Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Great Christmas Movies

It's Christmas time! And I looooove watching Christmas movies! So I thought I would share some of my recommendations. :)

One of my favorite movies of all time. It's a Wonderful Life goes way back with my family and is a favorite that makes me cry every single stinkin' time! :) For those of you who have not yet seen this classic, it is about a man named George Bailey. George has spent his entire life giving of himself to the people of Bedford Falls and to the business his father began. He has always longed to travel but never had the opportunity. All that prevents him from doing so is George's modest building and loan company, which was founded by his father. Fighting to honor his father's beloved Building and Loan and to prevent Mr. Potter, the richest and most evil man around, from taking over the entire town, George grows increasingly discontent with his life. But on Christmas Eve, George's Uncle Billy loses the business's $8,000 while intending to deposit it in the bank. George realizes that he will be held responsible and sent to jail and the company will collapse, finally allowing Potter to take over the town. Thinking of his wife, their young children, and others he loves will be better off with him dead, he contemplates suicide. But the prayers of his loved ones result in a gentle angel named Clarence coming to earth to help George....  I'll leave it at that. Simply put, I cannot praise this movie enough.

You know the song, White Christmas that we sing every year? Well, that song debuted on this movie. The world heard that song for the first time when Bing Crosby sat down at his piano one night and sang it while the fire crackled in the background. This is a funny, romantic movie starring Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds. Simply put, Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) has crooner Jim (Bing Crosby) head over heels in love, but suave Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire, of course!) wants her for his new dance partner. Jim has left the stage to open up a supper club, Holiday Inn, which is the setting for the big chase. This movie is funny and sweet with tons of amazing songs.

Another Bing Crosby classic that has, in my opinion, some of the greatest songs of any musical! My family and I still sing "Snow" and I remember Melody and I used to prance around singing "Sisters, Sisters." This movie is about two men, Bob Wallace and Phil Davis who, after leaving the Army after WW2, team up to become a top song-and-dance act. Davis plays matchmaker and introduces Wallace to a pair of beautiful sisters (Betty and Judy) who also have a song-and-dance act. When Betty and Judy travel to a Vermont lodge to perform a Christmas show, Wallace and Davis follow, only to find their former commander, General Waverly, is the lodge owner. A series of romantic mix-ups ensue as the performers try to help the General. This is, by far, my favorite Christmas musical of all time.

This is a bit more modern and a good watch. It is definitely a movie that will cite some serious laughter. The "elf" is Buddy. Buddy was a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities. This is a funny watch, but keep in mind that it IS modern and there are certain aspects I don't agree with. Overall, though, it is harmless. (Note: For you parents, there is some crude humor in this movie and the innocence of Buddy is played upon.)

I remember hearing Newsong's Christmas classic, "The Christmas Shoes" years ago for the first time. I never dreamed a movie would be made from it, but I'm glad it was. This is a great film. Two separate stories mesh - in the first, a young music teacher, Maggie Andrews, begins dying of a heart condition and her son Nathan tries to get a pair of Christmas shoes for her before she dies. In the second, lawyer Robert Layton and his wife Kate are slowly drifting apart and the matter comes to a head during Christmas when Kate takes over for Maggie for the school choir and declines a job in Robert's firm. When Robert's mother passes away, he begins to reconsider things and his and Nathan's paths cross on Christmas Eve as Nathan tries to raise the money for the shoes and Robert tries to get a present for his daughter. I LOVE this story and how real it is. We all need to remember the important things in life. We all need to be reminded that life is fragile and that family is the most important thing we have.

I bought this movie for Nathan about a month ago and it instantly became a favorite. I have sat down and watched it with him several times and it is just precious. Junior Asparagus has become obsessed with the drums, playing them all the time. While his parents go out Christmas shopping, he is supposed to go caroling with his friends, but a mix up leaves him home with Grandpa (Pa Grape). Mad at his friends, Junior intends to sulk, but Grandpa decides to tell him the story of the little drummer boy. Aaron (Junior Asparagus, again) stars as The Little Drummer Boy, a little boy who is determined to live alone and isolated because of past hurt. In his journey, he meets colorful characters that only make him more bitter towards people....until he encounters the birth of Jesus. This was a really precious story that I don't mind watching over and over again.

And of course.... the very best. The Christmas story. In my opinion, The Nativity Story is the best movie thus far in portraying the story of Christmas. Beginning with Mary, newly engaged to Joseph, and praying for peace for her people, she is visted by the angel, Gabrielle. Upon the encounter she learns that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus, the Messiah. The story goes on until the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. I cannot put into words how well this movie was made. It showed the human heart of Mary - her doubts, her faith, her willingness, her fears, her strength, her innocence. It gave a bigger picture of King Herod. It portrayed Joseph in a phenomenal way. Etc. etc. etc. Though the Bible does not give us every specific detail, this movie captures how I have always viewed the story. It is unspeakably wonderful and a must-have for every home.

What are some of your favorite Christmas movies??

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