Snowflakes and Christmas Trees: a personal holiday movie collection.

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Hey there! I know it’s been a little while since I last posted but don’t worry I’m back! I kind of thought I would take most of the holidays off from the blog because it’s such a busy time with family and presents and all that. But, I couldn’t let this year fly by anymore without my own Christmas movie list. And since I didn’t do one last year, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some of my favorites. Christmas time is that one month each year that I’ve always loved and looked forward to. I mean sure there’s Halloween and Thanksgiving which are also great in their own ways, but I’ve always had a love for Christmas the way I think a lot of people do. Do I wish I didn’t have to see family that grills me till I’m down about my life each holiday season? Well yeah, but even that is just family, that comes with the territory of someone like me having a big family. Once I can get past all the negativity and things I’m not happy about, Christmas can make me happy. The movies of the holidays are one of the things that get me into the spirit.  Now, all my choices may not be the most popular and I might not have all the “classics”, but I think that’s okay. There’s so many different types of Christmas movies (horror, rom com, comedy, drama, you name it), that you can kind of pick and choose to your taste, and that’s what I’ve done. So let’s get started!

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8. Last Holiday (2006)

Is this a great movie? No, no it isn’t. But is it enjoyable and have some heart? Yes. Look, Queen Latifah makes this whole experience and she makes it actually watchable. Putting Latifah aside, Last Holiday is filled to the rim with cliches and over the top situations but for me, it didn’t kill the movie for me. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a Christmas-y movie and I give it a pass for that, but I don’t know I really think this will be a worth addition to your Christmas movie watching list. It’s not for everyone, but it’ll definitely make you smile a few times.

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7. Sleepless In Seattle (1993) / You’ve Got Mail (1998)

I decided to put both these movies in one number slot because of how they’re almost kind of like (unrelated) sequels to each other and it just felt right. I’ll just list some things these movies have in common for you; they both star Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, they’re both directed by Nora Ephron and they have both of our stars having somewhat of a meet cute in the final act. A lot of people would probably say that Sleepless In Seattle is their favorite of these two and that it’s the better movie, but I kind of disagree with both of those statements. I’ve always liked Sleepless and I think it’s the more popular choice of the two because it’s known for being a better movie, but I think it’s just as flawed as You’ve Got Mail. Sure, You’ve Got Mail has more stupid moments and it doesn’t always work but similar to how I am with Last Holiday, there’s something about it that makes me smile and I find myself really enjoying it. So therefore I don’t think either one is better than the other, people have their preferences but I think they both go together, in a way I kind of see You’ve Got Mail as a spiritual sequel to Sleepless In Seattle (the characters aren’t the same and there’s not relation but they feel like they’re in the same world just in different times), and that’s why I think these two movies would be a pretty great Christmas double feature.

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6. The Holiday (2006)

I always find Nancy Meyers to be a very interesting director/writer because a lot of her movies have these formulaic stories and they’re commonly flawed but for the most part (excluding What Women Want), I find myself always enjoying what I’m watching, you see a theme starting to occur in this list? The Holiday definitely isn’t my favorite of the bunch (that either goes to Parent Trap or Something’s Gotta Give), it most definitely has it’s moments. If I had it my way, I would scratch the entire storyline having to do with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law because my god is it over the top cheesy and cringey! Everything having to do with Amanda (Cameron’s character), never really interested me all that much, but anything to do with Iris (a glowing Kate Winslet), I was head over heels for. Maybe it’s her chemistry with Jack Black (I know what you’re thinking, Jack Black in a holiday rom com? But hear me out, I thought he was really good), and just her character in general is so much more interesting. I mean, I could’ve done without the entire house exchange plot and just made it about Iris traveling to LA and staying at a friend’s house! But that’s just me, I’m sure plenty enjoy the whole Amanda storyline (don’t get me wrong Jude Law is nice to look at), it’s just not my cup of tea and brings the whole experience down a little. But regardless I would still recommend this one for a nice little holiday getaway.

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5. Love Actually (2003)

I re watched Love Actually a few nights ago and funnily enough found myself not loving it as much as I had in the past. It’s very similar to how I feel with The Holiday but this time with about 20 more little stories crammed in there, some of the stories/charactes I’m really into and others I found myself getting annoyed and just not caring. But let me just say this, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman make this movie for me. I could’ve watched their story for the whole movie, every time they would pop up I would immediately be sucked back in and then it would go to a different story. Surprisingly the issue with this movie isn’t how the stories are connected and the way they do it, I think that there are just too many. To it’s credit though, this is no Valentine’s Day or New Years Eve where the stories are strung together in a really lazy way, you can tell they took the time to figure out how to seamlessly connect all these characters and stories together. My least favorite chunks of this movie are anything having to do with Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson or Colin Firth and my favorites are anything to do with Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney or Martin Freeman. So I think like any movie with this many stories in one viewing not everyone is gonna love every single one but I think if you put aside the ones you may not love there’s still a good movie in there to watch for the holidays.

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4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Okay okay I know this isn’t technically a Christmas movie, it’s more of a Thanksgiving one. But I really don’t think it matters because it still gives off that same feel that a Christmas one would, in fact you could almost mistake it for being taken place during December instead of November. I love John Hughes movies and everything about them. This seemed like it was his first movie legitimately about adults (whereas he’s usually writing about teenagers in the 80s), and like a lot of John Hughes’ work, it has laughs but it also has heart. Steve Martin and John Candy are the heart and soul of this movie and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The road trip movie with two people disliking each other but being stuck together anyway is usually my least favorite type of movie, but this one is an exception for some reason. Which after all these years I’m not sure why because it has just as much Steve Martin yelling at John Candy about being messy and crazy as any of these types of movies would have. I think it’s really the underlying heart that the movie has, throughout the whole movie you can tell that John Candy’s Del isn’t as happy as he comes off as and even Steve Martin’s Neal has some little things in his story where you can tell things aren’t always happy. Overall, I think this is a really good time and the two leads of this one are so fun to watch it’s hard to resist, so get ready for a whole lot of chaos and cameos! But seriously, there’s billions of cameos in this movie.

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3. The Family Stone (2003)

Yes, I put The Family Stone ahead of Planes, Trains and Automobiles … I did that. No, I don’t think it’s better than the previous entry on this list, but I do think it’s a perfectly dysfunctional look at a big family during the holidays. It could also be that Diane Keaton could literally sell anything to me that she’s in, whether it’s complete shit or not (maybe not Love The Coopers though, that’s a hard one to like). Or maybe it’s that this cast is a pretty perfect blend for me (besides Dermot Mulroney, sorry dude you whine a lot in this), I also think I see a piece of my family in there, in the sense that they’re loud and say what’s on their minds. I’d say the biggest downside of the movie for me is when you get to the last half of the movie there’s two different stories that we kind of teeter off into and I like one more than the other, but it never ruins the experience for me. So I’d say if you like big family Christmas movies starring Diane Keaton, skip Love the Coopers and check this one out.

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2. Nation Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

For me, this is one of those movies that comes to mind when I think of Christmas, it’s funny, has some fun wacky characters and makes for fun, silly time. Along with the original Vacation movie, this is my favorite of the bunch (European Vacation and Vegas Vacation aren’t really worth mentioning though), I think it has some of the best jokes and has a nice flow to it. It also has the best casting as far as the Griswold kids go (since they’re different every movie), with Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis playing Rusty and Audrey. Like I said before, slapstick comedy usually isn’t my favorite, but in this it somehow works, there’s a good balance of slapstick and satire to the point where I don’t mind the physical humor. So if you want a good ole wacky outing with the Griswolds then this is your Christmas movie.

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1. Elf (2003)

For years this has kind of been a tradition for my family to watch on Christmas Eve night, and it’s definitely my favorite Christmas movie. I’ve watched all the classics and for some reason this is always the one I come back to as my favorite, I just love it. Will Ferrell is perfect as Buddy the Elf and as always has spot on comedic timing and hilarious moments in this. Zooey Deschanel as Jovie is also a great counter part Ferrell’s crazy over the top happiness along with James Caan’s Walter. I’ll be honest, I don’t think there is really much I can complain about with this movie, I think it’s a really great time from beginning to end. I could say that the third act maybe isn’t my favorite? But even in that whole sequence there are things I love. For me, Elf is the perfect Christmas movie, it’s got heart, it’s got charm and it’s got lots of laughs, so if you haven’t seen it yet I would definitely recommend checking it out!

Well thanks for checking out this list and hope you enjoyed it! It’s crazy to say that this will be the last post on the blog for 2016! I promise I’ll be back in January and be posting away throughout 2017. Hope everyone has a great holiday and I’ll see ya next year!

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