Time for another viewing list, methinks… and the theme this time is Christmas! (I know… how do I manage to be so original all the time?)
As before, 5 films in the list, and a bonus stocking filler in the shape of a film that I’ve still to see. So, with that, let’s open Santa’s Sack™ and spread some Christmas joy…
First up is Gremlins.
Joe Dante’s film is 30 years old now… which is quite a scary thought in itself. If you haven’t yet seen it, it’s the tale of a loveable little pet (called a “mogwai”) that has a darker side when wet and fed after midnight. It’s delightfully bonkers and cute, and the stand out scene involves a gremlin and a food processor. ’Nuff said!
Next is the first of two films based on Dickens. It is, of course, Scrooged. I could go on at length about how good it is, about how cleverly it adapts the original, or how it is a witty critique of the media, but instead, I’m going to use just two words to explain why you should watch it: Bill. Murray.
From the sublime to the ridiculous… Die Hard (the first one!)
It took me years to realise DH is actually a Christmas film with all the necessary Christmas movie ingredients in the shape of a Todorovian plot, and the mandatory happy ending with the estranged husband and his wife getting back together. Plenty of room for media analysis, but my wife tells me the real reason it is so good is simple. Alan Rickman delivers a delightfully over-the-top performance as Hans Gruber and in a breathtakingly wonderful way steals every scene he is in. “Yippee ki yay!”
Christmas demands animation… and not Wallace and Gromit. The best animated Christmas film of recent years is the one you’ve all seen, The Nightmare Before Christmas. You’ve all seen it, and you all know why it’s on this list. Tim Burton is a genius and , even though he just makes the same film every time, at least it’s a good one. 🙂
And to (almost) finish off, the most traditional Christmas film on my list, A Muppet Christmas Carol. There is something wonderfully anarchic about the Muppets, and this film is about as good as they ever were. Special hat tip to Michael Caine who turns in a solid performance as Ebenezer Scrooge. He doesn’t try to compete with the Muppets when on screen and the film is all the better because of that.
And finally, a film I only heard about a wee while ago, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. I’ve yet to see it, but it sounds right up my street given it promises fields of slaughtered reindeer, nothing for the ‘good kids’ but the naughty children are punished. The respected American film critic, Roger Ebert, called it “…an R-rated Santa Claus origin story crossed with The Thing.” All going well, Santa will bring it to me… I’ll keep you posted! 😉
As ever, feel free to give your suggestions and recommendations in the comments. 🙂