As the holiday season approaches, we are ready to break out our Christmas movies. But since there are so many to choose from, who knows which ones are the best? “A Christmas Carol” has been done so many ways since its first film version in 1908 that there are almost endless possibilities and variations on the classic Dickens tale.
We at the Crescenta Valley Weekly newspaper have endeavored to compile a list of the best Christmas movies, or at least movies to watch at Christmas time, to get our readers into the holiday spirit before Black (or White in Montrose) Friday even arrives.
Of course the classic old standby is “A Christmas Carol.” But with 40 different versions of the tale listed as films on the Internet Movie Database, which one is the best?
“The Muppet Christmas Carol” is exceptionally good, especially for kids and anyone looking for a lighthearted version of the tale, which being a ghost story, can get rather dark in other versions. But the best overall version of “A Christmas Carol” is the 2009 Disney version directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jim Carrey. This is the most faithful retelling of the story told in the novella by Charles Dickens in 1843. For anyone who likes this story, even a little, this is a great film to pick up. It is now available on Disney DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D.
Almost everyone in America must have seen “A Christmas Story,” the movie set in midwest America in the 1940s about Ralphie, the little boy with a Christmas wish – all he wanted was a Red Ryder BB gun. This movie plays for 24 hours on Christmas Day on TBS and it provides the soundtrack to most of our Christmas dinners and as background noise while we prepare our Christmas feast. For anyone who hasn’t seen this classic Christmas story, pick up the DVD or tune to TBS on Christmas day for 24 hours of “A Christmas Story.”
Other great movies to check out include 1993’s “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” when Jack Skellington from Halloweentown tries to make Christmas in his own scary way. A stop motion salute to Goth kids at the holidays.
An unlikely Christmas movie, “Die Hard” takes place at a company Christmas party when European terrorists take over the building and hold the party guests hostage. All the guests except John McClane. This ultimate action movie may not traditionally go with eggnog and tinsel, but it is a movie that does feature the holiday prominently.
But for those of us ready for a new movie at the holiday season, check out some of these upcoming films headed for theaters.
“New Year’s Eve” is a holiday film in the tradition of “Love Actually” that combines every actor in Hollywood with nothing to do and puts them all in the same lovey-dovey romantic film about what it’s like to fall in love on New Year’s Eve. For anyone who loved “Love Actually” and those types of films, “New Year’s Eve” is for you. A perfect date movie. This Warner Bros. film is released Dec. 9.
On Dec. 16, there is a whole slew of big new releases. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” continues the digital Alvin and the Chipmunks craze. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is the much-anticipated sequel of 2009’s action adventure sleuth movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as the master detective who embodies not only brains but also brawn.
On Dec. 21, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” descends on theaters, continuing the story begun in the first three “Mission: Impossible” movies, which are based (loosely) on the classic TV show. This Tom Cruise action film looks amazing and hopefully won’t disappoint.
Also on Dec. 21, “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn” will wow audiences. This reporter has seen the film and it is, without a doubt, going to be the best film of the holiday season. With competition like “Chipwrecked,” this may be a big claim, but something tells me that this Spielberg directed adventure movie filmed in motion capture will beat out the competition.
So there you have it. Whether it’s classic Christmas fodder like “A Christmas Story,” unconventional Yuletide fun with “Die Hard,” or adventure and intrigue with “Tintin,” these will definitely going to help make the season bright.