The New Christmas Classics, Part II
“It’s a Wonderful Life”? “White Christmas”? Old news.
You’re a modern kind of person, and want a new contemporary Christmas classic to go with it, right?
Of course you are. You like your movies made in the past 30 years or so, and don’t have time for all of that black-and-white movie nonsense.
Here, then, are the Christmas classics of the new millenium, those holiday movies that will make every Yuletide season the hap- hap- happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny F**king Kaye.
A Christmas Story (1983)
The slam-dunk of the list, bar none the greatest Christmas film of all time. Everyone knows the story of little Ralphie and his quest to get himself the Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. Every scene is note-perfect and imminently memorable and has at least one quotable line, from "Oh, fudge" to Scut Farkus to Victor, the Lone Ranger's cousin's horse. And even though it's on for 24 straight hours Christmas Day, for some reason it never gets old.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
No Christmas film has ever drawn bigger laughs than this one. The antics of Clark W. Griswold aren't 100% on the comedy hit-o-meter, but the ones that do are among the best you'll ever see in a holiday movie. It's the universal truths in the film--the overzealousness some exhibit toward the Christmas season, the irritation at it from others, and the lunkheaded relatives who seem to try their hardest to ruin everything, not to mention that we're doing a perfectly fine job of screwing it all up ourselves, thank you very much.
But I digress. Chevy Chase's egg nog-fueled rant is one of the greatest of any film, and Randy Quaid's portrayal of Cousin Eddie is spot on, before he went crazy for real.
When Santa (Ed Asner) visits an orphanage one Christmas eve, he's too busy stuffing his face with Oreos to notice the baby stowing away in his pack. When he gets back, Santa doesn't know where the baby belongs, so he allows the elves to raise him as one of their own. As poor Buddy (Will Ferrell) grows to freakish proportions, it soon comes out that he's a human, and he heads to New York to find his father.
And yes, I could have put any number of pics in here of Will Ferrell as Buddy, but I chose to foist upon you the enchanting eyes of Zooey Deschanel instead. I think I made the right decision.
The Polar Express (2004)
Perhaps the most contemporary film on our list, "Polar Express" employs Robert Zemekis' now-infamous motion-capture animation with a photo-realistic version of Tom Hanks playing multiple roles and voices as a young boy who doesn't believe in Santa rides a train bound for the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Creepy dead eyes aside, the animation is spectacular, especially the action scenes on the train. This is another movie our kids will be showing their kids.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
A dual-purpose Halloween and Christmas movie, "Nightmare" follows Jack Skellington through a stop-motion journey through Christmas Town. We see this land of eternal Christmas through the eyes of the king of the garish, ghastly Halloweentown. What Jack sees is a visual Wonderland, and so do we.