The Towerlight’s Holiday Movie Guide
The Santa Clause
Where do we start with “The Santa Clause?” It simply ranks among the greatest Christmas movies of all time. The tragic death of Santa Clause at Scott Calvin’s (Tim Allen) house would have ruined Christmas, had it not been for Scott himself. Scott’s ex-wife is convincing their son Charlie that Santa isn’t real, which came as a surprise to me because for 21 years, I thought the big man in red was real. The new Santa teaches Charlie, and all of us watching, that he does indeed exist. If you like Tim Allen and movies that make you believe in the magic of Christmas, watch this. If you don’t like these movies, you might want to check yourself, Mr. Scrooge.
The Santa Clause 2 and 3
Watch “The Santa Clause.” It’s a fantastic move. No, it’s not the deepest, or most meaningful film, but it’s a classic feel-good holiday film.
Do not watch “The Santa Clause” 2 or 3. They are bad films. The second movie takes the original movie and adds an unnecessary rom-com twist, which kills any potential the film had. The third has a nice idea for a story, but the entire thing is flat. Tim Allen is tired of being Santa, and all the characters are shells of their former selves. But really, the first one is great; I can’t imagine my childhood without it.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
In “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” Jim Carrey portrays the fuzzy green misfit who becomes a recluse from the town of Whoville after an embarrassing elementary school incident in front of his crush, who grows up to be the mayor of Whoville’s wife. The movie, which was released in 2000, adds to the plot of the original Dr. Seuss book and is great to start off the holiday season. Although I do highly recommend the 1966 short animated television special, Jim Carrey’s version adds to the story to create a full-length movie to enjoy. The three best things about this movie are the Grinch as a child, Max and the music.
Anyone who says their heart doesn’t break for little Grinch when the kids at school mock him is a Grinch themselves. Not to mention, baby Grinch is just adorable and makes you want to root for the supposedly heartless creature. Max is also one of the best parts of the movie, mainly because he’s a dog. His unwavering loyalty to the Grinch is beautiful and he’s so cute and scruffly which makes any joke a little better.
Lastly but most importantly is the soundtrack. Hearing the untraditional, yet obviously holiday-oriented songs really get me ready for Christmas — from “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” to “Where Are You Christmas.” For hours after watching the movie I hum fah who for-aze, dah who dor-aze, welcome Christmas, Christmas Day.
Holiday in Handcuffs
Everyone knows that most made-for-TV holiday films are cheesy and filled with terrible background music. But, I can’t say I mind it when you throw Mario Lopez into the mix. ABC Family’s “Holiday In Handcuffs” is about a seven on the cheesy meter (not quite a Hallmark 10), but it embodies it well. Trudie, a down-on-her-luck former art major (played by Melissa Joan Hart of Sabrina the Teenage Witch fame) is dreading attending her family’s annual get together in a tucked away cabin the mountains. So, to survive her dysfunctional family’s pestering, she kidnaps David (Mario Lopez), a man she sees in a restaurant, at gunpoint, fuzzy handcuffs and all. The situation makes for some awkward situations and a ton of laughs, as David becomes more and more hysterical with Trudie’s less-than-sane family. The best scene is the dinner scene, when everyone’s dirty little secrets come out, even Grandma’s. The movie is heartwarming and hilarious with just the right mix of romance and Christmas spirit.
A Christmas Story
Although not a part of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas, “A Christmas Story” is a classic holiday film that gets its very own 24-hour marathon on TBS every Christmas Day. Thus I feel that it merits a place among these other much loved, classic films. “A Christmas Story” has a special place in my heart, as my dad’s favorite Christmas movie, I have watched it without fail every single Christmas since I can remember. There are even videocassette recordings of me opening presents on my first Christmas and in the background you can hear the repetitive line “you’ll shoot your eye out” and the adorable voice of little Ralphie Parker.
Set in the late 1930’s/early 1940’s it tells the story of a young boy’s dream to receive a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas and everything he goes through to ensure that either his parents or Santa Claus know exactly what is at the top of his list for that year. Stock full of famous and hilarious scenes, I have to admit that rarely do I ever sit down and watch the whole movie from start to finish. Each year we turn all of the televisions on in the house to TBS and allow the movie to play on repeat so that we can catch our favorite scenes as we go about our Christmas Day festivities. But that is one of the movie’s greatest qualities, that you can pick up anywhere in it and laugh your face off.
The whole movie is frankly hilarious but I have say my top favorite scenes include the moment when Ralphie is forced by his mother to wear the bright pink bunny pajamas made specially for him by his Aunt Clara, who can forget the sad look in his eyes as he descends down the stairs into the living room. Ralphie’s fantasy about how filled with remorse his parents will be when he goes blind later in life due to “soap poisoning” after receiving the traditional (and disgusting) punishment for cursing. The whole idea of the neighborhood bully Scut Farcus “He had yellow eyes! So help me God, yellow eyes!” And of course who can forget about the leg lamp, “the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window,” the “major award” his father receives and much to the horror of his mother, displays in the front window of their house.
Every family has their own traditions but watching this movie every year is one that I will never tire of. If I learned anything at all from this movie over the years it’s that “FRAGILE” isn’t Italian and to never put your tongue on a freezing pole, even if someone triple dog dares you.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol :
‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring…except Mickey Mouse? Like all of the best holiday movies, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” takes place on Christmas Eve and is older than I am, making it classic, oddly endearing and a little bit retro.
This 1983 adaptation follows the well-known story laid out in Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol,” in which the greedy Mr. Scrooge is visited by spirits who eventually convince him to be a better person, but with a twist. In true Disney fashion, Mickey Mouse and his friends steal the show. Where Dickens had Bob Cratchit, Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge, Disney casted Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Scrooge McDuck. Various other Disney characters make appearances as well, in the forms of the Ghosts of Christmas Present, Christmas Past and Christmas Yet to Come.
I’d like to give this movie a 10 out of 10, but I find myself reluctant to do so. The film has heart and solid classic animation, but the run time is less than a half hour, so it can’t quite compete with Disney’s other full-length creations, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come scared the crap out of me as a kid. That vendetta taken into account, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” receives an eight out of 10 because it never fails to get me in the Christmas spirit.
–Compiled by Brandi Bottalico, Cody Boteler, Daryllee Hale, Matt Hamilton,Carley Milligan and Sam Shelton