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Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas movies make me happy




Holiday Faves is the theme for this week's Monday Movie Meme hosted, as always, by The Bumbles. Oh dear, how can I pick just a few?

Little Women (1994) is the one I want to watch when I decorate the tree. I know that purists  prefer the 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn and Joan Bennett, or even the 1949 version with June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret O'Brien and Janet Leigh, but the newer one is a sentimental favorite because it's the one that Aimee and I watched and cried over together when she was a teenager. And it's just prettier. And let's face it...Christian Bale is a much better actor than Peter Lawford.

This year I couldn't watch 'Little Women', because the VCR is broken, so I watched another longtime favorite....White Christmas. Sure, it's kind of hokey and Bing Crosby got a little carried away with the stage makeup and the settings are totally unbelievable, but the main reason I watch this year after year is for Rosemary Clooney's singing and Vera Ellen's dancing. And who doesn't love the last scene when the whole crew dresses up in their beautifully lush Santa-inspired costumes to sing 'White Christmas'?

On everyone's list is A Christmas Story. There are so many memorable lines in this movie that it would take all day to quote them here, but my favorite is "Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian!". I even have it written on a box of fra-gee-lay stemware in my basement!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, another perennial favorite of the whole world it seems, has topped many a list. Who doesn't love to laugh at the "old-fashioned Griswold family Christmas"? Again, too many gut-laugh-worthy lines to mention here, but I bet you can guess my favorite one:
Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?
I've never been able to memorize that one even though I drive my kids crazy when I say every other line along with the actors!

One Magic Christmas is relatively obscure, but I love its message of hope for a despairing mother. It's a nice take on 'It's a Wonderful Life' (a fave, of course) with excellent performances by the under-appreciated Mary Steenbburgen and Harry Dean Stanton who portrays Gideon, the angel.

Honorable mentions:

Elf (I love Zooey Deschanel)
Miracle on 34th Street (the original and not colorized)
Home Alone
Christmas in Connecticut






40 comments:

Natalie VV said...

Good ones.
I like Prancer, and Meet Me in St. Louis. And you are so right about the Little Women options... each special in their own way, but 1994 really pulled off something extra good.
Pass the pop-corn please, and Merry Christmas.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Oh!!!! I'm going to pee my pants! That is so funny you included Clark's tirade. What about that one where he talks about Danny f-ing Kaye! You've got some great ones on here, and you can tell you are very attached to all of them.

Holy shit, where's the Tylenol INDEED!

Heather said...

We seem to have a couple favorites in common, though I've never seen One Magic Christmas. My post

kaye said...

I never even thought of Little Women--What a great story and movie. I like the rest of your picks too. Merry Christmas. Kaye—the road goes ever ever on

Char said...

oh such good choices. my very favorite is 'a christmas story' - i'm so excited, the theater here is doing the play from the movie this year and we're going on the 23rd.

CottageGirl said...

What great films you've chosen, Susan!
I, too LOVE the 1994 version of Little Women. So much more true to life. CB surely helps make the movie a success!
I also love the George C Scott's version of "The Christmas Carol". He was so great in that. One other movie that means Christmas to me is "The Bishop's Wife" with gorgeous Loretta Young, Cary Grant and David Niven.

Have a wonderful week!!

Susan said...

Natalie! Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family!

I can't believe I forgot Meet Me in St. Louis! Possibly the only Judy Garland movie in which she doesn't slightly annoy me. Prancer is great too, especially with Sam Elliot being so dour which he does quite well.

Pass the popcorn, indeed!

Susan said...

Ohhh, Sandy, it was a big toss-up on which one of those is my favorite! How in the world did Chevy ever get through that whole thing? In the the hundreds of times I've seen it, I still can't get all the words in there. I wonder how many takes there were and how much of it was improvised? lol

I'm also quite fond of Eddie's line about the metal plate in his head....I'm sure you know which one I mean! ;)

Susan said...

Heather, thanks for visiting! I think all of us have a few of these movies on our list. They don't call them classics for nothing! :)

Susan said...

Kaye, thank you for visiting and Merry Christmas to you!

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents," grumbled Jo....it's one of my favorite first sentences in one of my favorite books.

VioletSky said...

On a slightly different tack...
I went to see the new A Christmas Carol and absolutely loved it. The effects were amazing and for a well worn story, it kept you on the edge of your seat

Susan said...

Char, if I got to see a live play of A Christmas Story, I wouldn't need anything else under my tree! That sounds like so much fun! I'm sure you will enjoy it immensely!

Susan said...

CG, that's my favorite Christmas Carol! Of course, I haven't seen the new one, but I'm not a Jim Carrey fan, so I probably won't go to the theatre to see it. And I love The Bishop's Wife, too! Everyone is reminding me of ones I had forgotten. Loretta Young is so gorgeous! Remember her TV show and she would come sweeping through those doors wearing such beautiful gowns? Sigh....there's just no glamour in Hollywood anymore.

Susan said...

Sanna, I heard a great review about it on NPR on Sunday. And the reviewer, like me, is not a Jim Carrey fan. Maybe I will rethink my decision not to see it. Will it be too much for the grandkids?

VioletSky said...

I'm not a Jim Carrey fan either - but he is only a voice (actualy, many voices).
I would think it might be a bit much for the kids.

Susan said...

Sanna, thanks for the advice.

Cora said...

Love this post.....because I love these movies and many more too! Quoting them is so funny!
I don't think I could pick just one if I had to!

Thanks for the smiles and giggles!
Merry Christmas to you!

Irishcoda said...

I loved Christmas Vacation! I left mine off the list only because I wanted to make room for the other holidays-in-the-year movies! Thanks for including the quote, I was howling!

ds said...

A woman came into the library today & mentioned that a friend of hers had walked out of Jim Carrey's "Christmas Carol" because it was too much for her (young) kids...I haven't seen it, my heart belongs to Alistair Sim.
I am impressed that you got that whole monologue in there. Don't you love being the one who shouts the lines back at the movie? Such fun ;)

dutchbaby said...

Loooove "White Christmas". I love "Miracle on 34th Street" with sweet little Natalie Wood. I hope I'm not offending you by saying that the prayer to Baby Jesus scene in Talladega Nights is hysterical.

Susan said...

Cora, Merry Christmas! I'm happy that I gave you smiles and giggles for Christmas! Thank you for saying such nice things!

Susan said...

Thank you, Irish! No matter how many times I've seen that crazy movie, I always howl with laughter when it gets to that scene! Thank you for visiting!

Susan said...

ds, oh that I had a memory that good! It's called copy and paste, m'dear! LOL Isn't it amazing how you can find anything on the internet?

And, yes, I love saying the lines along with the characters! They have a sing-a-long musical every year at one of the historic theaters in Columbus, OH. I missed Sound of Music and Wizard of Oz, but I'm determined to make it to the next one, whatever it may be. (Probably one to which I don't know the lyrics!)

Sounds like I won't be taking the grandkids to see A Christmas Carol!

Susan said...

dutchbaby, I've always thought the character of Susan in 'Miracle' was one of Natalie's best performances. (I also liked the name. haha) And Maureen O'Hara is one of my favorite actresses...loved that Irish lilt in her voice!

I haven't seen 'Talladega Nights', but now I will have to watch it just so I can see that scene! ;) Isn't John C. Reilly in that...I really like him.

Ruth said...

Ohh, Alistair Sim, what a face and smile.

I had to see "Christmas Vacation" this year after missing it last year. We lost our copy somewhere. My favorite scene is when he is stuck in the attic adorned in mink stole long pink gloves and Mommie Dearest cap. But I howl when he sprays on the Pam and saucers down the hill. I fall into one of those out of control hilarities.

I just love watching Vera Ellen dance. What a doll, even if she did seem to suffer from anorexia. Ever notice how she wears ruffles on her hips and butt to make them look bigger? (Guess who noticed that? and it wasn't me?)

Cindy said...

What you say... White Christmas hokey?? Noooooooo. The holidays wouldn't be complete without it. We also watch Elf, Miracle on 34th Street (the original version, of course) and Polar Express. This year we watched four Christmases... a bit predictable, but funny. And if it's one thing this holiday season needs it's humor!

Natashya Kitchen Puppies said...

I love it! Great list!
My faves are A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.

Elle Bee said...

I too love Little Women!! One of my favorites.

Bella Rum said...

I love Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas. I haven't seen Little Women in ages. Great though. What a fun list.

JackeeG4glamorous said...

I too love Miracle with Natalie Wood...LOVE IT. I love the old B&W movies. But you forgot to mention, "Penny Serenade" a real tear jerker that they always play at Christmas time. About a little adopted girl who gets to play an angel int he Christmas pagent...Cary Grant and I forgot who plays the woman...but it's awesome.

Deborah said...

Oh, snow! Loved the clip, Susan. I just ran down the big hill behind my house, up to my knees in snow.

As for movies, my daughter and I have to watch 'Love,Actually' at Christmas - a recent tradition but one firmly entrenched. I loved the book 'Little Women' but haven't seen the movie in years. Hmm....there's an idea.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

The Bumbles said...

I've never seen any of the Little Women films. But I've seen the desk Alcott wrote it on - and recently re-read the book with joy!

Thanks for the Clark tirade too - a local station was re-playing a censored version of it every time they came back from commercial today and it made me smile :0)

Susan said...

Ruthie, yes Chevy looks quite adorable all decked out in his mother's 50's finery! And what makes the sled scene so hilarious is it's stupidity! I LMAO every year when I see that!

I definitely noticed how thin Vera Ellen is in that picture. I believe her waist rivaled Elizabeth Taylor's in Gone With The Wind! Don has quite the eye for fashion camouflage! lol

Susan said...

Cindy, you know I was just covering my bases with that hokey statement! I secrety adore every moment!

I haven't seen Polar Express so I need to put that one on my list. Four Christmases did look pretty funny in the trailers...I still have time, right?

Susan said...

Natashya, those are real classics! A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of my all-time faves, too. We always had to go in the woods and look for a "Charlie Brown tree" for our son Josh when he was little.

And, of course, you can't go wrong with Muppets' Christmas Carol!

Susan said...

Elle, you're a woman of good taste! :)

Susan said...

Bella, glad you enjoyed my list! There's still time to watch Little Women!

Susan said...

Jackee, I don't think I've ever seen that movie! I'll have to look it up. It sounds like something I would like, especially if it has Cary Grant! Thanks!

Susan said...

Deborah, watching that scene makes me want to do the same thing! Unfortunately, we don't have any on the ground right now!

I watched Love Actually for the first time not long ago. I love Emma Thompson and Colin Firth and would watch either of them read the phone book! It was a nice little movie.

Susan said...

Molly, you should definitely watch the Winona Ryder version of Little Women. It's really nice and I dare you not to cry when Beth...you know..