When I set up this column with Jackson County Home guru Jamey Foster, he and I agreed that the content would mostly be sports, but that I could occasionally throw in a more general interest story. Today is one of those times.
With the holiday season in full swing, I shall present to you the Top Ten Christmas Movies of All Time. At least, according to your faithful columnist. Obviously, there are a lot of good Christmas films out there, and tastes vary, but this chart will give us something to think about. So, with bells jingling in the background, here we go.
- “It’s A Wonderful Life” (1946)
I’m a big Jimmy Stewart fan, but this one gets the top nod for a lot more than that. It’s a moving tale of how we can all affect each other’s lives, which culminates with a moving scene on Christmas Eve in the now legendary Bedford Falls. “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”
- “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947)
I mean, who doesn’t love Santa Claus, and here we have the real guy, Kris Kringle. This crafty film teaches us that Christmas is all about believing in the right things.
- “A Christmas Carol” (various versions)
Maybe I’m thinking more of the Charles Dickens classic novella, but you have to include this lesson in redemption when ranking the most powerful Christmas stories ever.
- “A Christmas Story” (1983)
OK, after some more serious movies, it’s time to have some jocularity. I think one reason I like “A Christmas Story” so much is that it has the look of my childhood Christmas years in the 50s. Plus: “Fra-zhee-lay—must be Italian”; “You’ll shoot your eyes out”; “The greatest Christmas gift I had received, or would ever receive”. Yeah, most of us have seen it 100 times, but the lines never get old.
- “Christmas Vacation” (1989)
Now, this movie reminds me of Christmas as a middle-aged guy, with young kids. We’ve all lived through the progression of the holiday season as shown here, from the purchase of the tree, to harried shopping, decorating the house, the arrival of relatives, and finally a sometimes stressful but usually wonderful Christmas Eve. “Clark, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
- “The Family Stone” (2005)
Another in my “time of life series” here. “The Family Stone” is about older parents having children in their 30s coming home for Christmas (which is where we are now). If you haven’t seen it, check it out, as it does an exceptional job of showing the evolution of a family as years go on.
- “The Polar Express’ (2004)
This 3D computer-animated movie is based on the classic children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. Beautifully presented with messages about believing throughout, the film features an award winning musical score by Mississippi native and Ole Miss grad Glen Ballard.
- “Love, Actually” (2003)
This ensemble piece with a stellar cast takes place in London over the week leading up to Christmas, examining several different sets of relationships and how dealing with them around the holidays can be very emotional. Funny and gripping at the same time.
- “Home Alone” (1990)
Back to just having some fun here. The plot is a little preposterous, but it’s pretty hilarious in parts, and includes a heart-warming reunion scene.
- “Fred Claus” (2007)
I wanted to throw one wild card in, and this is it. I actually think this is one of Vince Vaughn’s best films, and it kind of sneaks up on you with its authenticity.
So, there you have it—Richard’s Top Ten Christmas Movies of All Time. Your mileage (and opinions) may vary. There are plenty of other good holiday flicks that I’m sure are favorites of yours.
Let me take this opportunity to wish all of our Jackson County Home readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. Remember the “reason for the season”, and give all your families and friends a hug.
(Richard Lucas may be contacted at [email protected])