(Photo from: RPL Up Front blog)
So now it’s December the festive season can start to begin properly and despite being unable to get out and about this year to see all the lovely London Christmas lights, markets and general seasonal sights due to my accident, I thought I’d bring some Christmas spirit to my blog instead and festive films seemed to be a good place to start. Everyone has their favourite Christmas movie that they watch every year and no doubt each person’s choices will be personal to them, holding memories from years past. Below is my own top 10. I may not get time to watch all ten every year, but they are the ones they never fail to make me smile at this time of year.
1. Home Alone (1990)
It’s not Christmas for me until I’ve watched Home Alone. It was a big part of my childhood and will always bring back special memories. On release it captured the imagination of a generation and I’m sure has continued to do so over the last 24 years. Fun and exciting (didn’t every kid in the 90s who saw it sort of want to be Kevin?!), with brilliant central performances by Macaulay Culkin, Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci and a timeless score by John Williams, no Christmas should be without it.
2. Love Actually (2003)
I know it’s like marmite, but I really like Love Actually and think it’s a perfect festive film. Yes it’s cheesy and sentimental, but it’s also funny, poignant and quite romantic and has something we can all relate to through it’s different strands that all manage to interlink. I love Hugh Grant’s dancing, little Thomas Sangster and the romance between Colin Firth and his Portuguese housekeeper, but the most moving for me is Emma Thompson’s performance and her Joni Mitchell scene gets me every time.
3. Die Hard (1988)
A true classic and a perfect alternative Christmas movie, doesn’t everyone love seeing poor John Maclane battle terrorists at Christmas in just a white vest? Plus it also includes one of my favourite lines from any film – “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho.” Bruce Willis proves to be the ultimate action hero and I always enjoy the blend of action and humour.
4. While You Were Sleeping (1995)
This is a gem of a film that’s perfect for a rewatch this Christmas if you haven’t seen it for a while. Sandra Bullock is wonderful as the woman whose fantasies about a passenger she serves every day at the train station lead to the most unexpected of romances. The ensemble cast is also wonderful and I always find myself smiling by the end.
5. Home Alone 2 (1992)
Not quite as good as the first, but the Home Alone sequel still easily makes this list. Not only is there an incredible toy store, that amazing hotel suite and the brilliant trio of bandits and Kevin again but there’s also the fantastic Tim Curry! I’ll definitely be watching this again in December.
6. The Holiday (2006)
I’ve never been a Jude Law fan so I was surprised when I first watched this film and actually enjoyed it. It’s totally ridiculous but is great romantic escapism at Christmas and Jack Black is lovely in it and it’s always satisfying to see the decent guy get the girl.
7. Serendipity (2001)
I must be a romantic at heart as I’ve always loved Serendipity, the film in which two people who meet in New York at Christmas leave it to fate to see if they are meant to be together. I’m sceptical this would ever happen but like all good festive films, it’s nice to escape to a more hopeful reality where sweet stories like this are possible!
8. Meet Me In St Louis (1944)
The story may take place over a year but the lasting image I have of this film is the destruction of the gorgeous snowmen by little Tootie, as a way of expressing how much she loves her home and doesn’t want to leave. Filled with wonderful songs, I’ll always love this classic Judy Garland film.
9. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
I didn’t read the books as a child so this story was relatively new to me when the film was released and I was surprised how lovely it actually is. Jim Carrey is the perfect Grinch and his relationship with Cindy Lou Who is very sweet to watch.
10. Nativity! (2009)
I wasn’t sure the Nativity films would be my cup of tea, but I found both (I’ve yet to see number 3) to be surprisingly fun. The original is still the best in my opinion. Martin Freeman is super at playing exasperated, playful, funny and heartfelt and the children are excellent. I was even more impressed on learning these films have no scripts, with the cast ad-libbing each scene to achieve the overall plot points.
Special mentions have to go to: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), through which I learnt this classic Dickins tale; Gremlins (1984) as I adore Gizmo and The Lord of The Rings/Hobbit films which, although not festive, have been a key part of Christmas on the years each has been released.
I’d love to hear your choices!