Tuesday, 6 December 2011

What Dan's watching. Holiday edition.

Everyone that knows me knows that I'm a sucker for old movies. There's just something about them that makes me light up. Sure there's no CGI or product placement and the stunts can sometimes be a bit goofy (as can the storylines themselves), but I love them none the less. I'd rather spend two hours watching something with a couple years on it vs some Hollywood blockbuster...

And when it comes to the flicks that I end-up watching during the holiday season I can say the exact same things! I may have seen a few of my favourites 20-25 times over the years, and I might remember some of the corniest of dialogue, but there's just something about them that resignates with me...and has be turn to them again and again.

So, that said, I figured it would be fun to share with you a list of my fave holiday films / shows. And you MUST promise me that you'll check out at least one or two...

10. Singin' in the Rain - 1952
So it's not exactly a Christmas movie....but Singin' in the Rain was a staple during our Christmas season. I swear there were certain years where CBC broadcast this flick 5-6 times during the month of December.

9. Holiday Inn - 1942
A group of musicians gather at a quaint inn during the Christmas season. Lots of song, dance, and goofy jokes....and the introduction of the classic song 'White Christmas.' Bet yah didn't know that the song appeared years before the movie of the same name. In-fact, when the flick was released 'White Christmas' stayed at the top of the music charts for 11 weeks. Imagine still hearing Christmas music in February? Oye.

8. The Bells of St. Mary's - 1944
Another tear-jerker revolving around a priest, a nun, a bunch of school kids, a school that faces closure and a Christmas pagent. I haven't figured out why, but as a kid, this was the VHS tape that my sister would gravitate towards whenever she wanted to watch a movie...it didn't matter if it was the middle of August or not....

7. It Happened on Fifth Avenue - 1947
Until this past weekend, I'd heard of, but never seen this flick. The storyline is ridiculous....but still, oddly appealing and super sweet. Two homeless men - a hobo and a WWII vet who's having trouble finding decent housing movie into the NYC mansion of the world's second richest man who's wintering in Vermont. All without him knowing. Before you know it the vet has fallen in love with the home owner's daughter who's moved in with them and is posing as a poor farm girl from Wisconson. The storyline would never fly today (or if it did it would have something other than a 'G' rating...) but it was oddly appealing and chances are that I'll watch it again before the New Year.

6. Christmas in Conneticut - 1945
Barbara Stanwyck plays a magazine columinst who seems to have it all. She's the perfect hostness, an amazing cook, has a loving husband and lives with him and her perfect baby on their perfect Conneticut farm (what is it about holiday movies taking place in the Eastern United Sates? How 'bout a flick taking place in Minnesota or South Dakota...hmmm). Anways, the magazine for which Stanwyck works for offers up as a hostess to a WWII GI and his family. The thing is, in reality Stanwyck lives in a simple NYC apartment, is unmarried, can't cook to save her life and simply writes the columns for the money with her friend providing the recipes. I love this flick! It's one of those rare movies where tears are streaming down your face from the first couple of minutes...even before the real hilarity ensues.

5. The Bishop's Wife - 1947
The Bishop's Wife movie poster
Dreamy Cary Grant as an angel? Bang. Sold. Grant arrives from heaven following prayers from a newly appointed bishop who's trying to build a new cathedral. So entrenched in trying to build the new structure, the bishop doesn't realize that his marriage to be amazing Loretta Young is crumbling around him. While Grant comes along to save the marriage and teach the bishop a couple lessons, you almost wish that the suave Grant ran off with Young.

4. White Christmas - 1954
Do I really need to tell you about how much I love the film White Christmas? Along with my top three choices, it ranks up there as one of the top watched holiday films each holiday season. Perhaps by coincidence, this flick has a VERY similar story-line to Holiday Inn. Song. Dance. Christmas in the country. An inn. The classic song. Throw in Rosemary Clooney and you've got the biggest movie of 1954.

3. Miracle on 34th Street - 1947
Skip the remake with that creepy little girl. No seriously. That little girl terrifies me. The original is where it's at. I've never been big on Santa Claus (gasp, shudder) but I do love this flick. This movie has it all....the little girl that doubts the existence of Santa, her gorgeous workaholic single mother, the dreamy guy that sweeps in and makes them believe in love, magic and Santa again. Anytime outside of the holiday season I cringe at this movie, but come December 1st this flick melts me....

2. Gone With The Wind - 1939
Scarlett! Scarlett! Ms. Scarlett! At 3 hours, 44 minutes you almost need to pencil in a Friday night to watch Gone With The Wind. Like Singin' in the Rain, this isn't a Christmas or holiday film per say, but for as long as I've remembered it's shown up on TV during the holiday season. That and last year I forced myself to read all four gazillion pages of the book. Tara. Clark Gable. Vivien Leigh. The South. Yankees. Dresses made out of drapes....you name it, this flick has it. That and it gave us scenes like this - 

If you haven't seen this flick it's time. 10 Academy Awards. Still the highest grossing film of all time (after adjustments for inflation). What are you waiting for? Watch it!

1. It's A Wonderful Life - 1946

What can I say? I obviously saved the best for last! According to my sources (Wikipedia) this flick was originally a box-office bomb. However, after falling into the public domain this movie quickly ended up being shown on every channel, at least once a week during the holiday season for the past gazillion years. Clarence the angel comes along to show the always amazing Jimmy Stewart what his life would have been like if he'd never been born. And as they say, the rest is history.

Dig out the tissue -

So there you have it, a rundown of my favourite films to watch during the holiday season. while there are always new and different holiday flicks to uncover and watch, these are the ones that I'll always turn back to...

I've shared my favourites; now it's your turn!


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