Dash 12s…The Best “Traditional” Christmas Movies

   Hey kids! It’s Dash Jordan, and it’s about time I’ve done another Top List, don’t you think? I’m still accepting requests for my next review. But for now, I’ll give you guys yet another treat to tide you over. Man, it was so hard to put most of these movie in order. I love ’em all! All of the movies I’m about to mention are all classics in their own right. Just remember, if you disagree or if you think I’ve missed your favorite Christmas movie, I’d like to know what you think.

   Shut up, Sansa! Just shut the hell up! Know your role…and shut your mouth! Of all the men, women and children of Westeros who have died, why are YOU still breathing? I will find the finest Valyrian steel and stab you in the friggin’ nose! You suck! Now go stand in the corner!

   Thank you. Now, as the title suggests, I’ll only be talking about the more “Traditional” Christmas movies. The ones that aren’t just genre films that happen to take place on Christmas. So, while I would realistically place films like ‘Batman Returns’, ‘Die Hard’ & Gremlins on my list, not today. Only films that have a genuine Christmas feel to it and were meant only for the Holiday season. Now, let’s get started!

#12-The Santa Clause

   Just ignore the sequels, they are horrible. I hated them so much that I’ve pretty much forgotten how good the original was. Once I’ve actually sat down and watched it again, it was great to see how much it still holds up. This was a very cute movie and remember I would always sit and watch it whenever it came on The Disney Channel around Christmas. Some people like Tim Allen, some don’t. Along with ‘Home Improvement’ and the ‘Toy Story’ movies, this is Tim Allen at his best.

   Looking back, you could say that this movie is a bit mean-spirited at times. The original Santa Claus falling to his death, Allen’s character left with the responsibility that he didn’t want and going through his sometimes horrific transformations and getting arrested? Jesus! Yet, the movie still remains to be funny and sweet. Speaking of transformations, I’ve always found them to be the best part. I not just talking about the make-up effects either. You slowly get to see Tim Allen becoming the Jolly One and still manage to be hilarious. You also have the child actors(some of which playing the elves) who were also enjoyable and I’ve always loved the look of the North Pole. For better or worse, you can understand why they ended up making this into a trilogy as it was both a critical and financial hit upon its release. I can’t stress this enough, forget the other two films and stick with this one.

#11-Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer

I know, there have been different versions of this story. But, this 1964 Rankin/Bass production is arguably the best. Say what you will about the very dated and choppy stop-motion, but I like to think that this form of animation is what truly gives this special its charm.

   By far the simplest of Christmas stories, everyone knows about Rudolph. Taking the premise of the original Christmas jingle, and completely running with it. What we ended up with is a special about acceptance, which is great for any child suffering from bullying. Just so you know, ‘Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer’ isn’t this only song featured, as there are plenty of other memorable songs as well. This special and its animation would go on to be celebrated, parodied and homaged for years to come, and it’s no wonder why…When they said this Reindeer would go down in history, they weren’t lying.

#10-Ernest Saves Christmas

   Now, we go from the remembered to the stupid. Allow me to introduce you all to the late, great Jim Varney and his most iconic character, Ernest P. Worrell.

   Back in the 80s and 90s, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing at least one Ernest movie. Let’s face it, they weren’t the best of films. But, some people do enjoy Ernest or have enjoyed him at one point. Personally, I find ‘Ernest Saves Christmas’ to be the best one in the series. The iconic moron has such a kind heart, that you can’t help but enjoy him. It’s just a dumb comedy, but still gives you a good feeling in the end. Not to mention, one of the best portrayals of Santa Claus ever.

#9-This Christmas

   Save your Chris Brown jokes for later, please? While ‘This Christmas’ may be the same Christmas movie cliches we’ve all seen before but with black actors, the actors were all great actors and enjoyable. Say what you will about Chris Brown(trust me, I have!), but he is a talented R&B singer and I do enjoy is cover of the original Donny Hathaway song the name is based on.

   Trust me, this is a pretty funny comedy with very relatable family issues, and the acting chops of Idris Elba, Loretta Devine, Delroy Lindo, and Regina King. This movie is worth it just for the acting and the music. Ike Turner Jr. approves this message!

#8-It’s A Wonderful Life

   Now we have a real classic. One of the greatest actors who ever lived, James Stewart, has the most infectious personality…ever. Stewart gives one of his best performances, next to ‘Vertigo’. We follow Stewart’s character, George Bailey; a kind man who has brought so much happiness to others. After one bad moment, however, he begins to consider taking his own life. Then, he is greeted by his guardian angel who shows him what the world would be like if he was never born…Great Scott, that’s heavy!

   Unlike some other movies in this list, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ isn’t known for being a comedy, or for any special effects and stuff like that. This movie is primarily known for its heart. Don’t be turned off by the fact that it’s a black & white film, this remains to be a very special piece of cinematic history for good reason. Over the years, there have been countless spoofs and TV episodes that pay tribute or parody the film’s premise; From ‘Chappelle’s Show’ to ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. But, this is where it all began. It’s a Wonderful film!

#7-Elf

   Speaking of infectious personalities, who could honestly hate Will Ferrell? The film is about Buddy; a man who was raised by Santa Claus and his elves, and travels to New York City to find his biological father and spread the Christmas cheer wherever he goes. With a premise like that, this movie could’ve ended in failure. Fortunately, the film was a smash hit with critics and audiences, spawning a Broadway musical and an animated TV musical…that Will Ferrell did not return for.

   Which is a shame because this is Will Ferrell’s best film next to the ‘Anchorman’ movies. Along with Ferrell’s comedic stylings, we have great acting from James Caan, Ed Asner and Zooey Deschanel, hilarious cameos from Artie Lange, Peter Billingsley and the effortlessly awesome Peter Dinklage. Hell, this movie even has a talking snowman who’s an obvious nod to Sam The Snowman from the Rankin/Bass ‘Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer’. What started out as a silly little Christmas comedy, has since become a worthy Holiday Classic.

#6-Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas

   Oh, you’re a smart one…Dr. Seuss. A Christmas classic that kicks me right in the caboose.

   An animated special with a beautiful message…and an iconic villain with some serious baggage.

   Just sit back and enjoy this masterpiece with a nice glass of Peppermint Smirnoff…who could resist Horror legend, Boris Karloff?

   There should be no reason why you haven’t seen this yet, boys and girls. Just stay the hell away from the Jim Carrey version, that one will make you hurl!

   Unlike that Ron Howard-directed travesty, the original is like a beautiful moving tapestry.

   There’s no other way around it, ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ is so damn good…it warms our hearts and helps them grow two sizes, like any classic should.

   You’ll be bouncing with joy as you can’t wait to cuddle with the Missus…while you watch this special and learn of the true meaning of Christmas.

    Thank you! I’ll admit, all that rhyming was so hard to do. Speaking of “hard”, have you seen Cindy Lou Who?!?

 

 

 

#5-National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

   Much like ‘This Christmas’, this 1989 sequel to the original ‘Vacation’ shows all of the fun and stress of families during the Holiday season. Unlike ‘This Christmas’, however, this movie completely runs with the comedy.

   This movie is just as funny as the original. Watching Chevy Chase going berserk and driving his family crazy as he tries to have the perfect family Christmas, is a site to behold. Clark Griswald is one delusional human being and we love him for it!

#4-Home Alone

AND…Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

   We got ourselves a tie, kids! I know, some of you are probably upset and/or confused as to why I consider the 1992 sequel just as good as the 1990 original. Look, I know it’s pretty much the same movie in a different location. But, it was still fun. Seriously, Macaulay Culkin just has the worst luck with parents.

   I’m not gonna go into too much details since they pretty much are the same movie. To be fair, ‘Home Alone’ is slightly better than the sequel. It’s a simpler story with genuine laughs but still has the sincere heart of a Christmas movie.

   ‘Home Alone 2: Lost In New York’ on the other hand…same basic principles but much more commercialized, due to the original film’s success. Except, the slapstick is more cartoonish, the traps are more elaborate and Kevin McCallister is stuck in New York City during Christmas…also Tim Curry.

   By the way, if you have never been in New York during the Christmas season…you are seriously missing out, because that city looks incredible!

  Of course, you have the insane traffic, the crime, high taxes…actually, you’d be better off watching both ‘Home Alone’ movies and stay at home where it’s safe.

#3-A Charlie Brown Christmas

   My God, man…how can anyone hate The Peanuts? Charles M. Schulz’s famous comic strip was at the height of its popularity, so it only made sense to make a Christmas special. What could’ve been a cash-grab, because the stuff of legends. I bet you can’t to this music without smiling…

   It’s the friggin’ Peanuts! Truly one of the most timeless franchises in history. When it came to holiday specials, The Peanuts had some of the best. But, it was their Christmas special that was everyone, their parents and grandparents will always remember.

#2-A Christmas Story

   Oh yeah…how can you even think of Christmas without talking about ‘A Christmas Story’? Back in the day, children would go to sleep in their beds or waiting to hear the footsteps of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Nowadays, kids are staying up all night watching an all-day marathon of this movie! Try and fall asleep when this movie is playing! I triple-dog dare you!

   Would you believe that this movie was not a major success upon its release back in 1983? The movie was a sleeper hit, at best. Over the years, however, more and more people began to realize just how hilarious ‘A Christmas Story’ really is. People could have a regular conversation, and then out of nowhere, someone will start quoting this movie. Don’t know how to feel about the musical, and I would like to continue avoiding the unnecessary 2012 sequel like it was a drunk, horny, underaged Butterface on Prom Weekend.

butterface

Oh…Fudge! Anyway, there’s only one movie that’s called ‘A Christmas Story’ around here. Some of the most memorable characters and quotable lines in film history. How can you go wrong?

   So kids…here we go again! Yet another obvious Christmas classic that should be #1, isn’t #1! What could I possibly find better than ‘A Christmas Story’? Well, here we go. Just promise not to kill me. My absolute favorite “Traditional” Christmas movie…

#1-The Muppet Christmas Carol

   If you guys don’t hate me yet, you probably do now. Also, I bet you were wondering…was I going to put ‘A Christmas Carol’ on my list, and which version? I do love the classic Charles Dickens tale and I do think that almost every version is good in their own right…almost every version.

   Seriously, just keep Jim Carrey away from Christmas movies! Besides, Disney already has the definitive version of ‘A Christmas Carol’, in my opinion. Not to mention that this 1992 adaptation stayed fairly close to the source material with only a few minor differences; the film also had great effects, music and acting. Especially, from Sir Michael Caine; who to this day, is still my favorite version of Ebenezer Scrooge.

   Everyone has their favorite version of this story and it’s most likely their first. Well, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ was my introduction to ‘A Christmas Carol’ and it made me want to watch the other versions and even look up the original book. Yet, I always find myself watching this rendition over and over again. Of course, there is another reason why I always watch this movie. It’s nothing really major, it’s only THE FRIGGIN’ MUPPETS!!!

   I don’t care how old you are or how cold your heart is, no one can hate a Jim Henson production. Unfortunately, the legendary Jim Henson passed away two years before this movie was finished and was directed by his son, Brian. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ was also dedicated to the original creator as well as fellow puppeteer, Richard Hunt.

R.I.P. Jim Henson(1936-1990) & Richard Hunt(1951-1992)

Not willing to end this article on a sad note, Let me just say that those two men couldn’t be any prouder with how ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ turned out. Work from The Jim Henson Company has always remained timeless to me…but in this case, The Muppets have never looked better. Even with some of the darker moments from the story, the creators knew how to lighten the mood with that old familiar Muppet brand of comedy without it overstaying its welcome or dumbing it down too much for the really young children. This is one fantastic Muppet movie and a superb retelling of ‘A Christmas Carol’. If you’re looking for more “traditional” Christmas movies, any of the films on this list will do fine. Especially, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’.

So, that was my Top 12 “Traditional” Christmas Movies. Who knows… hopefully by next year, I can do another handful of Christmas classics that…break tradition. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this list and I gave you some good recommendations. Once again, Happy Holidays everyone! Well, it’s time to rack up the scores once again, it’s Request Time! So, what movie will I be reviewing next?

I should’ve friggin’ known! Well, until next time…Gotta Dash!

Written by Shane Moose

Videos & Photos:

The Santa Clause(owned by Walt Disney Pictures, Buena Vista Pictures, Hollywood Pictures & Outlaw Productions)

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer(owned by Rankin/Bass Productions)

Ernest Saves Christmas(owned by Buena Vista Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners III & Emshell Producers)

This Christmas(owned by Screen Gems & Rainforest Films)

It’s A Wonderful Life(owned by RKO Radio Pictures & Liberty Films)

Elf(owned by New Line Cinema & Guy Walks Into A Bar Productions)

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas(owned by Warner Bros. Television Distribution, MGM Television & The Cat In The Hat Productions)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation(owned by Warner Bros. & John Hughes Entertainment)

Home Alone(owned by 20th Century Fox & John Hughes Entertainment)

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York(owned by 20th Century Fox & John Hughes Entertainment)

A Charlie Brown Christmas(owned by United Feature Syndicate, Bill Melendez Productions & Lee Mendelson Film Productions)

A Christmas Story(owned by MGM & MGM/UA Entertainment Co.)

The Muppet Christmas Carol(owned by Walt Disney Pictures, Jim Henson Productions & Buena Vista Pictures)

Game Of Thrones(owned by HBO, Television 360, Grok! Television, Generator Entertainment & Bighead Littlehead)

The Grinch(owned by Universal Pictures & Imagine Entertainment)

Star Trek: The Next Generation(owned by Paramount Domestic Television & CBS Television Distribution)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol(owned by Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures & ImageMovers Digital)

Miracle On 34th Street(1947 Film)(owned by 20th Century Fox)

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