Granted, I’ve never actually sat through an entire broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street, but I do have memories, both old and new, of watching certain other movies around Christmastime. And, dare I say, my holiday would not be complete without watching a couple of these every year.
101 Dalmatians (1961)
Didn’t this movie end at Christmastime? That’s enough for me. I grew up watching all the Disney movies that came in the big white VHS cases, and this one is probably my favorite, along with The Lion King. I love the animation style. I love the dogs. And I hate that evil bitch Cruella de Vil.
A Christmas Carol (1984)
I’m sure that many people like other versions of the Christmas Carol better (Muppets, anyone?), but this is the one that sticks in my mind the most, probably because it’s the version I watched in school several times. And because the ghosts are really fucking freaky.
A Christmas Story (1983)
I fall asleep to this on TBS every Christmas Eve. I love it, and I recite lines from it all year long. Every scene is great, but this is my favorite:
Home Alone (1990)
When I was younger, I would often fast-forward until I got to the booby-trap-house part, although there are other parts of the movie to which I can relate. Much like Buzz, my older brother was a dick, and he would never let me play with his awesome stuff. I also usually assumed that my elderly neighbors were murderers (to be fair, that neighbor man looked like Rasputin). And while I still do enjoy the booby traps, Angels With Filthy Souls is undoubtedly the most quotable bit from the film.
Maybe not the most Christmas-y movie out there, but this movie is a memorable part of my childhood. Because it freaked me the fuck out for a very long time, mostly the kidnapping part, or any part when Captain Hook was onscreen. His face makes me shudder.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
I used to watch this movie every Christmas Day at my grandma’s house. Boris Karloff’s voice was made for this movie. That Jim Carrey film is an abomination.
Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath! (1975)
Perhaps not as popular with the American folk, this film is sort of the Soviet equivalent to It’s a Wonderful Life, or maybe A Christmas Story, in terms of its standing as a holiday classic and a beloved story. The sameness of Brezhnev-era Soviet architecture is a major theme in the film. Every building looks like every other building, even those in different cities and towns, which can lead to some interesting problems. Mix that with some drunken bathhouse antics, and you’ve got yourself a great movie for the New Year. It is in Russian, but copies with English subtitles are readily available.
Love Actually (2003)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one for romantic comedies. But I love this movie. It was the first movie I saw in the theater after getting my driver’s license, and I saw it with my best childhood friend. My heart still breaks every time I watch this scene:
The Snowman (1982)
So beautiful, so emotional. I love its simplicity. I will take this over Frosty the Snowman any day.