Holiday Movie Hall of Fame

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Home Alone



One of the more classic Christmas movies of all time in my household. This is certainly something that gets watched every year.

Caulkin has basically disappeared from anything relevant since these movies, but perhaps no child actor is as famous as he was back then. Did a good job in the movie and will always be a Christmas icon.

The highlight for me is the torture chamber that Kevin sets up in his house. It was funny to see what happened to Harry and Marv. Harry and Marv definitely play off of each other brilliantly. Peschi is a really funny guy and it was funny to see him have to act in a reserved and more PG role than like Goodfellas.

I like the heartwarming touches to the film too. How Kevin misses his family and how he unfolds a relationship with his neighbor and eventually unfolds the importance of reaching out to family with his neighbor.

A good solid nostalgic pick for me here. Not a perfect movie, but a fun one.

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That's wonderful, Johnny!
I tried watching Eight Crazy Nights earlier today. (I've always wanted to see it because there aren't a lot of movies about Hanukkah.) It was so bad that I had to turn it off about about 15 minutes.
It's a so bad it's good movie I thought. I haven't seen since it's theatrical release though. I have fond memories of that theater experience

I just thought it was a "so bad it's even worse than I thought it would be" movie.
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If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
A Christmas Carol (1951)
This is a very dark and/or grim movie compared to the other movies that were nominated in this HoF, which kind of makes it hard to rank along with the other noms.

I like how we can actually see the changes in Scrooge as he sees more and more of how other people see him. From his girlfriend Alice, leaving him because he loves money more than her, to how people talk about him in the present, and him seeing that nobody is sad when he dies, we can see how he goes from being a mean and greedy person to being frightened of what will happen to him, and realizing that he still has a chance to change his ways. In only about 90 minutes, the movie goes from being dark and depressing to fun and uplifting.

I like how the different spirits are shown in this movie. The spirit of Christmas past looks like a ghost, maybe because it's all about the people in his past who have died, (or left him alone). The spirit of Christmas Present looks like a king because it's all about his money. And the spirit of Christmas yet to come looks like the grim reaper, because it's all about his death.

I love the way his maid is terrified of him while he's dancing at the end because she thinks he's gone crazy.
I've seen a few versions where it seems like you are just taking for granted that in the end he changes his way and you don't actually witness the change. This, for me, delves more deeply into Ebenezer's transformation. In both, the reasons, as well as Alastair Sim, expressing that arc incredibly.

Love the maid and her reactions to his giddiness as well.
Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) (1951)


A film I've seen so many times I don't really need to watch it again in order to review it. It certainly felt a bit weird watching it in November, since it's usually a Christmas Eve tradition in my family. This is a movie that my grandparents loved and my mum loved.

This is the version of A Christmas Carol to me, and Alistair Sim is the Scrooge. The way he goes from self-satisifed smugness in the 'are there no workhouses' scene to outright meanness and coldness to his complete transformation into as giddy as a schoolboy, standing on his head at the end is superb. I love the standing on his head part. There are some great supporting characters here, especially the lot that turn up at the pawnbrokers to flog his stuff after he's dead - I think the muppet version must be closely based on this version in that particular.

The music is great, too, the darker music mixing in with the Christmas carols, the snowy London scenes capture the cold atmophere and ghostliness of the story. My main complaint, every year, is the poshness of the Cratchitt children, talking about goose and pudding in their plummy accents.

A Christmas cracker.
I will be keeping an eye on that scene when I watch the Muppet version and remarking on it.

The children ARE a bit posh, ain't they? LOL
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- This is one of those films where I liked it on first viewing but I feel like watching it again might actually make me dislike it, but that's pretentious existentialism for you.



That's wonderful, Johnny!
I've seen a few versions where it seems like you are just taking for granted that in the end he changes his way and you don't actually witness the change. This, for me, delves more deeply into Ebenezer's transformation. In both, the reasons, as well as Alastair Sim, expressing that arc incredibly.

I think this is one of the things that makes this version stand out above the rest.



I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
I've seen a few versions where it seems like you are just taking for granted that in the end he changes his way and you don't actually witness the change. This, for me, delves more deeply into Ebenezer's transformation. In both, the reasons, as well as Alastair Sim, expressing that arc incredibly.
I agree with this absolutely. Sometimes he's too quick to change, sometimes it happens all at once when he wakes up, but here there is that subtle journey.





Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
(1977)
Directed by Arthur Rankin Jr and Jules Bass

Story of the donkey that carried the pregnant Mary to Bethlehem. Nestor was born in the northern part of Europe. All the animals in the stable would laugh and make fun of him due to his long ears. One night, the Roman Soldiers came for donkeys, thinking the owner of the stable was trying to cheat the empire, they took all the donkeys without paying the owner. The owner of the stable took Nestor and threw him out into the snowstorm. Nestor's mother ran after her son in the storm. She protected him with her body as the storm raged. In the morning, she died to save her son. Nestor wanders until he meets a cherub named Tilly. Tilly tells Nester to go to Bethlehem. On his way, he is taken in by another stable master. One night a man and his pregnant wife were wanting to buy a donkey to take them to the city. They picked Nestor saying, he had gentle eyes. During a great sandstorm, Nestor was able to protect her and the unborn babe.


I am not a religious person at all, but Nestor is a show that can bring a tear to anyone's eye. I had been watching this every year since I was 10 years old. This is one of the GREAT Rankin-Bass holiday shows. It will continue to be and it's a shame it's rarely played anymore.
I want to sneak this in sometime yet.



I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Not one of the nominated films, but I watched Christmas Chronicles 2 last night. For what it is, I enjoyed it. My 9 year old enjoyed it too. I think there is a message in there for grumpy teenagers (and the parents of grumpy teenagers) so it is a shame my own grumpy teenagers don't watch movies. Maybe I'll put it on again some time nearer Christmas when they can't escape to Minecraft.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



A Year Without a Santa Claus

Santa Claus: All right. What are you up to?
Mrs. Santa: Up to? Do I look like I'm up to something?
Santa Claus: No, you don't look like you're up to something, but whenever you look like you're not up to ANYTHING, you're up to something.

An excellent kickstart to Rankin/Bass Holiday shows that I always try to watch for Christmas.

With Shirley Booth doing a wonderful Mrs. Claus and Mickey Rooney returning to voice Santa - the first one being Santa Clause is Coming to Town (one of the favorites at our house) we find out Santa is got a hellacious cold and is considering taking Christmas off that year. Even more so when his doctor remarks on how no one believes in him anyway.
Enter two elves, Jingles and Jangles who head out to discover some Christmas cheer, riding a very young reindeer, Dixon.
And trouble begins as they try to get past both the Heat Miser and his brother, Cold Miser. My favorite characters in this little special. Especially their respective songs.


Rankin/Bass had a helluva run of Holiday Specials for good reason. Standing the test of time they remain a fun part of the season. And, as I've stated, this was an excellent kickstart to them.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



The Muppets' Christmas Carol

Robert Marley: Look, it's Ebeneezer Scrooge!
Jacob Marley: Looking older and more wicked than ever.
Robert Marley: I knew he wouldn't disappoint us!

The first film production after Jim Henson's death, his son, Brian takes the reins for this retelling of a more saccharine nature. Which I imagine is due to Walt Disney producing it.
While I did grow up watching The Muppets and still enjoy them, some of the films seem to fall short of the vaudevillian humor that I always love. Including this one I'm sad to say.

It could be the placement of watching a Rankin/Bass who's music I enjoy and after seeing my very favorite rendition of Scrooge that may have knocked my viewing pleasure down a few notches.
Who's to say. But, regardless, it was nice to see the list of Muppets once again all the same.



The trick is not minding
Home Alone

Macaulay Culkin plays Kevin, left behind by his parents when thieves appear and heís forced to defend his home.
Itís a simple premise but the film is so much more then that.
Itís about family. At first heís happy theyíre gone. He thinks he wished them out of existence. He doesnít get along with them lately. Perhaps he feels neglected. It doesnít delve too deeply into it. But the point is made.
During this time he has to learn to grow up some, and learns to do adult things. He shops for groceries, responsibly I might add. Not junk food as expected. He learns to do the laundry. He conquers his fear of the boiler downstairs.
And heís wiser all the more for it. Admitting he misses his family and helps dispense advice to his neighbor about reconciling with his own son. Which is a subplot that drives home the family reconciliation theme as well.
And all the while he has to outwit and remain one step ahead of the thieves (played admirably by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern).
Itís funny how he sets up traps against them in his house, even if itís a little implausible.
But itís all about family, and the final scene where he reconciles with his mother and then his entire family, and then watched from the window as his neighbor has his own reconciliation with his estranged son and finally is able to meet his grand daughter, who he previously only watched from afar during his church recitals) is a touching one.
Released in 1990, I never watched it, because I was never interested. I was all about action, horror, sci fi and sometimes comedy during that time in Tallahassee, Florida.
It wasnít until years later after I started to be more serious about film that I even considered watching what ever I came across. Yet I never got around to this.
Until now. And I enjoyed it. Imagine that? Thank you.



A Christmas Carol

Had not seen this before but I certainly enjoyed this. I heard you guys talk about the 30s version but I wonder if this one can be topped in terms of how vintage it seems. Alastair Sim has to go down as the best Scrooge ever, and I really enjoyed a few other Scrooge performances that I've seen. The film looked really cool for being from the 50s too. Touching scene in the future of Scrooge with Kratchet crying over Tiny Tim. A real nice surprise treat. Kudos to @edarsenal for nominating something I should have seen a long time ago. When I did the fifties countdown this was one that just missed the cut barely.

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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Home Alone

It wasnít until years later after I started to be more serious about film that I even considered watching what ever I came across. Yet I never got around to this.
Until now. And I enjoyed it. Imagine that? Thank you.
Pretty [email protected] awesome to finally see a film you've been wanting to get to and just couldn't, ain't it?
I haven't seen this since it first came out so I'll be looking forward to seeing this again.
A Christmas Carol

Had not seen this before but I certainly enjoyed this. I heard you guys talk about the 30s version but I wonder if this one can be topped in terms of how vintage it seems. Alastair Sim has to go down as the best Scrooge ever, and I really enjoyed a few other Scrooge performances that I've seen. The film looked really cool for being from the 50s too. Touching scene in the future of Scrooge with Kratchet crying over Tiny Tim. A real nice surprise treat. Kudos to @edarsenal for nominating something I should have seen a long time ago. When I did the fifties countdown this was one that just missed the cut barely.

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My pleasure and an honor.



The trick is not minding
Yeah, there are so many films I should have seen but havenít that it is so hard to keep up with.
Lists help with that, of course.
Glad to have finally gotten Home Alone and Nightmare Before Christmas off my backlog. Both were good.




Home Alone (1990)

If Charlie Chaplin had been around to see Home Alone, I believe he would've been impressed.

Years ago when I first was married, my wife had Home Alone on VHS tape and so we watched it at Christmas time. I didn't really care for the movie back then and so avoided watching it, when I could...

Well this Holiday season I dragged out the old box of VHS tapes and watched Home Alone, this time around I consider this Christmas classic genius. Home Alone reminds of one of Charles Chaplin's films, especially The Kid (1921). Home Alone has the same combination of cleverly amusing antics done in slapstick style so that the audience knows not to cringe too much, as the mayhem is all done tongue-n-cheek. And like a well crafted Chaplin film, Home Alone has much more than sight gags, it has heart and conviction.

The heart comes from the well crafted script that blends the value of family and forgiveness with it's slapstick style comedy. And thanks to one helluva talented kid actor Macaulay Culkin, the movie is fun to watch.

My favorite act is the second act when Kevin finds himself home and decides to 'grow up' in a hurry. I loved the grocery store shopping scene, and his comically quick excuse for being alone to the store clerk. Loved how he uses a video recording of an old gangster movie on the pizza delivery guy and on the robbers too, ha.

Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern and Catherine O'Hara, all bring so much to their roles. I just wish Charlie Chaplin would've had a chance to see Home Alone, I'm sure he would've loved it.


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I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
The Year Without a Santa Claus


I had never heard of this. I see people referencing Rankin Bass movies which I honestly have to say I have never heard of. I'm not sure I've watched a single one. So I was not coming at this from a position of nostalgia at all.

I spent the first fifteen minutes of this wondering "what on earth am I watching?". It grew on me, though. At first I didn't like the style of animation or the character design, but I got used to it, and then there were a few nice touches like the lady's scarf turning into an angry cat. The songs were OK.

I can't say that this is going to be a film I would rewatch every year, but it was not without its charms.



I don't know what we'd have done without Rudolph that year.

Wait, Rudolph? Could it be you aren't acquainted with the story of Rudolph?!

Well, grab an ice block and lend an ear.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Now You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all. . . . . .