Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Top Ten Favorite Holiday Films

Song Stuck on the Brain: Lilly of the Valley. An old co-worker sent picture of her new baby, Lilly. It was only a matter of time before someone started singing it.

I finally got all my Christmas decorations up and I'm officially into my holiday movie watching marathon. I love holiday movies. I DVR a gajillion to watch when I have time. Some of them, sadly, have been just too lame to watch all the way through. However, there are a few I have to watch every year. So in an effort to save you some pain and lost TV time, I'm offering you my Top Ten Favorite Holiday Movies.

White Christmas with Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye is my all time favorite. I watch at least once every year. Usually while I'm wrapping gifts, but I don't limit myself to that. I usually end up watching it on non-holiday months as well.
After leaving the Army after W.W.II, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, is the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General.

Holiday Inn is an oldie but goodie too. How can you not love a movie that pits Bing's voice against Fred's feet?
Lovely Linda Mason has crooner Jim Hardy head over heels, but suave stepper Ted Hanover wants her for his new dance partner after femme fatale Lila Dixon gives him the brush. Jim's supper club, Holiday Inn, is the setting for the chase by Hanover and manager Danny Reed. The music's the thing.

Fallen Angel is a newbie for me. I saw it for the first time last year and I was hooked. Gary Sinise is one of my favorite actors and he doesn't disappoint in this one.
When his father dies, Terry (Garry Sinese) returns to the house where he grew up, planning to stay only long enough to clean and settle the estate. Yet something indescribable keeps him there longer than expected. Soon, he is reunited with memories and people from his past and his life is changed forever.

The Santa Clause & The Santa Clause 2 are new classics. Tim Allen is hysterical and heartwarming at the same time. It doesn't hurt that the fabulous David Krumholtz.
When a man inadvertantly kills Santa on Christmas Eve, he finds himself magically recruited to take his place.
Scott Calvin has been a humble Santa Claus for nearly ten years, but it might come to an end if he doesn't find a Mrs. Claus.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey is one of the best versions out there. I was leary at first, but Jim pulled it off beautifully.
Based on the book by the famous Dr. Seuss. Inside a snowflake exists the magical land of Whoville. In Whoville, live the Who's, an almost mutated sort of munchkinlike people. All the Who's love Christmas, yet just outside of their beloved Whoville lives the Grinch. The Grinch is a nasty creature that hates Christmas, and plots to steal it away from the Whos which he equally abhors. Yet a small child, Cindy Lou Who, decides to try befriend the Grinch.

While You Were Sleeping. The best romantic comedy ever in my opinion, plus it's a holiday film. Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman were an inspired choice.
Lucy's life consists of constant lonliness that is until she saves Peter's life. Now she is a part of his family, and with a strong heart and fate on her side, others begin to realize what a terrific person she is, especially Jack, Peter's brother. An extraordinarily true-to-life sequence of events begin to take place as Lucy and Jack become closer and learn more about each other and themselves than one would ever expect from such coincidental, yet believable events.

Once Upon a Christmas & Twice Upon a Christmas starring John Dye and Kathy Ireland are borderline Cheesy but still a couple of my favorites.
A sweet and entertaining film of faith and love. Faith that there is good in people's hearts that sometimes gets lost on the road that we call life. Santa's youngest daughter won't let Christmas be canceled and turned over to her jaded older sister. Peace and love will prevail and kids will learn the meaning of trust--real trust. An excellent film for the whole family to watch. Kathy Ireland is very sincere in her portrayal of Kristin Klaus. John Dye is both vulnerable and hard to reach as Bill Morgan. Mary Donnelley Haskell is incorrigible as Rudolpha and a delight to watch in her wicked machinations. Once again we are reminded of the healing power of love.
Santa's first born daughter, Rudolfa is secretly selling pieces of the North Pole, and eventually take over where she attempts to ruin Christmas, and replace Sanat's workshop with brand new casino. But Santa's lost daughter Kristin returns to the North Pole with her two children who are desperate to save Christmas, and rebuild the shattered villiage.

Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus & it's sequel Meet The Santas stars Steve Guttenberg and Crystal Bernard. I love these. Steve has got to be one of the best casts for a santa yet. He's perfect.
Santa Claus is thinking about retiring but is concerned that he will not be able to turn the reigns over to his son Nick who has not yet settled down and found a wife. Ernest runs the day-to-day operations at the North Pole, and has selected 3 perfect candidates for Nick, one must surely be the next Mrs. Claus. But when Ernest and Nick go to meet the ladies, everything goes haywire as Nick unexpectedly falls in love with Beth, a hard working single mother who lost the Christmas spirit a long time ago.
“Meet the Santas” is the sequel to Hallmark Channel’s highest-rated original movie ever – “Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus” – and follows Nicholas (Nick) Beth and Beth’s nine-year-old son Jake as Nick and Beth prepare their long-awaited Christmas Eve nuptials and become a real family. After the wedding, they plan on taking over the “family business” from Nicholas’ dad, Santa Claus, who has officially retired.
Sounds simple enough, but Beth’s prim and proper society mother, Julia has turned the wedding into her own major production and Nicholas has his work cut out for him trying to win her frosty personality over.

What I Did For Love is a new Hallmark movie not available on DVD yet. Its got a great cast led by Jeremy London and it's definitely a new fav.
"There is much on which to deliberate for rising star attorney James White and his girlfriend, Dr. Sadie Ryder, as they prepare for a Christmas getaway from Los Angeles to the Ryder family ranch. James wants to marry Sadie, but between her hard-to-please father, her nosy aunt, and her jealous ex-boyfriend, it may just be the toughest case he’s ever faced.
Record setting billings and head-turning courtroom victories have young attorney James White on the brink of moving from associate to full partner. When he follows the good news of his impending partner status by asking his girlfriend Sadie to marry him, she happily agrees, but there’s one small problem: in the small ranch town where she was raised, tradition says it’s appropriate for a beau to get a father’s approval before marrying his only daughter. It is soon clear that this process may not go as smoothly as Sadie planned when the couple arrives in her hometown, only to have James crash his car while avoiding an unexpected horse and rider in the road. Combined with James’ difficulty adjusting to ranch lifestyle, it all adds up to one bad first impression. Things don’t get easier from there, as James must contend not only with Sadie’s hard-to-please father, but also her nosy aunt and jealous ex-boyfriend. “What I Did For Love” stars Jeremy London as James White, Dorie Barton as Dr. Sadie Ryder, James Gammon as Karl Ryder and Emmy® Award-winner Sally Struthers as Aunt Trudy.

Another brand new fav is Lifetime's original movie A Christmas Wedding, starring Eric Mabius, Sarah Paulson and Dean Cain.

Love birds Emily and Ben are just a month away from their Christmas Day wedding, which will also be the second anniversary of the day they met. But when Emily (who's been dreaming of the picture-perfect wedding her whole life) gets called away for work, it's all on Ben to handle the loose ends before the big day. With the bulk of the wedding planned, what could go wrong? Well, with Ben in charge — a lot! Misunderstandings and problems pop up left and right, and procrastinator Ben gets sucked into the world of bridal shows and seating charts. As perfectionist Emily struggles to keep tabs from afar, she sees her perfect day spinning out of control!

Honorable Mention: The Christmas Card
It's cheesy, the dialogue is a little stilted at times, but the story was still heartwarming and I enjoyed the cast a great deal.

A career soldier receives an anonymous handmade holiday greeting card while serving overseas that ultimately results in his finding his soul mate back in the States. Cody Cullen, an Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan, receives a handmade Christmas card from a stranger back in the States and is deeply touched by the warmth of the personalized greeting within. While on leave back home, he travels to Nevada City, California, the picturesque town from which the card was sent. Once there, Cody meets and falls in love with beautiful Faith Spelman, who sent the card, and quickly becomes a cherished member of the Spelman family. Yet romance for Cody and Faith seems out of the question, because she has a boyfriend and is about to become engaged. “The Christmas Card” stars Edward Asner as Luke Spelman, John Newton as Cody Cullen, Alice Evans as Faith Spelman, Lois Nettleton as Rosie Spelman, Peter Jason as Uncle Richard and Ben Weber as Paul. “The Christmas Card” is an RHI Entertainment Presentation of an Alpine Medien Production in association with Larry Levinson Productions. Robert Halmi Jr. and Larry Levinson are executive producers. Stephen Bridgewater directed from a screenplay by Joany Kane.

Most of these will play again before Christmas, so start recording and have a great Christmas!


Amy R. said...

Okay, I have to second the While You Were Sleeping Post...but, I have to ad "One Magic Christmas" that was my favorite growing up and You've Got Mail and Serendipity...those are my additions! ;o)

April Erwin said...

I love You've Got Mail, but it hadn't really stood out to me as a holiday film, but you're right. That is a good holiday one. I'll have to watch it again. Same for Serendipity. I can't remember whether I've seen One Magic Christmas. I'll have to look for it. What was it about?

Amy R. said...

Gideon (Harry Dean Stanton), a Christmas angel, is sent, by Santa, to help Ginny Grainger (Mary Steenburgen). Ginny is a cynic, and she hates Christmas. She and her family (husband, Jack and two kids, Caleb and Abbie) have fallen on hard times, making it even harder to believe in anything that can't be seen. With help from Abbie (Elisabeth Harnois), and a trip to see Santa Claus himself, can Gideon find a way to make Ginny believe again?

It's pretty cute. And, I like that at Santa's workshop, the "elves" are people who have died. The little girl recognizes a few of them.

April Erwin said...

Oh yeah. Acutally I tried to watch that one the other night and I gave up on it about 40 minutes in. Harry Dean Stanton kind of struck me as a creepy angel and the story up to that point had been a little lame. I must not have given it enough time. Maybe I'll try and watch it again. Probably the reason Harry Dean Stanton struck me as creepy, is because I'm used to seeing him play Roman on HBO's Big Love. Not a nice character.
Oh, and what's with God having a French accent at the begining of the movie? Gid-ee-awn, Gid-ee-awn... :)

April Erwin said...

Wait, sorry, you said it was Santa that sends him, not God. Okay. So is Santa French?

Amy R. said...

Yeah, you are right...he is kind of a creepy angel. I like the rest of the story though! ;o)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the list my wife and kids favorite is Once Upon a Christmas & Twice Upon a Christmas we love to watch it every year...i hope the 3 movie will be produced soon...do you know any thing about it?...Joe

April Erwin said...

You're quite welcome Joe. I haven't heard anything about a 3rd movie in the once/twice upon a Christmas series. I IMDb'd both Kathy Ireland & John Dye to see if anything was listed as in production, but I didn't see any listed. That would be really awesome though. I hope they do make a third. Let me know if you see anything. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with Joe and April. My family and I woul love to see a 3rd, Upon a Christmas with Kathy Ireland abd John Dye.