10 Holiday Movies to Watch

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It’s December and another year almost finished. For the first time in a long time, I will be in another state from which I live for the holidays. I finally watched It’s a Wonderful Life and The Hebrew Hammer along with a few more I’ve never seen. I admit some were better than others so fair warning.  Here they are in no particular order.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

I had never seen this film and had to push myself to watch it. I was expecting sappiness dripping all over the place, but surprisingly there was little of that in It’s a Wonderful Life. I was most impressed by the production design and the dialogue was about as crisp as it could be in a movie. James Stewart as George Bailey and Donna Reed as Mary Hatch were first-rate. This movie had a kind of darkness I was not expecting and the ending, while a little cheesy, was justified. The theme of helping others and second chances should be reminders to us all.

itsawonderfullife

Hebrew Hammer (2003)

The first time seeing this movie and will say it’s decent enough. It followed similarly the humor in Bad Santa 2, but had a little more substance that was seen in Office Christmas Party. Adam Goldberg stars as Mordechai Carver. He is all Hebrew and all Hammer. Mordechai is an outsider in the Jewish community, but is sought when Santa Claus’s son threatens to destroy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. He along with Esther (Judy Greer) and Mohammed (Mario Van Pebbles) work together so Damian doesn’t get his Christmas wish. Hebrew Hammer does have some stereotypes and strong language, but hopefully the viewer understands its Comedy Central ties.

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Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

This is another movie I’ve seen for the first time. I ended up watching both the original and the 1994 remake. Miracle on 34th Street is definitely the quintessential Christmas story and the original is better of the two. Who knew Drunk Santa was a such a popular theme back the mid 1900s. A young Natalie Wood plays an adult mind trapped in a child’s body. She doesn’t believe in Kris Kringle much to her mother’s dismay. Her mother has personal issues of her own and as their lives intersect with Kris Kringle and Fred Gailey, it makes for a family friendly movie including kids that don’t believe in what is known more today as Santa Claus.

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Krampus (2015)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie, but I was impressed by it by the end. Yes, there was Krampus coming out at night along with his elves and other toys to wreak havoc on a family wanting to enjoy Christmas, but it was more than this. The backstory was portrayed nicely via animation. The costumes and special effects were done well and while many of the scenes were hokey, there were others more serious. The ending had a nice twist to it. Bottom line, I really liked Krampus.

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White Christmas (1954)

With all the controversy over the song “White Christmas” and also Irving Berlin’s movies, I thought I should give this movie a try. Go where the controversy is, right? While I did see some set decorations in one of the musical sets that might be construed as questionable, it wasn’t enough to detract me from watching White Christmas. I was wondering how they would bring the Army presence back since it was so strong in the opening scene. I liked how they finally brought back the Commanding General. The dance choreography and accompanying music numbers were part of why I watched it in the first place. Good story and movie.

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Mixed Nuts (1994)

I saw this a while ago and still like it mainly due to Steve Martin. Mixed Nuts is about man named Philip who works for a suicide hotline. His life is turned upside down, although it was never right side up to begin with, when the night doesn’t go as planned. It involves a serial killer, a cross dresser, a pregnant woman, and roller bladers (remember when those were all the rage). It has enough laughs and can you go wrong seeing Liev Schreiber in drag? Not really. It was his first role in a movie too.

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Office Christmas Party (2016)

I saw this last year, but still crazy in every sense of the word. This is the second raunchy of all the holiday movies in this list. It’s about an office manager and CTO, played by T.J. Miller and Jason Bateman, working together to gain a potential client while the looming threat of having their office permanently closed hangs over their heads. There’s protocol to follow that HR sets on paper and verbally, but in Office Christmas Party, the rules are broken one by one as the night progresses. It has some SNL cast as well as other notable comedic cast like Jason Bateman, Rob Corddry, Olivia Munn, and Jennifer Aniston.

officechristmaparty

Bad Santa 2 (2016)

This is the most raunchy of holiday movies this year in terms of language and sexual innuendos. While I liked Bad Santa, this one recycled too much of the same dirty language. It was used as a solution for cheap humor instead of coming up with things that could and would’ve been funnier. The story was decent enough where sometimes mothers can be the biggest bitch of all. So why am I recommending it? Because if you can get past the repetition coming out of Kathy Bates’ mouth and others as well, Bad Santa 2 does have an ending that is satisfactory for a movie about a drunk Santa and his revengeful sidekick.

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

This is another movie I saw quite some time ago. Despite what you think of Chevy Chase, this is a good movie to watch for the comedy and hopefully a few laughs. It has the usual squabbles within the Griswold family and even more when the relatives come knocking at Clark’s door. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation involves too many tangled up lights, not enough money, misbehaving animals, and a SWAT team, but by the end everything is wrapped up with a nice red bow. It’s your typical Lampoon’s movie, but this time with a young Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis.

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Love Actually (2003)

This movie is what I would call whacky with different people coming together on the holidays. I wasn’t sure how it would play out, but by the end I thought it was good. There was a decent mixture of harsh reality with entertaining moments in Love Actually. Seeing Bill Nighy shirtless while singing was quite memorable and seeing Alan Rickman getting more impatient by the second during the gift wrapping scene was comical and afflicted at the same time. Not everyone got everything they wished for by the end, but this is the reality for all us.

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There you have it. There are my ten holiday movie picks. I’m not sure if this will happen next year or maybe not as many movies. Either way, Happy Holidays everyone.

cwhite2018

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