All-Time Top 10: Xmas Movies
Ok we can talk about it now. Two weeks into December is close enough to Christmas to dare speak its name. But before I do: I stumbled across another version of Asimbonanga that a friend of mine posted on Facebook last week. It’s the Soweto Gospel Choir doing a bit of stealth singing in Woolworths but it’s nice to know that this song meant a great deal to a lot of people – It’s a great tribute that you can listen to here.
Now back to December. What a mental month it is. When I worked a 9 to 5, the talk round the office was how taxing the silly season was with party after party and one social engagement after another. True it was exhausting, but in a different way than I experience now. I have no Christmas party and in earnest I tagged along to someone else’s end of year drinks the other night. But the errands, children’s concerts, Christmas displays and swarming shopping centres are their own form of madness. It is not until we get to that week between Christmas and New Year that we can truly appreciate what it all means and…finally get a lie down and a cup of tea or something stronger perhaps.
In this vegetative state it is the Christmas movie that comes to the fore. There is no place for your cerebral art-house flicks or complex thrillers. At Christmas, what is required is reruns of the most simple storytelling. Sometimes the movies don’t have to be about Christmas, they can just be shown a lot at that time. For me, it has to be the kind of movie you can walk away from or come back to after missing thirty minutes barely able to hear the audio thanks to the sound of wrapping paper and boxes that are being tossed about the room by children who are more interested in the container than the contents.
So here are my ten. These are guaranteed to get me in the mood for a laugh, a lie down and a festive snooze:
10. Gremlins (1984) – Don’t get them wet. Don’t feed them after midnight. What was the other rule? Oh yeah don’t expose them to too many Christmas movies.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) – Huge fan of Tim Burton so this has to go in. Jack Skellington is a great character. You could argue, of all ten of my movies, this one has the most complicated plot. My kids love it.
8. Sound of Music (1965) – Eh! (I hear you say).This used to be on every Christmas when I was growing up. It would start at five in the afternoon and finish at 9pm (when you include all the ad-breaks). Do-Re-Me-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do. Music and Nazi’s, what more could you want?
7. Arthur Christmas (2011) – Sometimes it’s about watching a movie you can sit down with the whole family and enjoy. When this movie came out, the whole family (cuzzies ‘n’ all) went down to the cinema and all enjoyed it. You can’t do better than that.
6. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) – It’s on every Christmas and you can watch it while sampling a giant box of Roses. If you don’t see an Oompah Loompah this Christmas, you haven’t been watching telly.
5. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation (1989) – I like all the Griswold family movies but my favourite scene in this is the Christmas lights on the house. I know a guy like that and he is the reason why your ESB bill is so high.
4. Scrooged (1988) – I could watch Bill Murray all day. Don’t know why really. Doesn’t matter whether its Ghostbusters or Groundhog Day, he’s an affable comedian. There have been many versions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ but this one’s the most fun.
3. Elf (2003) – I guess Will Ferrel takes over where Bill Murray left off and his role as a human that is adopted as an Elf is classic. The innocence he portrays works in a Christmas movie and the scene when he has dinner at his real Dad’s house sets the tone.
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – The only movie that truly does Indiana Jones justice. Just perfect cinema really…oh and more Nazi’s.
1. Die Hard (1988) – ‘Yippee Ki-Yay Father Christmas!!!’ Who wouldn’t want to go to the Nakatomi Christmas Party?