The holidays mean it’s movie time!


Life Moments column
By Christine Bryant

I love “The Golden Girls” – each one of them: Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia.
Not only was the show way ahead of its time, it’s timeless.

So imagine my disappointment when the other night I saw a message scrolling across the bottom of my TV as I lay there watching my favorite four ladies on the Hallmark Channel.

“The Girls will be taking a holiday vacation during Countdown to Christmas, but don’t worry, they’ll be back home on Hallmark Channel this January!”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Countdown to Christmas, it’s holiday movies all day and all night, now through December.

As I write this, I’m watching, “A Wish for Christmas,” which stars Lacey Chabert, which I must say has found a nice home for herself on Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel since her days on “Party of Five.”

Having said that, when 11 p.m. rolls around, “Thank You for Being a Friend” is all you’ll hear in my household.

Since it appears I have no choice but to put my love for “The Golden Girls” aside for a couple months, and in the spirit of the holidays, I’ve decided to embrace my love for the best this season has to offer.

I’ll be honest. I’ve never seen some of the classics – “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas,” or even “Miracle on 34th Street.” Crazy, right? I think this year will be the year when I sit down and finally watch those. In the meantime, however, here are five of my holiday film favorites that I recommend as must-sees this holiday season, because nothing says Christmas in October and November than the flood of holiday movies that hit the small and big screens almost as early as the Christmas aisles appear in stores.

“Bad Santa”: If you’re anti-Christmas movies, this is the movie for you. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, crude character who poses as a mall Santa to steal money, jewels and anything else valuable he can get his hands on. Of course, it is a holiday movie, so a troubled kid enters the picture that he naturally befriends, and you see this bad Santa start to soften as the movie progresses. It’s dark and cynical, but has enough feel good moments to warm the heart of even the biggest Grinch.

“Elf”: It’s hard not to adore Will Ferrell in anything, but when it comes to adoring him during the holidays, “Elf” is my favorite. This movie tells the story of a boy raised in the North Pole who travels to New York to find his birth father. Ferrell channels his inner child, which he does so well, and combines holiday cliches with charming moments of sincerity to create a perfect movie that reminds us to step back from the overwhelming grind of everyday life and enjoy what really matters.

“Home Alone”: For the moment, let’s forget about the sequel, let alone “Home Alone 3” and most definitely “4.” I’m really not sure how parents forget their kid at home when embarking on a Christmas vacation, but when it comes to a lot of holiday movies, plot lines don’t necessarily have to be realistic. Case in point – all those Hallmark movies. Remember those days when Macaulay Culkin was cute as a button? His efforts at matching wits with two burglars played effortlessly by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are comic genius, not to mention the tremendous soundtrack this movie provides.

“The Holiday”: This one is my guilty pleasures. It’s one of those movies for me where if I see it pop up on my screen, I watch it every time. A star studded movie, this – just barely – beats out “Love Actually” as my go-to romantic holiday flick. Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz switch houses for the holidays and end up finding love unexpectedly. Well, unexpectedly to them, but expectedly to us because a romantic holiday movie isn’t one without a happy ending. I must admit, I love just about everything Jack Black is in, excluding “Nacho Libre,” but his chemistry with Kate Winslet’s character is sweet and sincere. If you need a feel good movie, even year-round, this one will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy.

“Christmas Vacation”: This is more of a nostalgic choice for me. I remember as a teen listening to my dad’s laughter as he rewatched this movie year after year, hysterically cracking up at the scenes where Clark Griswold attempts to light up the entire front of his house, causing a city-wide power outage, or the scene where Clark goes on a tirade against his boss and immediately needs some Tylenol. Maybe it’s the great one-liners we get from this movie, or because we all see a little bit of Clark Griswold in our fathers, why I love this one so much. Either way, this is a must-see this Christmas – and every holiday season.

Christine Bryant is a Messenger staff writer and columnist.


  1. I agree, we need to put Gunsmoke and Bonanza on a 2-month cruise and welcome the above shows of the season.
    Thanks for the reminder.


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