Since my "best of 2007" list is basically a copy-and-paste of Maggie's (give or take Lost and Aliens in America), I thought I'd share my list of greatest holiday movies.
1. Nightmare Before Christmas - I know what you're thinking. "Sri, isn't this a Halloween movie?" Well, yes. But it is also a Christmas movie, and beneath its purposefully grotesque exterior lies a powerful message. Growing up, I felt like an outsider because my family didn't celebrate Christmas. Eventually my parents gave in to the begging and we started to observe an inauthentic parody of the holiday - tiny fake tree, present, cards. It wasn't until I was in college that I realized... caroling and cookies do not a holiday make. Not to say there's anything wrong with caroling and cookies, because I still love both. This movie articulates the realization that we can enjoy the holiday spirit and season while staying true to our own traditions.
We are all unique little snowflakes. Har.
2. Love Actually - So many amazing story lines, so little time! And while everything ties together, not every ending is happy one - things are messy, like Christmas. Like love. *cue sappy violin music* It doesn't hurt that the cast list reads like page 47 of my diary, "British Celebrities I Want To Make Out With." Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Kris Marshall ... pretty much everyone except for that little blond kid, because that would just be gross.
Thomas Sangster says, "Ew."
3. A Christmas Story - Bet you didn't know that this movie was directed by the man behind Porky's (the O.G. teen sex romp) and Black Christmas (slasher flick about a psychopath terrorizing a sorority house over winter break). The same disregard for delicate suburban sensibilities that makes for good smut/horror serves Bob Clark well in this off-beat holiday comedy. Ralphie, for all that he is the product of 1940's middle-class middle-America, is one twisted little bugger. And that is why we love him.
Can you blame them for not wanting to arm this kid?
4. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Rudolph's story began with a poem penned in 1948 by Robert L. May as a promotional gimmick for Montgomery Ward department store. Shortly thereafter Johnny Marks (May's brother-in-law) put the poem to music, and it became an instant holiday hit. In 1964, NBC aired Rudolph for the first time - and a stop-motion classic was born. Expanding on the song with such characters as Yukon Cornelius and Hermy the Misfit Elf, this movie basically takes a fun idea and runs with it. While the sequels (Rudolph TRNR and The Island of Misfit Toys, Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas In July) never faired as well, Rudolph definitely deserves a spot on anyone's best-of holiday list.
So cute, I just had a brain aneurysm.
5. While You Were Sleeping - Call me cheesy, but I'm a sucker for a romantic comedy at any time of the year. Plus, this movie resonates with anyone who has felt lonely during the holidays. The flip side of all this Christmas cheer is that people who aren't surrounded by loved ones feel all the more isolated. Sandra Bullock does a great job as a woman tempted to marry a man she doesn't love, all to bask in the loving warmth of his quirky family. And isn't that what the holidays are all about?
Awww... Wait, what?