Saturday, December 19, 2009

My Christmas Time in Movies

I actually hadn't watched a whole lot of movies in the weeks after I got out of the hospital. As a result, the "My Week In Movies" feature hasn't appeared in a few weeks. Then in the last week or so I started picking up the pace and getting into the holiday spirit with a handful of films. I though I'd wrap up my holiday film reviews in this post and I'll cover some of the other films I've seen at a later date.

Prancer (1989) [G] I've always felt like this was my own little discovery in the world of Christmas movies. During it's initial release it got lost in the shuffle competing with The Little Mermaid. I saw it on video the following year and really enjoyed it. It's the story of a little girl who finds a lost injured reindeer which she believes is Santa's. It's a nice simple sweet story that I've always enjoyed. In 1989, who could remember the last time a live-action, non-Disney movie came out that was rated G!? I showed it to my kids the other night. Tanner fell asleep during the FBI warning. Elias was very interested in the story and really liked it, but he wouldn't fully admit that he was into it because it didn't have any superheroes or any bad guys.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) [NR] I didn't grow up watching this every year like so many other people have. In fact, I saw it for the first time last year. I really liked it, again enjoying the simplicity and sweetness of the story. It's also cool to see a film which is so mature (and maybe even sophisticated) with the basic theme of believing in Santa Claus. As with so many other films from the black and white days, Miracle is filled with wonderful performances from both the main cast and so much of the supporting cast. The new DVD and Blue-Ray release of this film contain both the original black and white version and a colorized version. I assume that the colorization process has been improved in the years since Ted Turner went crazy with his Color Machine, but didn't we as a nation decide shortly after the process began that colorizing old movies was something that just wasn't in the best interest of anyone!?

Elf (2003) [PG] I know to alot of people this is required holiday viewing each year. I was a bit disappointed when I saw Elf in the theatre six years ago, and watching it again for the first time since I have to say it's still not a really good movie. As with almost any Will Ferrell flick - there are at least a few parts where I laughed out loud...quite hard I admit. But overall, this holiday film just doesn't do it for me. I wanted the kids to see it because I thought they'd enjoy it and they did giggle and laugh at most of it. For me, this film's crowning achievement is the casting of Bob Newhart as Papa Elf. Hopefully it will be at least another six years before I get the holiday urge to see Elf again.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)[PG-13] I'm a huge fan of the Vacation films. It makes me feel old to realize that this holiday classic is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary this year. I can vividly remember winning tickets on the radio to a preview screening and can remember sitting in the theatre and just laughing myself silly along with everyone else. Perhaps this movie is the Christmas classic that it is because it was the first Christmas movie with a little edgier and darker humor. Anywho, I was a little disappointed when I discovered that my DVD of Christmas Vacation was not widescreen. Then I was more bummed when I checked my other Vacation DVDs and my copy of the original 1982 movie is also not in widescreen. How longer must I live in the dark ages! Heck, I don't even have a DVD of Vegas Vacation...I still have the VHS. Quickly, I added The Ultimate Vacation Collection 4-DVD set to my list for Santa. If you wanna watch Christmas Vacation filled with commercials and slightly edited - AMC is running it almost every day this month!

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