Monday, December 10, 2012

TV Christmas Movies

I am a sucker for movies about Christmas. This time of year my wife is always watching those, non stop, Christmas movies made for TV on the Lifetime and ABC Family TV cable channels. I will be watching FOX NEWS on the TV in the room where I am and will walk by the TV my wife is watching and will watch a few minutes and I am hooked. It's fun to watch these TV movies because you see actresses and actors (Mostly from canceled TV shows) who you haven't seen for a while, because they are on the down hill slide in their careers, and will work cheep. Once in a while you will see a movie made before an actor became famous. I have gotten so I remember movies they showed last year and the year before. This is the first year my wife has a high definition TV set and we have our new recliner chairs facing it.  So like an "old couple" we sit there in our recliners watching these Christmas movies in our living room with it's "Christmas Overlay." Life is good!

A couple that I have seen this year are:

Love at the Christmas Table (2012)

Family friends Sam and Kat spend every Christmas Eve at the Children's Table. They grow up together, sharing the highs and lows of young adulthood. And at thirty, Sam realizes that Kat is the one...but he's afraid that the past will get in the way. I liked this movie because it follows the two main characters from age 6 or so till their early thirties.  It's a "same time next year" type of movie because you only see them once a year as they grow up on Christmas Eve at the Christmas party thrown by their parents .  The actress that played Winnie Cooper in the "Wonder Years" is the female lead.

Will You Merry Me (2008)

Very funny movie about two family's that get together at Christmas when their adult children meet in New Your and decide there families should meet  before they get married.

Rebecca, from an upper class Los Angeles Jewish family,(liberal) and Henry, from choir-singing, tradition-bound Midwestern roots,(conservative) are in love. Henry pops the question just before Christmas and the kids plan on gathering their families for the holidays in order to surprise them with the good news. The families collide-oops-meet the week of Hanukkah just before Christmas in a small Midwest town. It's a wild, wacky ride of good intentions and missteps as the two families try in vain to respect each others' traditions. It's not long before Rebecca and Henry learn the hardest part about being married might be dealing with each other's in-laws. Lots of Liberal vs Conservative issues such as Rebecca's revulsion that Henry has a "real" rifle in his childhood bedroom for hunting defenseless ducks.

However my favorite movies about Christmas are the classics that were originally shown in theaters. The following is my list of my favorite movies about Christmas. I decided the test for a movie to make the list is have I purchased it on DVD. Here is the list in order of preference in reverse order.

4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Stars Chevy Chase in a very funny movie. I see a lot of me and my family in this movie, trying to have the "perfect" Christmas. The scenes with the old folks who come over for Christmas eve dinner reminds me of Uncle Herman and Mrs Hills and others who my folks would invite over for Christmas. They are all gone now but the memories remain. I am sure my son has empathy for Russ who has to help his dad put up the outside Christmas lights.

3. Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

A Judy Garland classic. About an upper middle class family in turn of the century St Louis ( young folks the one in 1900). The movie focus in on a group of young people (They didn't call them teenagers then) who are excited about the coming of the Worlds Fair to St Louis and their trials and loves. The dad, who is a lawyer, gets a job at a prestigious firm in New York and causes a crisis that hits it's boiling point at Christmas. Garland sings "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that is a show stopper and is one of those moments you never forget.

2. White Christmas (1954)

What can I say, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney in a movie about two GI's from World War II that want to help out the general of their division who is now the owner of a lodge in New England that has fallen on tough times. Crosby and Kaye are Broadway writer and producers who decide to put on a Christmas show at the lodge and have it shown nationwide on TV on something like the Ed Sullivan Show. Rosemary Clooney has never looked better. A classic 1950's movie that says a lot about the times and in glorious color. of course, Bing sings "White Christmas."World War II was still fresh in the minds of most who saw this movie when it first came out in 1954.

1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

The Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra classic about a guy who gives up his dream of college and travel to stay in his small home town and makes it a better place. I never tire of this movie. The Christmas decorations in this movie remind me of the decorations we had when I was a kid. Next to The Duke, Jimmy Stewart was and is my favorite.