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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1998)
The Family Stone
The Polar Express
The Santa Clause (1994)
The Santa Clause 2 (2002)
The Santa Clause 3 (2006) 7/10
Bill And Gloria Gaither's Christmas In The Country
Buster & Chauncy's Silent Night
Christmas With The Kranks
Deck The Halls
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
A Hollywood Christmas
I'll Be Home For Christmas (1998)
Jack Frost (1998)
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
Comedic artisans creating bleak drama
Blake Edwards has directed great comedies and Jack Lemmon is considered one of the leading comic stars of all time, but they most definitely teamed up to give us bleak drama this time around. The feel that each have for comedy enhances the film immeasurably. There are scenes, such as the bouquet's flowers being snipped off without the drunk Lemmon noticing, that at first seem funny and then have a sobering effect on the viewer. Through the comedic influence we become painfully aware that drunkenness isn't funny.
And then there is the tragic irony well emphasized in the script. The non-drinking Remick eventually becomes a drinker in order to keep him and then he sobers up and has to choose between staying sober or keeping her.
This is too bleak and grimly realistic a film to be true entertainment, but it is the ability of Edwards and Lemmon to entertain which turns this into a truly important and effective film.
Fred Claus (2007)
Not really a lot of laughs, but quite entertaining
This isn't a hilarious movie and certainly not a slapstick parody, but it is an amusing and heartwarming movie.
For starters, Paul Giamatti puts his stamp on the Santa character and makes him a very real seeming person one can empathize with. He just might become my new favorite Santa.
Vince Vaughn isn't one of my favorites, but he fills the bill in this. The humorous emphasis on his six and a half stature did get a bit tiring though.
And Kevin Spacey definitely comes across as the villain. I will cue you in on one scene without spoiling it...just remember that Spacey's roles include Lex Luthor and you'll appreciate one scene in particular.
Everyone mentions the Siblings Anonymous scene and that is truly an outstanding scene. However, nobody has mentioned the pivotal snowball fight scene. And this was one of Giamatti's best scenes....I felt like cheering just seeing Santa lose his cool....
All in all, this is a predictable film, but I think you'll enjoy the trip. I give it 7/10.
White Christmas (1954)
Should be seen but I don't guarantee you'll like it
Hey, hey, White Christmas doesn't have much of a story, but it does have Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen format), and ultrafestive Technicolor! Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy.
Lots of the reviewers here question it's being called a Christmas movie. Hey, hey, it is technically, although it's not the must-see that It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle On 34th Street, or Alastair Sim's A Christmas Carol are.
Songs include: "Sisters" (Crosby and Kaye do their own drag version, too), "Snow," "We'll Follow the Old Man," "Mandy," "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep," and more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas.
Hey, hey, Andy Williams was no Bing Crosby
These Christmas specials were very popular in their day, but for my money, they weren't the best that Christmas had to offer. Both Andy Williams specials and Bing Crosby specials were regular Christmas offerings. Andy was a good enough crooner, but he wasn't Bing and I do feel he should have refrained from singing "White Christmas" because his rendition didn't hold a candle to "Der Bingle's". He didn't have quite the guest stars except for the one appearance by Bob Hope. Also, the songs were not as well placed with sacred songs popping up in the midst of popular secular renditions. Also, there just wasn't the number of familiar songs that one expects in a TV Christmas variety show. However, it is good to see the kind of absolutely pure and respectful Christmas show which Andy put on.
Tokyo Goddofazazu (2003)
The person who recommended this to me compared it to John Ford's John Wayne western with a Christmas setting, 3 Godfathers. Well, the two can't be compared although I do rate them equal quality-wise. However this Japanesee animated film takes a completely different slant on the story of three people coming across a baby to be cared for during the Christmas season. Other reviewers have done a great job at pointing out the various aspects of this, but I was most impressed by the use of animation. This just is not the type of story you would expect to be animated, but the animation is skillful and goes places that live action doesn't. This probably won't interest the typical anime fan, but it stands up very well.
Unaccompanied Minors (2006)
Hey, hey, this isn't a bad movie at all
Well, I do give it a medium rating...not bad and not good, but if adults park their brains outside the theater before going in, they'll find it fun. Sure, you have to overlook the way the kids are smarter than the adults and the fact that firstly the security guards aren't bright enough to be working airport security and even so aren't villains but just guys trying to do their jobs. Anyway, the acting is good and the script isn't bad if you don't think too hard about it. The movie is after all targeted for a junior high level audience, but the filmmakers are skillful enough to make it enjoyable for older viewers. Sure it's a reworking and multiplication of the Home Alone theme and Christmas setting. As other reviewers mentioned, there are echos also of The Breakfast Club and The Terminal. However, it's fluffy, harmless fun and there are worse movies out there right now. BTW, how did this get down to #2 on the worst list when Deck The Halls which isn't half as good is out there?
Christmas Rush (2002)
Hey, hey, just lie back and enjoy it.
Okay, so it's a ripoff of Die Hard. How many TV movies have you seen that don't bear remarkable resemblances to specific theatrical movies. And so there are goofs galore. But if you just relax and watch it, you will probably enjoy it. You won't remember it long afterward though. I watched it because I'll watch anything with a Christmas theme or setting. In this case, it basically, like Die Hard, an action movie with a Christmas setting, but there is a mild theme in it which I won't reveal since it would involve spoilers. There is a bit of sentiment in it though, the fact that there is a child involved who requires a prohibitively expensive operation to save his life.
Hey, hey, amusing for young 'uns and guilty pleasure for oldsters
This is better than tolerable for adults who choose to watch this with the kids. Now, I didn't really cotton to the reinforcement of the idea kids already have, that Christmas is all about getting presents. Unfortunately, this is the age we live in, but I always look for a Christmas message and didn't really find one here. The reworking of the "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" poem is well done. And references to classics like A Christmas Story are nicely done. This won't likely ever be a classic in its own right, but I'm quite sure that it will be a perennial favorite for a few years. The animation as already noted by another reviewer is pretty standard TV type animation
Hey, hey, a great look, but just okay otherwise
Yeah, I think that the makeup and the art direction is enough for a person to watch. Even if you have serious, very serious, reservations about Jim Carrey in this, and even if you feel that Ron Howard just didn't show the skill that he did in Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, or The DaVinci Code, you can admire the technical knowhow. The biggest difficulty for me personally is that I kept wishing I was watching the Chuck Jones animation and hearing Boris Karloff's narration instead. It is a shame, in my elfish opinion, that Ron Howard felt it necessary to include vulgarisms, but we all know that G rating isn't supposed to sell as well as the PG rating. I believe a little research throws that assumption out the window when average box office figures for G rated movies are compared to those for those with "more mature" ratings. One other disturbing factor to me was that this film didn't come through as well with the theme of Christmas being more than receiving (and even giving) material gifts. I do believe that this is a good enough film to include in your Christmas viewing, but do compare it with the earlier cartoon version.
The Little Drummer Boy (2001)
Not the great animated version
Hey, hey, I was royally disappointed because I had memories of the earlier version with the voices of Jose Ferrer and Greer Garson. Alas, this although longer is far less satisfying. A large part of my disappointment was in never hearing a full rendition of the song. The animation in this Australian version is substandard with some of the good guys, especially in the case of one of the wise men, having "bad guy" expressions at times. The coloring was typical for cartoons and there was none of the classic look of the earlier version. The theme of the story certainly deserves a far better worked representation than this one turned out to offer.