Christmas Classics

Bad Santa DVD cover features Billy Bob Thornton and the other stars

When the holidays roll around, what’s your go-to show or movie? Ken and I had this discussion on the air last week. He doesn’t stray from the time-tested classics: It’s A Wonderful Life, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I say, he’s missing out. 

I love the old Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol as much as anyone does. It’s been remade, faithfully, many times, as recently as in 2009. While remakes often leave me cold, I actually prefer Scrooged – Bill Murray’s take on the tale from 1988. Scrooged doesn’t try to replicate the 1951 original. It offers a fresh – and at the time – modern version.

Love Actually DVD cover with photos of its biggest stars including Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Kiera Knightly and Hugh Grant

My must-have at this time of year is Love Actually. Pre-conceived notions killed this funny and wise movie for some people while the rest of us let it live in our cold, little hearts. It’s edgier and less sappy than some would have you believe. You can’t watch it with kids in the room. Love Actually follows eight diverse couples as they figure out what love is. And it’s all strung together by an aging rock star’s attempt to capture a British honour: the number one song at Christmas-time.

As much as I’m willing to consider newer Christmas movies, I can’t understand the enduring popularity of Elf. It was a cute premise, I’ll grant you that. But the costumes were…problematic. Let’s just say the photo of Will Ferrell on the DVD cover wearing a modest tunic top is not how he – or any male elf – appears in the movie. Blech. Give me the dark humour of Bad Santa any day. At least you know what you’re getting into as you settle in. But skip the sequel. It had none of the charm (yes I said charm!) of the first one.

I’m certain I’m missing out on some holiday gems and I’d love to know about them in the comments. Now if you’ll excuse me, Colin Firth is waiting for me. Love, Actually…is all around.

8 thoughts on “Christmas Classics”

  1. Several years ago Jack Batten in Toronto was asked on air what his favourite Christmas movie was and he answered with “The Thin Man”. We went to our local video store (where Jack’s daughter worked) to check it out. We had a laugh over his choice but rented the movie. Which was awesome because I discovered 2 of my favourite actors, Myna Loy and William Powell. Thanks Jack!

    1. Cavan Kelly

      I’d never really thought of it as a Christmas movie, but I’d second the choice of The Thin Man. There were several others in the series, four or five in total.

  2. Ursula Schwarz

    I also love The Family Man with Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni, it’s a modern version of what would happen if you had chosen a different path in life.

    1. I’ve never seen that one! It sounds a bit like Sliding Doors with Gwynneth Paltrow. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Kim Burton

    My definite must watch Christmas movies every year are “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas” and “Miracle on 34th Street” (the 1994 version). But I watch all the Hallmark Christmas movies, some are good, some not so much. I love all things Christmas but by the end of the season, I have definitely had enough!!

    1. I hear you, cousin! I still love It’s a Wonderful Life. I should try Miracle… again.

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