Thoughts by Jeanne
As a child, I looked forward to the Christmas specials: Rudolph, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, The Little Drummer Boy, It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated TV version, of course), and Frosty the Snow Man were favorites, eagerly awaited because they were only broadcast once a year and there were no home video versions available.
Of course, these days one can just pop in a DVD and watch Frosty in July if the notion strikes, which is convenient but not “special.” I keep up the tradition in my own way by saving the movies to watch while I wrap packages or write Christmas cards. Here are some of the films that usually find their way into my player these days:
- A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott as Scrooge. I’ve seen a number of versions, but I’m most convinced by Scott’s transformation from curmudgeon to philanthropist. Also I like David Warner as Bob Crachit.
- Muppet Christmas Carol is another winner as far as I’m concerned. No matter how . . . um, how to put this delicately… unconvincing (*cough* "Jaws: The Revenge" *cough) the movie’s premise, Caine gives it his all as if he believes every word. His interactions with the Muppets are, as was Mrs. Crachit’s pudding, a triumph.
- We’re No Angels, a 1955 comedy caper starring Humphrey Bogart as one of three convicts who are on the lam after escaping Devil’s Island right before Christmas. The plan is to lay low, steal some clothes and get the heck out of Dodge—er, French Guiana. They end up befriending a family whose sweetness and gullibility are about to cost them their store and of course our guys decide to stop that from happening the only way they know how. I’ll leave it at that.
- The Man who Invented Christmas is a new entry on my list as the movie just came out in 2017. Dan Stevens stars as Charles Dickens at a time when the writer desperately needed a hit book to provide some much needed cash to keep the family afloat. It’s based on the book of the same title by Les Standiford; of course, I read the book first and was pleased at how well the movie followed. Artistic license is taken by having Dickens imagine conversations with some of his soon to be famous creations, most notably Scrooge (delightfully played by Christopher Plummer).
- I might as well confess now: I am the person who loved Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. Yep, I’m the one. I don’t have a lot of patience with the sappy, cookie cutter Christmas movies that seem to flood the airwaves this time of year. Most of them feature shiny actors with shiny teeth and shiny hair who rediscover the Spirit of Christmas in under two hours and live Happily Ever After. Sure, Grumpy’s movie rather follows the formula but it has the ever adorable Grumpy and a dose of snark supplied by Aubrey Plaza aka Voice of Grumpy. I think it’s fun. Sue me.
Of course, everybody has his or her own “must-see” films. I know two people who both love The Shop Around the Corner and another whose holiday isn’t complete without a viewing of White Christmas. What are your favorite holiday films?