I like Christmas movies. At least I like the idea of Christmas movies. Some of the ones made for TV are bona fide holiday turkeys though. The two Steve Guttenberg did come to mind. Liked him in “Cocoon” and at least the first dozen or so of the Police Academy movies were amusing, but he can’t “Ho, Ho, Ho,” to save his life and in my opinion, “Single Santa Seeking Mrs. Claus” ought to be viewed with cranberry sauce and giblet gravy.
I can’t think of a remake I like better than the original either. “Miracle on 34th Street” with Natalie Wood, is a classic–the newer one, not so much.
Then there are the movies that aren’t really Christmas movies but are shown at this time of year because they’re set at Christmas, or they give you a warm fuzzy feeling, or for reasons unbeknownst to me. “Die Hard” isn’t really a Christmas movie, for example. Neither is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” In both cases, the movie’s climax happens around the Christmas holiday though. “Going My Way,” and “Bells of Saint Mary’s” get shown this time of year (although I didn’t notice them this year), but I don’t think of them as Christmas movies. My wife likes “The Bishop’s Wife” which I’d argue isn’t really a Christmas movie either, but again it does get played every year in late December.
If they showed the movie “Scrooge” staring Alistair Sim in the title role this year, I missed it. And, if they didn’t show it, how can it officially be Christmas? Nor do I think it could really be Christmas if they stopped doing the marathon of “A Christmas Story.” Tim Allen has remade his career playing Santa. But if I can make a suggestion to cable TV executives here, next year if we have a marathon of Tim Allen’s Santa movies, can we have all three of them, not just the last one? Please?
I saw ”White Christmas” on Christmas Day. It has a pretty thin plot. I mean the song is the plot. Plus it’s only one-twelfth of another movie, “Holiday Inn.”
A lot of the Christmas movies I’ve mentioned are old black-and-white chestnuts (roasting on an open fire, sorry, but I love that song too), and I like those in black and white. I like movies shot in color too, but colorized movies are usually awful. When they first came out I had a TV set with manual color controls and if they played the colorized versions on TV, I’d reset the set to show them in black and white. Fortunately, most colorized movies get shown on TV these days in black and white. The colorized versions have largely been abandoned.
Before I go, I’d like to recommend a relatively new Christmas movie to you, one from the 21st century, and in color. It’s the British movie. “Love Actually.” It’s an amalgam of love stories, most of which revolve around Christmas. It’s very well done. I don’t know if Bill Nighy is a big star in Britain, but he’s done some good work and to my way of thinking is under-rated in the USA. I only saw “Love Actually” listed three times this holiday season though. The original has a little nudity in it, and it has been edited for TV to remove the nude scenes. I don’t think the editing hurts the integrity of this movie.
Maybe I’ll regret it if my wish comes true, but I do wish they’d play “Love Actually” a whole lot more than they do during the Christmas holiday season.