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Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Favorite Holiday Movies

I'm waaay behind on all things Christmas this year so I'm trying to get in the spirit with the help of my trusty DVR. Here are some of my favorite movies for the season. Warning! They're not going to be to everyone's taste. And bear in mind, there are hundreds of choices out there. These are my particular favorites.

1. Last Holiday. Queen Latifah and LL Cool J (my kids will tell you how much I love this guy!) star in the story of a woman who's always played by the rules, facing a fatal illness, who decides to spend her last Christmas going out with a bang. 

2. Bridget Jones's Diary. Yes, it's a Christmas movie. Bridget and Mark run into each other at the Christmas Curry Buffet. Mark's wearing the horrible reindeer sweater. That kiss in the end in the snow? Come on! It's a Christmas movie. At least, in my book, it's a Christmas movie. Pffft! For anyone who's lived under a rock and has never seen or heard of Bridget, this is the story of Bridget Jones and her rocky love life, her see-saw weight, and her dysfunctional parents, told, in part, through her diary entries.

3. The Ref. Oh my God, I could watch this a thousand times and still laugh at the same lines. "Your husband ain't dead, lady. He's hidin'." "If you don't mind, the corpse still has the floor." "Slipper socks. Medium!" When cat burglar Denis Leary bungles a job in the booby-trapped home of an eccentric millionaire, he takes a couple hostage to avoid the Christmas Eve lockdown set up by the town police to find him. Unfortunately, he's chosen the most dysfunctional family in the state of Connecticut. Brilliant performances by Leary, Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, Glynis Johns, Christine Baranski, and J.K. Simmons.

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol. No, I'm not the least bit embarrassed (though my kids are). There are tons of versions of this Dickens classic and I'll watch them all, including the Lifetime version, Ebbie, starring Susan Lucci as a female Ebeneezer, but the Muppets bring a special whimsy, and Michael Caine is so good at being bad.

5. The Holiday. Two broken-hearted women on opposite sides of the world, played by Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, switch homes to avoid spending Christmas alone with their misery. After some amusing mishaps, both find their "gumption" with the help of the delectable Jude Law, a charming Jack Black, and a timeless Eli Wallach.

6. Bad Santa. Sure, it's in very poor taste. But it's funny. Billy Bob Thornton is a thief who becomes a mall Santa every year, cashes out on Christmas Eve by robbing all the stores, blows through the cash on booze and drugs over the next eleven months and starts again the following November. Along for the ride is his trusty accomplice elf, Tony Cox. 

7. While You Were Sleeping. Lonely Chicago El fare collector Lucy has a secret crush on commuter Peter. When he's mugged on Christmas Eve and tossed on the rails, she jumps on the tracks to save his life. At the hospital where Peter lies in a coma, Lucy is immediately swallowed up into his family where they think she's his new fiancee. All except Peter's brother, Jack, who not only has suspicions about Lucy, he has feeling for her, as well.

8. Christmas Vacation. Yeah, we're the Griswolds. Poor Clark wants a good old fashioned family Christmas but, as always, goes overboard and disaster ensues, along with hilarity.

9. Trading Places. Louis Winthorpe III and Billy Ray Valentine (Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy) are the pawns when the Duke brothers decide to test a theory that environment has more to do with a person's life choices than upbringing. Brilliant satire with some uproarious moments.

10. Love, Actually. Still the best for me. So many love stories--some sad, some happy, but all poignant--all told around Christmas. Each one melts my heart to a puddle of mulled cider. 

What are your holiday movies to get you in the spirit?



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