COUNT DOWN TO CHRISTMAS WITH THE TOP 10 FESTIVE FLICKS
1 Love Actually So there’s a guy who’s completely in love with his best friend’s wife, a woman who realises her husband is treating another woman much better than her and another woman who chooses her chronically ill brother over the man of her dreams. It sounds pretty depressing for a Christmas flick but it’s hard to triumph without tragedy.
There’s also the British Prime Minister who falls in love with his maid, who is – let’s face it – pretty darn rough but for the same reason adorable. There’s a sweet little boy who learns the drums just to catch the attention of his classmate crush and the British lad who travels all the way to the US because he’s a “sex god”, just on the wrong continent. There’s a proposal from an adorably awkward Colin Firth and a rocker who learns there’s more to life than sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. It’s all masterfully tied together – where will everyone be on Christmas Day? Favourite quote: Now which doll shall we give Daisy’s little friend Emily? The one that looks like a transvestite or the one that looks like a dominatrix?
2 Elf Watching Elf may be the most effective way to figure out if your inner child is alive and well. Will Ferrel plays Buddy, a fully grown man who was raised among elves. When his size keeps causing trouble at the North Pole he is informed, to his utter bewilderment, that he’s not actually an elf. Crestfallen he heads to – you guessed it – New York City to find his father. His complete naivety makes everything he does hilarious, whether it’s being hit by a car or getting stuck in a revolving door. He starts working as an elf at a department store when his idol, Santa, drops by. Favourite quote: (whispering to the department store Santa) You sit on a throne of lies!
3 How the Grinch Stole Christmas On the complete other end of the spectrum, The Grinch is a Dr Seuss classic that was most popularly adapted into a film starring Jim Carey as the title character in 2000. In the fantasy land of Whoville everyone loves Christmas except The Grinch, a twisted green character who’s a perfect combination of crazy and downright hilarious. He sets out to destroy Christmas in the most outlandish ways possible. Jim Carrey’s overacting makes this film a classic. I think one of the funniest things about the Grinch, though, is that as we get older we start to relate to him more and more – you’re either the Grinch or a Who when you grow up. Favourite quote: Grinch: Help me, I’m feeling!
4 Home Alone When Kevin McCallister is forgotten at home while his family go on their Christmas holiday, life’s pretty awesome. He eats unlimited ice cream, jumps on the bed with shoes on, runs through the house like a maniac – but most importantly he cleverly outwits two scheming crooks with an unbelievable tolerance to pain. Kevin roasts them, tars them, feathers them, plants a hot iron on their faces and knocks them out with a swinging paint tin – all with a smile on his face. Favourite quote: Damn. How can you give Kris Kringle a parking ticket on Christmas Eve? What’s next, rabies shots for the Easter bunny?
5 It’s a Wonderful Life A Christmas-crammed classic with angels and miracles and wishes that come true. A businessman who is just about done fighting becomes suicidal, but he’s picked by an angel who shows him what life would be like without him. It’s an important message, especially around Christmas, that no matter how defeated you feel, there are always people who love and appreciate you. Favourite quote: Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?
6 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation The one Christmas movie that’s designed to be outlandish and farfetched just happens to be the most relatable. The Griswalds, famous for their vacation lampoonery, decide to stay home and have the rellies over to their home this year; the rednecks, the deaf and flatulent aunt, the disapproving in-laws – gangs all there! Favourite quote: I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.
7 Miracle on 34th Street Little Susan meets a department store Santa who she swears is the real thing. The film has been done at least three times, most recently in 1994, but the message remains the same – it’s OK to have a little faith, a little hope and to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Favourite quote: If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.
8 Jingle all the Way One of Arnie’s brilliant forays into comedy, you know, where he was in that awkward too-old-for-action and tooyoung-for-government stage? Well in this one he’s a deadbeat dad who promises his son a toy for Christmas but come Christmas Eve he’s failed miserably and they’re all sold out. To which eight-year-old boys around the country are screaming “Who cares about the toy, dude, your dad is Big Arnie!”. Well that’s the gist of the whole movie, but it’s brainless Christmas action and Arnie does heaps of his awesome wide-eyed facial expressions, so it’s great. Favourite quote: How about these stupid letters from kids to Santa at the North Pole: “Dear Santa, Can you send me a bike and a slinky?” No! Your father’s been laid off!
9 Gremlins After receiving a mysterious creature from his dad for Christmas, Billy has three rules for maintenance: Don’t get it wet, don’t expose it to sunlight, don’t feed it after midnight. He violates the rules and horror (or is it hilarity?) ensues as they multiply and become more psychotic and destructive along the way. Favourite quote: (One gremlin watches another gremlin strangle Billy’s mum with Christmas tree lights) Oh neat!
10 Jack Frost How cute! A family movie about a snowman? It might look like it until you realise that the snowman is really a father who is killed in a car crash and only gets the opportunity to bond with his son while in the form of a snowman. Also, winter’s going to end at some point ... Favourite quote: A snow dad is better then no dad.
Keep an eye on the guide for your favourites, or check out Foxtel’s pop-up Christmas channel, playing a different Christmas movie each night until December 25.
Bill Nighy in a scene from festive rom com Love Actually
Taylor Momsen and Jim Carrey in How The Grinch Stole Christmas
It's A Wonderful Life
Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Miracle on 34th Street
Jingle All The Way