Traditional Holiday Movies

Nathan Fisher

With Thanksgiving Break officially over, I can finally get into the holiday spirit by listening to Christmas music like the Drifters “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” or Bing Crosby crooning “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and watching my favorite holiday movies. Most people have movies they watch every year, and I am no exception. I could rattle off the usual suspects like “Miracle on 34th Street,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “White Christmas,” but those holiday classics are simply not my favorites. Here is a list of my top five holiday movies that I watch almost every year because of their humor and entertainment:

5) “Elf”: Although “Elf” may not be a yearly holiday staple, I cannot help but laugh every time Will Ferrell attempts to reconnect with his father. Just seeing Ferrell, a grown man, sitting on the lap of his adopted father, an elf played by Bob Newhart, makes me chuckle. This humor filled adventure is fun for the whole family, and even I get over-the-top excited when I hear that Santa is coming!

4) “Love Actually”: Maybe this is not the strongest work of cinema. Yes, the film is a bit too sappy and has too many storylines with too many actors, but I actually love “Love Actually.” One of my favorite scenes from any movie is when the prime minister, played by Hugh Grant, dances and shakes his butt through 10 Downing Street ot hthe Pointer Sister’s “Jump.” As for the rest of the film, I recommend trying not to read too far into what is actually happening in the storyline. Simply sit back and enjoy some of my favorite actors falling in love in over-dramatic (and cliché) ways. With so many stories, you are bound to connect or relate to someone. Make sure to enjoy Bill Nighy playing a washed-up singer who speaks his mind as he attempts to make a comeback with a new single to hopefully top the charts.

3) “The Santa Clause”: Starring Tim Allen, “The Santa Clause” movie is a Christmas tradition in my household (I still watch it on cassette but might upgrade to DVD this year). Every Christmas after a big meal, my family sits down to watch Allen reluctantly accept the position of Santa Clause after he accidentally makes the old Santa fall off his roof (and presumably die). Every year Tim Allen’s self-assured character, who believes he is never wrong and makes snarky comments to everyone, gets funnier and funnier. The humor and sense of family instilled in “The Santa Clause” brings my family back to the film year after year. Forget the sequels… to put it bluntly, they suck.

2) “Arthur Christmas”: I don’t understand why this film hasn’t become a classic with more households. This beautifully animated Aardman Animation and Sony Pictures Animation movie follows the Clause family on a Christmas Eve adventure as the youngest Clause son tries to deliver the last gift to a girl who has been missed. “Arthur Christmas” has everything you could want in a holiday movie: humor, sentimentality, clashing of the new versus old traditions and an all-star voice cast that includes James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie and my favorite, Bill Nighy.

1) “Die Hard”: John McClane kicking ass is a must see to get in the holiday spirit! In fact, I couldn’t wait until winter break, so I watch it the Friday after Thanksgiving (actually, I was trying to avoid doing the work my professors assigned over the break). Hands down the best edition in the “Die Hard” franchise, we are introduced to John McClane played by Bruce Willis, who saves the day on Christmas Eve. Willis is perfect as the smartassed and lethal New York cop who takes down a group of thieves holding his estranged wife and company hostage. Alan Rickman plays the villain Hans Gruber, one of my all-time favorite movie villains. I still tense up whenever I see McClane trying to climb through the elevator shaft.

Other holiday movies I enjoy include “Home Alone,” “A Muppets Christmas Carol,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Lethal Weapon” (why not?). The top five films listed simply are the ones I keep coming back to year after year for holiday cheer. The humor and sense of family throughout all the films serves as the leading role in a movie being worthy of joining my holiday traditions. Watching “The Santa Clause,” released in 1994, has been a family tradition as far back as I can remember, and I don’t foresee that changing anytime soon. This holiday season, if you and your family are looking for a movie to watch while curled up on the sofa, why not take a chance on one of my top five “traditional” holiday films? Enjoy!+