While it's a bit early for holiday stuff, I've been considering what sort of films I might like to watch to get me in the spirit when the time comes. I considered all the usual ones (It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, etc.) and, while they'll be available all over my television when the time comes, I started thinking maybe there were alternatives to the films my kids will make me watch repeatedly this season (like The Santa Claus). While some of these are becoming regular holiday fare, many of them are just what I like to watch. If you have favorites that I haven't included, feel free to let me know in the comments.
- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation- Okay, this was an easy one, but I think it's important to acknowledge that so many holiday films overlook how stressful, annoying, and frustrating the season can really be sometimes. This movie mananges to convey that with humor, but also leave you with the understanding that it does not, in fact, have to be perfect to be memorable and full of love. Bonus points for the sheer joy of watching the obnoxious yuppie couple next door and, of course, Randy Quaid's clueless Cousin Eddie.
- Band of Brothers- This was hubby's entry. He's watched this miniseries many a holiday break from work. While most of the series is set in other seasons, my favorite episodes take place in snowy Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge. I recommend this series to everyone to watch at any time, but there's no time like the holidays to stop and appreciate that theses guys lived in a freezing cold foxhole for weeks in support of what is right and good in the world.
- Trading Places- This movie does have sort of a loose holiday theme going on and Dan Akroyd as a drunken Santa. If you gloss over the absurd train scenes, this is a great movie that makes you want to cheer just a little bit at the end when...well, I won't give it away.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas- This is a great one for my kids because they can watch it from Halloween through Christmas and the songs are catchy and fun. I love this as an alternative to some of the more lame holiday stuff (I mentioned The Santa Claus already, right?) and my oldest loves anything by Tim Burton.
- Die Hard- This one is my favorite. Los Angeles! Guns, festive explosions, and terrorists! What more could a holiday movie need? (One of my favorite parts- the Asian terrorist perusing candy bars while waiting to ambush John McClane). The second movie is holiday themed, too, but I wouldn't recommend it. Watch 3 and 4 in your air conditioned house in the summertime.
- Scrooged- Again, this one might be obvious, but it's still a funny, subversive take on the classic Christmas Carol story. (My favorite Christmas Carol version? The one with George C. Scott as Scrooge. It's the creepiest one that scared the pants off of me as a kid.)
Well, that's all I've got so far. I'll post and update if I think of any more.