Day Two: My Favourite Christmas Movies
For a lot of people, Christmas movies are a staple when it comes to the festive season – and rightly so, in my opinion. There is such a specific, warm, cosy, unidentifiable feeling that Christmas movies evoke (and those who love them know exactly what I’m talking about). Most of the time the movies will depict a white Christmas, and even though I will be sweltering on our lounges with three fans going, I can’t help but want to be wrapped in a tartan blanket, sipping a hot chocolate or a mulled wine. Alas, this year I will most likely be naked, splayed across our lounge room floor.
The following list is one that is surprisingly close to my heart, with each of theses festive flicks owning a gigantic piece of my heart. So many memories are woven into each of these movies, their scripts and their scenes.
Blog after blog will tell you that Love Actually is an absolute MUST when it comes to Christmas movies. Anyone who disagrees needs to be voted off the island immediately. There is almost too much to love about this movie – almost. From the moment Hugh Grant’s voice narrates, “Love actually is all around” and we see crowds of people embracing at the airport in the opening scene, I am a sobbing mess. A happy mess, yes, but a sobbing one. And it only gets worse from there. Each of the storylines offers insight into a different kind of love while simultaneously romanticising Christmas in a way that I don’t feel has ever been done before.
And I mean, there’s also this:
I can’t decide whether I love the Christmas elements of this movie more, or the romantic comedy side of it. The script is clever and timeless, and the festive season provides such a sturdy spine for each of the characters storylines. I love this movie because it makes me feel; it makes me feel such a wide spectrum of emotions which I normally do my best to block out (I despise crying because of movies). I feel so much love when I watch this, as well as an abundance of absolute heartbreak.
This scene always gets me. Always. Even though I know it is coming, each and every time I completely come apart when this scene plays:
Love Actually goes well beyond being just a Christmas movie and I would go as far as saying that it is one of the most poignant, honest and real representations of what it is like to be in love, to have lost love or to be in pursuit of love. The comedic and festive elements allow the dialogue of the harsher truths of love to be presented to us in a way that makes the audience take more away from this film than perhaps we realise. Like the scene where Rowan Atkinson is making a fuss about gift wrapping Alan Rickman’s gift for his mistress. It’s a pretty shady thing that is going on, especially almost being caught by the wife, but somehow we forgive this and look past it because of the brilliant humour laced into each scene.
And then this happens and my heart breaks all over again. Actual weeping comes with this scene:
First of all.. this cottage. It. Is. Everything.
Even though I have had every single one of my Christmas’ in Australia, whenever I think of Christmas, this cottage is what is on my mind. Every time. The dip in the roof, the dodgy gate, the snow, the two chimneys. This cottage looks like one big festive hug. Much like Love Actually, relationships are at the centre of this film (but I guess, aren’t they always?). In my books, Kate Winslet can do no wrong and I love her and I either want to be her or want to be with her. I love the way that we are introduced to her in this movie (even though, yes, she is attempting to commit suicide by gassing herself), you automatically just fall in love with her. The interior of her cottage and the way she wraps herself up in layers upon layers off clothes is once again, my idea of Christmas. All I want to do when I watch this movie is curl up with a hot chocolate or an inappropriately large glass of red wine.
Cameron Diax has grown on me over the years. I do like her. When her character is forcing herself to cry I will admit that I do cringe, just a little bit, but besides that, I love her in this. Even though none of us like break-ups, especially around the holidays, there is something about her character in this that makes me almost want it. The carefree way she picks up and leaves, drinking alone out of the bottle, having no one to answer to and nowhere to be.. it all sounds pretty bleak but somehow in The Holiday, it works.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Some of you may not know this one, though I hope you all do. My brother and I used to watch this movie on repeat, not even at Christmas time. We loved this shitty movie. For those of you unfamiliar with this movie, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (who I was completely in love with in me pre-teen years) doesn’t want to come home for Christmas. This is, until, his dad offers him a car if he gets himself home by the time they sit down for dinner. What should be a straight forward journey home is instead one filled with mishaps and misunderstandings and near misses and, yeah, you get it. I can’t remember why my brother and I loved this movie so much, but we did, and still do and it will forever be on my Christmas list.
Jingle All The Way
Possibly one of the most iconic Christmas films, ever – and really, who would have thought we would be saying that about a film involving The Terminator himself. By now, I am assuming that everyone knows the plot of this movie, so I won’t comment on that. What I will say is that, this is one of my favourite holiday movies because it is utterly ridiculous, funny in the most stupid of ways and Arnie’s facial expressions are everything. Jingle All The Way captures that frantic, chaotic, department-store stressy side of Christmas that is all too real for every one of us, but with the added element of crazy Hollywood ridiculousness.
Yes to Arnie and yes to Turbo Man.
First of all – this is legit what I look like right now.
I bloody love this creepy-ass movie. The Whos of Whoville are among the most unnerving, weird, psychotically frightening characters to ever have come from the pen of the amazing Dr. Seuss. Their horrifying upturned noses and roses cheeks and sky-high hair-dos, to me, are far more scary and unsettling than the Grinch himself. I also love Jim Carrey in this and I think that the make-up artists and costume humans did some incredible work here. Carrey makes this movie for me. The expressions and the self-deprecating humour and his utter hatred of all the cheer, are perfectly delivered and entertain me each and every Christmas.
Also, we get to see Taylor Momsen as Cindy-Lou Who before she goes all anaemic and goth and oh-so-annoying as Jenny in Gossip Girl.
Though I love the Grinch’s utter loathing of all this Christmas, but what I also love is just how over the top festive this movie is. I love how everyone is wishing the other a Merry Christmas and there is a countdown and a huge tree and everyone buys way too many presents and there is a machine that shoots Christmas lights into their perfect position. I want everyone’s Christmas’ to be exactly like that.
Also, the scene where he is trying to decide what to wear to the ceremony down in Whoville? Freaking brilliant.
Come on… that lift of the leg.
This movie is my mum. Every single other person that my family knows absolutely hates this movie and hates Will Ferrell and cannot understand why we all love it so much. I can’t remember when we first watched this as a family – it came out the same year that my youngest brother was born, all I know is that every year, we watch this movie as a family. This movie is my mum because whenever one of us quotes a line from it or shows her a meme or a gif of Elf she cannot stop laughing and then gets really sentimental and it is just the cutest.
I am not a huge Ferrell fan, but for some reason I am able to put that completely aside when it comes to this movie. Sentimentality and nostalgia will always win for me. Much like The Grinch, one of the main things that I love about this movie is how much Christmas stuff is everywhere. All the decorations and the Christmas trees and the general holiday atmosphere – I LOVE IT. This movie is the one that probably gets me the most excited about Christmas – I get stupidly, ridiculously excited.
I also just love how sweet and fun and silly the whole film is. OH AND ALSO, ZOOEY DESCHANEL IS AN ELF-LADY AND IT IS EVERYTHING. I love the innocence of it all and I love that it always makes me laugh, even if the jokes are immature and cliche, again, when it comes to this film it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except Elf.
I shouldn’t really have to explain this one.. I mean, come on. This is THE Christmas movies and everyone knows it. The booby-traps, the comedic criminals that are terrible at everything, Kevin and how cute he is going shopping by himself and cooking and setting up for Christmas even though he is all alone. All of it. That mansion house. The fact that no one has any idea what Mr McCallister does for work that he is able to afford that kind of a house, a million kids AND pay for his creepy brother and his family to go away for the holidays..
And this (oh my god, so cute):
But my mum’s favourite thing about this movie is definitely the indecipherable mumbling of Harry when he gets annoyed or hurt. You should all know exactly what I am talking about.
Home Alone: Lost in New York
If you watched Home Alone: Lost in New York and didn’t immediately want to know whether Duncan’s Toy Chest actually existed and how quickly you could get there, then you don’t deserve Christmas or this movie. This was one of the first movies, in my opinion, that the sequel was just as good as the original.
Kevin is still super cute – like when he orders room service and says yes to an extra scoop of ice cream because, “I’m not driving”. Tim Curry is creepy and brilliant and Rod Schneider plays a character of a guy called Cedric..
The pranks and booby traps are just as good as the first one too. And, you know, it’s Christmas in New York which is ‘the dream’. So there’s that too.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
I know it isn’t your typical Christmas movie, but it is my belief that everyone should watch the first Harry Potter movie in the lead up to the big day. Every single Harry Potter movie is wonderful/amazing/brilliant and I am a BIG fan of them all, but there is something far more Christmas-y about the first movie. The Hogwarts castle, the big feast where everyone is wearing cloaks and it looks super cosy and warm even if the wind is howling outside, the Gryffindor common room’s fireplace and when Harry and Ron wake up on Christmas morning in their sweaters. Yep.
Not only that, but the sheer magical element of this movie and its whimsy and fantasy is so damn Christmas. Just like the rest of these movies, whenever I flick on Harry Potter, especially the first one, I want to curl up in a big blanket (preferably with a crazy storm going on outside), settle deep into the corner of my lounge and drink a hot chocolate with too many marshmallows in it.
All the gifs.
All of them.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Just quickly first up, how 90s babe does Renee Zellwjefjgnskffsngger look in this shot?!
Anyway, not only is this opening scene absolutely brilliant and relatable on so many levels, but immediately it makes me keen to buy my own pair of Christmas-themed flannel pyjamas (even though I would die of heat stroke in Australia), light a fire (again, too hot) and get myself all amped up for festivities. Not only is Bridget Jones’s Diary one of my favourite Christmas movies, it is also one of my favourite movies, period.
The character of Bridget may be accentuated, but she really is a perfect example of how we have all felt at one time or another. I know that I certainly see a lot of myself in her awkward-but-still-tries-really-hard ways. She faces love triangles and run-ins with assholes and a judgemental mother and she really commits to a costume party which I wholeheartedly approve of and respect. This movie isn’t about Christmas, but the whole film takes place over one year with Bridget’s mum’s annual Christmas turkey curry buffet as its bookends. The ugly sweaters, the smalltalk that we have all had to make and cringe-worthy familial encounters we all must endure.. THAT IS CHRISTMAS.
Also, I sob at this scene always. Because there is snow, and a kiss and leopard print underwear.
I have heard from a few people at work that the new fad is to watch those terrible Netflix Christmas movies. I get it, I really do, but I am such a stickler for rewatching what I already know and love and enjoy (over and over and over again). I am a creature of habit and have a deep-seeded love of anything that brings with it hefty feelings of nostalgia. Pete is away this weekend – his last little getaway to the property before I get any closer to my due date – so I plan on baking cookies and watching every single one of these movies. Every. Single. One.