on animals (dogs).
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
Of course, we couldn’t take away 2D animation from Christmas movies. Cartoons are already associated with Christmas, what with all the 2D flicks shown in the 1990s.
This flick is a very essential if you happened to have seen 101 Dalmatians, the live-action movie, television, film, and home video spin-offs, and 102 Dalmatians. Basically, everything started from this Disney animated movie. So if you’re itching for a traditionally-animated flick, this is one that will give you some laughs and thrills.
I always said that the Christmas season is the best time to fall in love, so why not cuddle up with a romantic holiday-themed movie? I definitely revere the ingenuity of this film—it’s the only film that I know of wherein the two protagonists (Beckinsale and Cusack) are together only at the beginning and the end. All throughout, the viewer sees them in separate fits of close chance encounters, but not really meeting. Both protagonists want to see each other, but they don’t one another’s contact details. In this situation of missed connection, other means of communication and getting together form in order for the two souls to hook up. It reinforces my conviction that if you’re meant for each other, you are really meant to be together, no matter what the circumstances.
Shrek the Halls (2007)
I am so glad that DreamWorks animation thought of coming up with a Christmas-themed television special for the very popular Shrek series. It’s actually what we need—a mixed-up, disgusting take on Christmas. It’s timed after Shrek the third, so this special involves Shrek and Fiona’s kids. Knowing Shrek’s attitude, expect him to be antagonistic of the season; eventually, he makes up for his wrongdoings to his family and friends. Expect, also, an ogre Santa Clause with a particular “scent” for a gift. Click to read the dedicated blog post.
The Christmas Shoes (2002)
Maggie to her son, Nathan: I’m gonna’ be seeing a lot of angels soon.
Nathan: You are?
Maggie: Yeah, in heaven.
Nathan: Why is GOD taking you to heaven?
Would GOD be made at me if I told HIM I didn’t want HIM to take you to heaven?
…Tell me you kind of want me to change his mind.
… …Don’t go momma, please don’t go…
I have to say, the script and the acting, coupled with strategic shots, were real tear-jerkers! The main story is that of a man who puts high importance on work (I know, again!) against family time and the holiday season. Another main story happens: A boy’s mother is dying from myocarditis (it’s rarely lethal now), and he wants to get her a Christmas present—Christmas dancing shoes. These two stories are interconnected when the characters cross paths and, without them knowing it, help each one to get through the darkest Christmas of their lives.
Mom, I bought you these shoes…
…to wear in heaven.
The Holiday (2006)
[inhaling gas from her stove in an act of suicide when suddenly, her email beeps]
What am I doing?!
[opens window and gasps]
[slaps her face]
Low point indeed!
Why I watched this: Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet in one film. Add Jack Black for a dose of comedy and everything is just perfect! (I don’t care for Jude Law and his receding hairline). Seeing Diaz and Winslet together just makes me drool…
The Holiday is based on the premise of two women wanting to take a vacation and just happened to get in touch through an online home-exchange program. I actually enjoyed it and, am interested in the home-exchange thing. You never know what opportunities you can incur in it. The film is good, comedic, and not at all boring. It’s not at all atrocious—it was actually a financial success! So don’t believe those critics and ratings when they say that a movie is not worth watching at all—see it first then judge for yourself.
[Iris talks on the phone to Amanda (Diaz) and Graham (Law).]
Iris to Amanda: My brother wants to know how you are.
Amanda: Can you tell him that I’m good and that I’m just taking Charlie for a walk in the village. Uhm, what’s he been up to, didn’t he say?
Iris: I’m not sure. Do you want me to ask him?
Amanda: Uh, sure!
Iris: Okay, hold please.
Iris to Graham, presumably: I can’t believe that you have had sex with the woman staying in my house!
Amanda: *gasp!* He told you that?
The Nativity Story (2006)
Again, no matter what people say about a movie, you will never know if it’s really, really true unless you watch it for yourself. I know that this flick has received mostly negative reviews, and I can understand them—the film is inferior to other Nativity/Christian flicks in terms of accuracy and perfection, but it doesn’t really matter. In this movie, you will experience what the holy family had to go through before the grandest birth on Earth. Although the portrayal of Jesus’ birth was lacking in sincerity (the baby had no umbilical cord or vernix caseosa post birth), the climactic effect was still there and it was definitely overwhelming!
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Another romantic-comedy taking place during the Christmas season. The plot is definitely insane! Imagine falling for someone you don’t know, you rescue this person from trouble, he/she gets unconscious, and everyone around suspects you as his/her fiancé, including the person’s family! Now, what do you do when this person finally regains consciousness?
Holiday flicks that I didn’t like:
Just Friends (2005)
It’s got a good story arc, but I just wished the interpretation was tweaked more on self-respect (since it involves a former fat guy who trimmed down due to pressure) and the essence of finding yourself attractive. Instead, it centered on a lot of lousy frolics on the love story.
The Santa Clause (1994) and The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
I know that these films were a hit, but I didn’t really like them. I don’t know, Tim Allen just doesn’t appeal to me the way it does to others. The plot is good, but I wished in the end, Scott Calvin and his wife, Laura got back together and stayed as a family with Charlie.
The Polar Express (2004)
I never seen this on the 3D screen—just as a home video. Maybe if I did see it on 3D, I would have liked it. Such a shame…
Holiday flicks that I will definitely catch up on:
Happy Holiday Viewing, Everyone!! 😀