"Great" Scott's Incredibly Great List of the
Top Ten Greatest Christmas Movies of All Time
(That He's Actually Seen)
Happy holiday, kiddies! It's me, "Great" Scott, taking a break from watching SmackDown (and lots of other more important things like spending time with family, reading a good book, exercising…you get the idea) to give you what could be the best Christmas (or Chanukah, or Kwanza, or Festivus) gift you'll receive this year.
You see, I'm a fan of movies. Every year, I make it a point to take in a new Christmas movie. It's been a tradition since my wife and I have been married…over nine years (which I'm sure feels like 109 to her). Anyway, I thought I would put my movie watching to good use by passing along the titles of the ten best Christmas movies I've ever seen.
There are no rules when it comes to this list…except for the fact that I've actually had to see the movie in its entirety. Other than that, I try to stick with movies that are about or take place solely during Christmas. For example, most of the Harry Potter movies have scenes at Christmas, but I wouldn't consider them Christmas movies.
So, without further ado…"Great" Scott's favorite yuletide flicks!
Number Ten: Jingle All The Way
Okay, I'm sure you're thinking that this list is going to suck Pete Schweddy's balls if a stinker movie like this is on it. However, if you haven't seen it, give it a shot. There are a few things that make this movie funny. First, Phil Hartman steals the show as Arnold's scumbag neighbor. Second, Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge of the Nerds) is in it; that guy is never in a bad movie. Third, Sinbad is actually funny in it…and a funny Sinbad movie is about as common as a purple unicorn. Finally, listening to Arnold say, "Turbo Man," never gets old. Trust me, this movie will make you giggle at least four times…guaranteed.
Number Nine: Gremlins
Come on, people; be honest. Tell me you haven't seen this movie and seriously thought about whether or not you could own a mogwai. Despite the fact that people might argue that this isn't a true "Christmas movie," nothing could be further from the truth. This movie is essentially about a creative Christmas gift gone wrong…sort of like a Magic Bullet in the wrong hands.
This movie had it all: humor, action, suspense, cuteness to the point it made you sick, an old lady in an automated chair flying through an upstairs window, and Phoebe Cates…`nuff said.
Number Eight: Rocky IV
Is this another stretch Christmas movie? This exchange says it all:
Reporter: What date?
Rocky: December twenty-fifth.
Reporter: Why Christmas?
Rocky: It's what I was told
Rocky: In Russia.
Paulie: Are you nuts?
I realize this isn't even the best Rocky movie, but I have fond memories of this film. When I was kid, people in the theater were actually going bonkers when Rocky started winning. When the "fight" was over, the crowd went crazy. It was just a fun movie experience? Cheesy? Yes, but some of our best memories usually are.
Also, Dolph Lundgren ruled the school as Ivan Drago. "If he dies…he dies." Classic.
Number Seven: Miracle on 34th Street
Okay, four movies in and you're probably now agreeing with one of my picks. Listen, pal, you become a second-tier writer on a goofball wrestling Web site and maybe some day you'll be able to write your own column about Christmas movies.
Anyway, this is a classic that you need to make some time to watch. To sum it up, a department store Santa claims to be the real thing. Society being as it is, they declare the guy insane. Some true believers stick by the guy, while others want to lock him up in the loony bin. Even though the movie came out in 1947, it's still immensely watchable. It's funny and touching and all the stuff you want out of a Christmas movie.
By the way, they did a remake of this movie in 1994 starring the old man from Jurassic Park, the slutty lady who falls for adult Josh Baskin in Big, and Bobby Donnell from The Practice. I can't speak on this version of the movie; I saw the original…and I highly recommend it.
Number Six: Home Alone
Yeah, this is another cornball movie, but you have to admit that you stop changing channels for a second when this comes on TV. Yeah, every sequel got progressively worse (Did you know there were actually FOUR of these?), but the original was a classic. Yes, it's an idiotic premise. Yes, the mom should've been arrested at the end of the movie. And, yes, the two robbers should've just shot the kid and gotten it over with…but it's all about suspending disbelief around the holidays, isn't it?
There are about a dozen funny scenes in this movie, my favorite being the, "Keep the change, ya' filthy animal," scene. I also really liked the sub-plot with the creepy old neighbor (played by Roberts Blossom)…it was probably the most underrated part of the movie…and definitely heartwarming. And really, who doesn't need a little heartwarming from time to time?
Number Five: Christmas Vacation
I'm sure a lot of you are going to consider it blasphemy to rank this movie this low, but I'm not as big a fan of it as some people. Don't get me wrong; it's a funny movie. I also believe this is the one Christmas movie on the list that I can really relate to…not a year goes by where something happens to me that happened in this movie (mostly related to the Christmas lights), but there are just some parts that make me go, "meh." Most of them revolve around Cousin Eddie, who I think is a lot funnier in Vegas Vacation. I don't know…I just can't put my finger on why I can't rank this movie higher, but I can't.
Despite the fact that many of you will think I ranked this criminally low, I will give this movie a special award: Best Scene in a Christmas Movie. When Clark doesn't quite get the bonus he thinks he's going to get, he goes into what could be one of the most hysterical rants of all time. Do yourself a favor and rent this movie…the television version of this scene doesn't do it justice.
Finally, here's a movie fun fact! There's actually a sequel to Christmas Vacation! Yup, some movie executive thought it would be a good idea to do a sequel to this starring everyone's favorite paranoid schizophrenic, Randy Quaid. Pick up Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure at your local gas station movie bin! Do it for someone you dislike immensely!
Number Four: (TIE) How the Grinch Stole Christmas/The Santa Clause
Okay, let me explain why I'm doing this. Technically, HTGSC (the cartoon version, not the blight on our existence that is the Jim Carrey live action version) isn't a Christmas movie…it was a 30-minute television special. That being the case, I didn't want to bump an actually movie off the list, but I still wanted to include it because it's been a part of my Christmases for over 20 years now.
First, let me talk about how awesome How The Grinch Stole Christmas is. How can you not enjoy a movie with lines like:
And they'll play noisy games like zoozit and kazay, a roller-skate type of lacrosse and croquet!
If that's not enough for you…try this one…
You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch / With a nauseous super-naus / You're a crooked, jerky jockey and you drive a crooked hoss / Mr. Gri-inch! Your soul is an appalling dump-heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots!
I don't know about you, but I know a few jerky jockeys that drive crooked hosses…and I only hope their hearts would grow three sizes.
Seriously, I can't see anyone but those with no souls (which includes most sports agents, used car dealers, and a good portion of the world's lawyers) not enjoying this movie. If your tear ducts don't tremble a little bit at the end of this movie, you might want to test your pulse.
As far as the other movie, The Santa Clause, goes…it's another one of those movies people think is too cheesy to enjoy. That seems to be par for the course for Tim Allen vehicles…I think it's just too easy to hate on Tim Allen. Is he a great Shakespearian actor? Nope. Is he a comedy genius on par with Richard Pryor or Steve Martin? Nope. Is a relatively funny guy that's been in some funny movies? Absolutely. This movie is good, clean family fare that doesn't pretend to be anything else. I like it simply because it's a really watchable movie. Plus, any movie that has an Oscar Mayer Weiner Whistle in it can't be all bad, can it?
Number Three: It's a Wonderful Life
Okay, now we're getting to the cream of the crop. The top three movies I have in this list are absolutely must-sees. I can't stress that enough.
It's a Wonderful Life is an absolutely timeless classic that you must make it a priority to see. It stars Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey. George is probably one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet in your life. In addition to being nice, George is a dreamer who wants to go to college and see the world. The only problem? After George's father dies, the town's old, rich dickweed, Mr. Potter, threatens to shut down George's father's building and loan company, which would put most of the town on the street. Without giving too much more of the plot away, George eventually learns what his hometown (and the people in it) would be like if he had never existed. While I make stupid jokes about 97 percent of the time, I can say in all seriousness that the world would be a better place if everyone watched this movie every Christmas. If you're pissed off about how "commercial" Christmas has become…bake a batch of cookies, invite some family or friends over, and watch this movie…and for a couple of hours, you'll see what Christmas should really be about.
P.S. Donna Reed is smoking hot in this movie. Come on, you really didn't think I'd stay serious forever, did you?
Number Two: A Christmas Story
I don't really have to defend ranking this movie this high, do I? Any movie that you can show for two full days straight at Christmas must by pretty damned good, true?
What's great about this movie is that it's really just a series of Christmas-related skits. Whether it's Flick (played by future porn star Scott Schwartz) sticking his tongue to a pole, Ralphie's old man getting his "major award" (I still say "Fra-jee-lay" every time I see a box with the word "Fragile" on it.), Ralphie decoding his Little Orphan Annie message, Ralphie going to see Santa, or Ralphie finally getting the Christmas gift of his dreams, there isn't a scene in this movie that isn't memorable. For the six of you that haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and take some time to watch it on TBS this Christmas. If you don't, I'll send Scut Farkus over to your house to beat the tar out of you. And, yes, it's "Scut," not "Scott." Don't even try my obscure movie trivia skills.
Number One: Die Hard
Man, I'm probably going to catch hell for this, but Die Hard is indeed my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Not only that, but it's probably in my top 50 movies list. I have a collectible figure of John McClane on my desk at work; I have a Nakatomi Towers shirt that I wear that absolutely no one gets; I shout, "Oh my God, the quarterback IS TOAST," at least once a month (See the movie and you'll get it). I love this movie.
Now, Christmas purists may cry foul on this one, but any movie that starts with RUN DMC's "Christmas in Hollis," and ends with a fantastic rendition of "Let it Snow" by Vaughn Monroe has got to qualify as a Christmas movie. If that doesn't do it…CARL WINSLOW'S IN IT!! Nothing says Christmas like Reginald VelJohnson! As my last piece of evidence, every great Christmas movie should have a classic line like, "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."
Whether you agree or not, I love this movie and I try to get it out and watch it once a year. Nothing is better after a full day of fighting with rude fat women and inconsiderate store employees than to watch this movie and cheer as John McClane single-handedly routs a dozen or so terrorists in his bare feet. Plus, Alan Rickman is GAWD!
That's about it. Like it or not, Die Hard is my one-and-only favorite Christmas movie of all time. I only have one thing left to say:
I had to sneak that in there…it's from the television (censored) version of Die Hard 2. You can view it at YouTube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soeQ1i-tYAgg.
Others Receiving Votes
In addition to the movies on the preceding list, there are a few other Christmas movies that I liked, but didn't include on this list. These movies include:
Christmas Movies to Avoid Like The Plague
There are a few Christmas movies that I really truly have hated. It takes a lot for me to utterly despise a movie, especially at Christmas, but a few stand out as being ridiculously bad.
First, Deck the Halls. I watched about half of this movie and turned it off. I'm not even going to waste time listing the dozens of reasons why this movie is horrible…and I think Kristin Davis is hot. If there were 5,000 Kristin Davises in this movie, it wouldn't be enough. I would rather sniff reindeer poop for a month than sit through this movie again.
Next up, Surviving Christmas. I saw this movie a couple of years ago and barely remember anything other than the fact that it had Tony Soprano, Kelly Bundy, and Ben Affleck. I remember being bored out of my mind when I watched it, so I'll tell you to avoid it and save you the trouble…and $2.00.
Finally, Santa with Muscles. I must admit, I haven't seen this movie, but it's a Hulk Hogan movie, so I'm going to play the percentages and say it probably sucks. This might be one case where it's safe to assume.
Wrapping Things Up (Get It?)
Well, that's about it for my Christmas movie roundup. I hope you get some use out of it. I know I probably left one of your favorites off, and if I have, let me know. I'm always up for seeing a good Christmas movie. While I'm probably going to avoid likely stinkers like Ernest Saves Christmas and Bad Santa, if there's something that you've seen that you really think is good, I'd love to hear about it.
In closing, I really hope all of you have a GREAT Christmas. In the semi-immortal words of Bill Murray in Scrooged:
It's Christmas Eve! It's... it's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we... we... we smile a little easier, we... w-w-we... we... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!
Here's hoping you get a chance to be the person you always hoped you'd be.
THE TWF "MENTAL WELLNESS TEST!"
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