A list of totally biased, completely subjective, potentially controversial holiday movies
Here’s the thing you need to know about lists like this…they are completely subjective. Depending on who you are, these “top whatever lists”’ are filled with as much hot air as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. Void of any scientific reasoning or mathematical logic, some might be inclined to tell these articles’ authors to “stuff it like a Christmas turkey.” So, to avoid any confusion, we’re dropping all pretenses of movie ranking and just being honest.
Listed below are our totally biased, completely subjective, potentially controversial list of the top ten Christmas movies of all time.
#10 - It’s a Wonderful Life
This 1946 black and white classic about an angel sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman is, of course, on our list. But, we can hear the outrage about its placement. While it does have a theme of redemption, the whole middle part, in which the angel shows the despondent main character what life would have been like if he’d never existed, feels like a lump of Christmas coal.
Still from It's a Wonderful Life, Copyright Liberty Films Inc. (1946)
#9 - Miracle on 34th Street
This 1947 film tells the tale of a recently-divorced New York mother who hires an old man to play Santa Claus at Macy's Department Store. Little does she know, he claims to be the real Santa. When his sanity is questioned, a lawyer defends him in court by arguing he is, in fact, the real Kris Kringle. As for its ranking, we just can’t fathom who’d put Santa on trial. Bah-humbug to those Scrooges.
Still from Miracle on 34th Street, Copyright 20th Century Fox (1947)
#8 - Die Hard
We’re just spouting unpopular opinions left, right, and center. But here’s the deal, just because a movie takes place around Christmas time, does not make it a “Christmas movie.” This 1988 action flick about an NYPD officer who tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party lands on some people’s list at the BEST Christmas movie of all time. It’s a dang good movie, don’t get us wrong –Bruce Willis is in his prime. But, as far as its reputation of being a “holiday classic,” that’s debatable.
Still from Die Hard, Copyright 20th Cerntury Fox (1988)
#7 - A Christmas Story
Made in 1983 about a family in the 1940s, this movie depicts a young boy named Ralphie who attempts to convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. Between putting up with bullies, being forced to wear a pink bunny suit, and being made to suck on a bar of soap, this movie sounds more like a traumatizing childhood memory rather than a feel-good holiday film.
Still from A Christmas Story, Copyright Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1983)
#6 - Polar Express
Released in 2004, this animated film takes place on Christmas Eve when a young boy embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. Along the way, the young boy learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. Starring the enchanting, dynamic, and talented Tom Hanks as SIX of the film’s main characters, this story encourages young and old alike to keep their childlike wonder alive.
Still from Polar Express, Copyright Warner Bros. Pictures (2004)
#5 - Home Alone
Eight-year-old troublemaker Kevin McCalister is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. As any kid with a large family would tell you, being left alone sounds like a dream come true. But, when a pair of burglars begins breaking into homes, Kevin must fuse ingenuity with his naturally mischievous mind to defend his house. With Macauley Culkin playing Kevin and Joe Pesci playing the lead burglar, holiday comedy is inevitable.
Still from Home Alone, 20th Century Fox (1990)
#4 - Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Perhaps one of the best holiday films to debut in 2000, this adult adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s Christmas tale, stars the comedic stylings of Jim Carrey. Decked out in green fur, Carrey plays the revenge-seeking Grinch who plans to ruin Christmas for all of the citizens of Whoville. Directed by the phenomenally-talented Ron Howard, Carrey’s witty and irreverent holiday humor runs wild throughout the entire film.
Still from Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Universal Pictures (2000)
#3 - National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Clark Griswald is at it again! But, instead of going to Walley World, Clark’s got big plans for a huge family Christmas. Written by John Hughes and starring Chevy Chase, this film follows the predictable pattern of disaster that seems to accompany the Griswald family. Despite being made in 1989, this film features timeless holiday tropes including miles of tangled Christmas lights, obliviously intrusive in-laws, and forced holiday happiness.
Still from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Warner Bros. Pictures (1989)
#2 - Elf
Released in 2003, this cheeky Christmas classic stars the one and only Will Farrell as Buddy the Elf. Raised as an outsider in the North Pole, Buddy travels to NYC to meet his biological father who doesn't know he exists. As Buddy attempts to intertwine his elf heritage with his forcibly-adopted human family, Buddy realizes that being an adult isn’t always gumdrops and sugarplums. However, his child-like Christmas spirit ends up saving the day in a heartwarming and humorous fashion.
Still from Elf, Copyright New Line Cinema (2003)
#1 - White Christmas
Lastly, our favorite Christmas movie of all time: White Christmas, the 1954 musical classic featuring an all-star cast including Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney. This film follows a successful song-and-dance team that becomes romantically involved with a sister act. Together, the couples work to save a failing Vermont inn. This movie has it all! Romance, singing, and dancing like you wouldn’t believe.
Still from White Christmas, Copyright Paramount Pictures (1954)
There you have it –our totally biased, completely subjective, potentially controversial list of the top ten Christmas movies of all time.
Here at Collin Street Bakery, we are nothing but amiable to spirited discussions of differing opinions. You have to be when you sell a product as polarizing as fruitcake. Therefore, if you take issue with our list, now’s the time to speak your piece. Drop a comment below to let us know what movies deserve to be re-ranked, what movies need to come off our list, and what movies we forgot to add.
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