5 New Classic Holiday Films
The holidays are a time of year that unanimously connect the world, though each country and culture have specific traditions and rituals that help ring in the season. In America, one of the most recognized practices to embrace the spirit of December is watching classic holiday movies. These are films that have been around for years, and dozens are aired during ABC Family’s month-long Countdown to Christmas marathon or available on demand through DirecTV, Amazon Prime, and more. There are, however, a small group that have been solidified as classics in everyone’s home which should be watched with the whole family present, and popcorn ready. Below are, in one writer’s opinion, the top 5 must-watch movies this holiday season.
Tom Hanks stars as the voice of the conductor aboard a magical train called The Polar Express in this 2004 animated adventure. The film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, follows a little boy who finds the magical locomotive bound for the North Pole, and the exciting journey he experiences on the way to see Santa Claus. This motion-capture animated film is breathtaking graphically even today, a decade exactly after its release. It’s beautifully done, filled with suspense and wonder, and a perfect choice to watch on Christmas Eve.
A Christmas comedy the whole family can enjoy, Elf features Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, a human man who was raised in the North Pole by elves. He’s a perpetual child with an unmatched love of singing, Christmas, and the Elf Food Pyramid, which has four “food groups”: candy, syrup, candy canes, and candy corns. When he discovers the truth of his birth parents, he ventures to New York City in hopes of getting to know his father, a greedy corporate worker who has lost his understanding of the meaning of Christmas and family. Buddy encounters a variety of people, and quickly transforms the lives around him. It’s a touching tale about the importance of family, love, and how the Christmas season is a wonderful time to appreciate those who matter in our lives.
This is one for the romantics, perfect for a couple’s date night this winter. 2003’s Love Actually, written and directed by Richard Curtis, follows the hectic lives of eight different couples in in London during the month leading up to Christmas. It boasts a large, impressive cast that includes such faces as Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Alan Rickman, and many more. Like most Christmas films, it strives to make viewers realize the most important things in life, which are the bonds we share with those closest to us. It’s cute, funny, romantic, and all takes place in one of the world’s most popular cities during the most celebrated time of year.
From the same director of Something’s Gotta Give and What Women Want, The Holiday is another winter themed rom-com that focuses on the lives of two women who live 6000 miles apart but meet online via a home exchange website. Both women are unhappy, and decide to switch homes and essentially, their lives, for the holidays. The film stars Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Jude Law, giving the movie a perfect balance between sweetness and humor.
The most popular remake of Dr. Seuss’s 1957 classic book is a story that people have loved and retold for generations. Christmas isn’t just a holiday, but a way of life for the wacky and lovable citizens of Whoville. The entire town is thrown for a loop when one kindhearted little girl, by the name of Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen in her first role), decides to help bring the true spirit of Christmas back to her town by finding it within the “three times too small” heart of the town’s exiled and most Christmas loathing resident, a green creature by the name of the Grinch. With comedic king Jim Carrey in the lead role, the film effortlessly pulls off humor without feeling cheesy, and carries the same heartfelt message about the power of kindness.
These movies don’t just entertain and unite families and friends together for the holidays, but capture the true spirit and meaning of the holiday in a lighthearted, enjoyable manner. They present messages that stick with parents and children alike long after the final credits have rolled, and while there’s a magical touch about watching them during the winter, they all bear the reminder that the “season of giving” doesn’t have to be just for a few months, but can be extended all year long.
About the Author: Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment and pop culture blogger for http://www.directstartv.com/localchannels/.