By Kyle Sutherland, editor
Christmas is undeniably a great time for watching movies, on Boxing day everyone’s tired, hungover and full to bursting with good food and fine puds.
So here’s a choice selection of some great holiday classics to watch while you’re suffering through the meat sweats.
The Santa Clause
Now I know that this film has its problems, in fact I wrote a whole article on just what they were.
But even still this is a pretty fun film featuring Tim Allen of I suppose at this time Home Improvement fame, accidently killing Santa and having to take St Nicks place himself.
It’s a film filled with great humour and genuine heart, Allens’ character is sharing custody of his son Charlie who immediately believes the entire scenario whilst Allen is sceptical and that’s what makes the film so great, the scepticism of the adult juxtaposed with the innocence and belief of a child, leading to the growing acceptance of his new role and responsibilities of Allen as the new Santa.
This is a holiday must have for me and the magic of it reminds me of the warmth and belief of childhood.
Before Macaulay Culkin was hanging out in the desert with animated insurance selling meercats he became the quintessential child star after he appeared in this holiday mainstay.
Culkin stars as a young boy left home alone by accident after his family leave on holiday, now this in itself is rather amuzing as we see Culkin do what any young boy left home alone would do, that being whatever the hell he wants.
However when to burglars attempt to break into the house (one played by academy award winning actor Joe Pesci, once described by the late George Carlin as “a man who looks like he can get things done”) that’s when the real fun begins.
We see all manner of traps employed, some hilarious, some downright sadistic (get ready to see a nail go into a foot) all on the way toward Culkin learning the true meaning of Christmas, that no matter how annoying your family is, it’s just not really Christmas without them.
Bill Murray… need I say anymore?
The star of such films as Ghostbusters brings every single ounce of his legendary sarcastic, perfectly time comedic energy to this 1993 film.
Murray Stars as Phil Connors a misanthropic weather man sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities, it’s an American thing too odd for me as a Brit to try and understand so here if you’re curious.
Murray however soon finds himself caught in a time loop, repeating the day over and over, which leads for some golden comedy from Murray playing an ever more frustrated character, until we eventually are given some true heart felt reflection by the character, especially relating to love interest Andie MacDowell.
What more can I say? It’s a movie written by Harold Ramis and starring Bill Murray so of course it’s awesome.
Now I don’t know about any of you, but when I hear Aardman Animations, I immediately think Wallace and Gromit and therefore stop motion.
I’m aware that this studio have done CGI animation before, starting with the 2006 film Flushed Away, but I paid it no heed, just the same when this flick was released in 2011; in fact it wasn’t until the next year (Christmas eve in fact) that I finally gave it a watch, and oh how wring I had been.
This is a film which may not use the tradition Aardman technique but which definitely captures the look we’ve come to expect from the studio, it’s in short a very nicely made film.
The story however is a great one, centred around the fact that one child has accidently been missed on Christmas eve and will therefore wake up without a present, but not if Arthur (voiced by James Mcavoy) has anything tom say as he sets off accompanied by a hilariously over-zealous elf to make sure Christmas comes to everyone.
The main conflict in the film is between age and the best way to do things, fought out between Arthurs father, Santa (Jim Broadbent), who wants to do things the old way, his brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) who wants to do it the new way and Arthur who just wants to make sure the magic of the season is brought to all children.
A very well made, well written film bursting with Christmas spirit, a must see.
The Muppets Christmas Carol
This is my personal all time Christmas favourite, the 1992 Muppet extravaganza based on the 1843 novel by Charles Dickens.
I love everything about this film, the fantastic sets, brilliant music and the perfect choices as to which muppet should portray which character, seriously Statler and Waldorf as the Marley brothers are one of my favourite performances in the entire film.
Michael Caine as Scrooge is also a brilliant choice, I performed on stage as Scrooge when I was 18 so I know this is a hard role to take on, you have to take the audience along on Scrooges own personal journey, starting off as a cold hearted old prune who is gradually thawed into a happy go lucky holiday loving and generous warm old prune. It’s not easy to do yet Caine excels in this role.
Special praise also has to be given to the ability to bring the audience to empathise with the character of Bob Cratchit, to feel his pain with the death of his son (that’s not a spoiler this story is 173 years old get over it). Why is this so impressive a feat? Because he’s a freaking frog puppet, making me feel his pain is a truly great accomplishment.
In short this is a film which hits every mark and is a great tribute in my opinion to the great work set down by Dickens all those years ago.
What are your favourite Christmas films? Let us know in the comments and of course have a merry Christmas.