Matt's Challenge: The Top 10 Christmas Movies of All Time Entries have finally started coming in since last week's announcement and it's still on. The challenge is to email me your Top 10 Christmas Movies of all Time (not TV specials and the like) and I'll post them here on the homepage as they arrive over the next week or so. The selections must have a Christmas theme somewhere in the film. Obviously anything with Santa and/or elves counts (Elf, Miracle on 34th Street) but also more subtle things like the story talking place during Christmas (Die Hard) or simply about the event itself (A Christmas Story).
I myself can't even remember 10 Christmas movies, but I do fondly recall Miracle on 34th Street, It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and more recently, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (modeled after the Rankin-Bass TV cartoon adpatation of Dr. Suess's book). That about does it for me. Die Hard is, to me, more an action flick than a Christmas movie, but others may disagree. Black Christmas made many horror movie lists last Halloween, but our deranged gang but force it into double-duty status here. The '60s Mexican cult fave simply titled Santa Claus (where he fights the devil!) wasn't produced in the US, but I did see it at the movies on its special tour during the '60s (shocking, but true). I don't know if Santa Claus vs The Martians counts as a Christmas Movie or just endearing schlock.
The last time we attempted anything like this was way back in 2001 with the Top 10 Christmas Television Specials of All Time, where I did find 10 contenders (A Charlie Brown Christmas, the original Grinch, etc.,etc.).
"Canova" Comic To Debut in PCR #404
Right on schedule, the first chapter of the "Canova" weird-adventure saga begins next week in PCR #404. J. Miller and I have been developing the story and action based on original drawings and outlines he's brought me over the past few weeks. It will be challenging finishing the final formatting and coloring on the super-tight year-end schedule, but I think it can be done.
The strip will fit right into this website's transition to the 2008 "model" along with some re-formatting and facelifting being planned. More later as that story develops.
PCR Writers' Alert, Part 2
Please be advised we only have two more issues of PCR left in the year! If you're planning a best-of/worst-of list, year's highlights, or simply what this year has meant to you, now is the time to plan it.
The good news for all new writers, is we have no clear candidates for this year's graveyard "tombstone" -- that's the graphic that accompanies the citation of new columns that didn't make it in 2007, or washed out after only a few issues, or older columns that were abandoned. There have been some mighty close calls, mind you! 2007 was a pretty stable year, all things considered, so I think it will take well into 2008 before we see who can truly stay the distance.
10. Elf: I’m absolutely in lust with Zooey Deschanel. So it makes my list for her alone. 9. Die Hard: Still one of the greatest action movies of all time. All McClain wanted was a good family Christmas damn it! Stupid terrorists! It was also the first Rated R movie I ever saw. I think it’s PG-13 today, but I believe it was R when it was released. 8. Rocky IV: The greatest 90-minute music video ever made. It single handedly ended the Cold War. 7. Trading Places: The story takes place between Christmas and New Years, so I’ll count it. Outside of 48 Hours, maybe Eddie Murphy’s finest movie … not really because of the jokes, though they are funny, but because as a little kid of 8 years old getting to see Jaime Lee Curtis boobs was a monumental moment in my life. I think I had my first girlfriend a few days later. Side note: That first girlfriend was arrested 10 years later when she puked up bags of heroin on a plane. Yes, she turned into a low level drug smuggler … I know how to pick ‘em! 6. The Nightmare Before Christmas: How many times did I watch this in college while all hopped up on goof balls? Too many to count. 5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: I still feel it’s the best Griswald movie ever. “Merry Christmas, Shitters Full!” " “Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now.” “ HAHA! Is there a more quotable Christmas movie? 4. Christmas Carol: I don’t know which one it was, but one of the older versions gave me nightmares when I was kid. When Bob Crachit’s face appeared on his front door, I remember being scared out of my whits. Anyway, I love all the versions now … even Mr. Magoo! 3. Christmas Story: Honestly, can you have a Christmas movie list and NOT include this? I actually saw this in a tiny rundown theatre in Edgewood,Pa. with my sister and her friend. I was 8 years old and my sister’s friend’s parents were watching us for the day and gave us each $2 to go to the town movie theatre. We had NO idea what the movie was, but figured a Christmas movie had to be good. I remember leaving the theatre loving the movie. 24 years later it is a complete cult classic. Twenty-hour straight every year … need I say more? 2. Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas: A few years ago my friend Mike’s girlfriend gave him the Emmet Otter VHS for Christmas. I told him, “Mike, you need to marry that girl.” Today they have two kids, and he still jokingly says he knew she was one for him when she gave him the VHS. The television movie is that good. 1. Oliver Twist: Really. I’ve only seen it from start to finish once, but I really liked the movie. I was maybe 7 years old … I’d been playing in the snow for hours and my father called me inside to warm up. Angry, I listened. My mother greeted me with a cup of hot chocolate and told me to watch the movie with her. I always hated my mother’s movies – they were always musicals. It took me only a few minutes to realize this was another musical. BUT, I was fascinated by the story of the homeless kids living on their own, scamming for money. I watched it from start to finish, imagining myself as a homeless kid on the streets in this distant land in a time way before I was born. I thought all the kids were so cool and for weeks afterwards had day dreams of hanging out with the characters of the film, living on the street, as only a little kid with a vast imagination can do.
THE TOP 10 CHRISTMAS MOVIES OF ALL TIME by Mike Smith
Like other traditions I try my best to watch each of these films at least once in December. My Top 10 Christmas movies are:
1. A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983): I don't think (or at least I hope) there isn't a person reading this that doesn't have their own childhood memories rekindled watching this movie. From going to get the tree (long before the idea of PLASTIC ones even entered your mind) to sitting on Santa's lap to actually getting that special present you longed for, "A Christmas Story" is timeless. And I still laugh out loud every time an exasperated Darrin McGavin yells out, "Badafinga!" 2. DIE HARD (1988): Yes, to me nothing says Christmas like John McClain running barefoot through the Nakatomi Building on Christmas Eve. It's amazing how many Hollywood insiders publicly made fun of the fact that 20th Century Fox gave $5 million to a t v actor. 20 years later the franchise is still going. Yippie ki yay! 3. LOVE ACTUALLY (2003): A look at the intertwined lives of people in England around Christmas. Well written with an entire cast that deserved an award. 4. A MIDNIGHT CLEAR (1992): How many holiday films take place during World War II? At least one, which deals with an American patrol that comes across their German counterparts during the final stages of the war. They make their own truce, celebrating Christmas as a group. Extra points for being directed by "JAWS 2"s Keith Gordon! 5. SCROOGED (1988): Bill Murray in classic form as a television executive who learns about Christmas the hard way! From the faux holiday specials to Murray's uncanny Richard Burton impression, this is a must see. 6. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946): Wonder what life would be like if you weren't around? Wonder no more. A top notch cast and director Frank Capra at his smaltsiest make this classic one of the most popular films of all time. 7. TRAPPED IN PARADISE (1994): Nicolas Cage, Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey endeavor to rob a small town bank and instead find themselves overcome by the kindness of the people they have stole from. 8. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION (1989): Bright lights, jelly of the month clubs and Cousin Eddie all conspire to make the Griswolds' holiday a memorable one. 9. HOME ALONE (1990): Who knew Joe Pesci could be funny? Funny? Funny how? Like a clown? And one from television... 10. THE HOMECOMING (1971): Dad is working out of town but has promised to be home with the family for Christmas. Will he make it? This film led to "The Waltons" television series.
THE TOP 10 CHRISTMAS MOVIES OF ALL TIME by Brandon Jones
Before I begin, I would like to say that I stuck to films and omitted the Rankin-Bass featurettes. They, like the “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” are not just iconic, but help shape and define the traditions of our Christmas celebrations and the entire Santa Claus mythology.
Favorite Christmas Films...
“Silent Night, Deadly Night” – can’t leave off the best horror Santa interpretation. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – I don’t blame Jim Carey for the problems with this film. The entire childhood Grinch flashback is totally unwatchable, but it’s mostly fun and a pretty good adaptation to a classic. “Elf” – Similar to the Grinch, I was surprised to like the film, especially the homage to Rankin & Bass. “Edward Scissorhands” – a great triumph: the anti-Christmas “Christmas movie” was a huge deal for me when it was being filmed here locally so I’m personally biased. The Sentimental Favorites: “Miracle on 34th Street” & “It’s a Wonderful Life” – more of the nostalgia of watching when I was younger, but not a must watch every year. If they’re on, we might TIVO them. “The Muppets Christmas Carol” – I was a big fan of the Muppets when I was REALLY young (not so much Sesame Street) so the film adaptation was already a fun time. The Yearly Viewing Lists – Classics: “Scrooged” – mindless, simple humor; we love it everytime. “Christmas Vacation” – the adult in me enjoys quoting the lines and relating the antics of the Griswold Family Christmas. “Christmas Story” – from the Pink Nightmare to Fudge to Scut Farkus Affair (as it has become to be known) make this a Christmas Classic. The Leg Lamp makes this a classic. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” – The true cult classic that seems to be growing with each and every generation.
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