I've got certain films I watch every year to get my psyched for the holiday season. I realised yesterday that my movie season officially starts tomorrow. Here's my list, but feel free to pile on with other suggestions:
Day Before Thanksgiving
This is a new tradition, but it's one I'm sticking to. I realise this movie has been pummelled on both sides of the Atlantic and people hate it in droves. It has the distinction of being mocked (as Love, Indubitably) in several episodes of Arrested Development.
I can't help myself. I love it anyway. It's a great way to kick off the splurge of festivities by reminding you of all the different types of love in the world.
The Latest Harry Potter DVD
I'm not a football person. (My apologies, sir) In an odd way, the Harry Potter clan are like a home away from home for me, so sitting down to watch an HP movie is like inviting relatives over who won't bring burnt pecan pie and eat all the mashed potatoes.
Network television obliges by being thrown into massive reruns between Christmas and Thanksgiving. Well, either massive reruns or holiday-themed junk like Barry Aiken Lighting the Giant Squid At The Rockefeller White House. Yawn. I choose to load up on the following flicks.
I have no idea why this isn't a holiday classic worshipped far and wide. Transvestites, serial killers, knitters and a suicide hotline--what more could you ask for in a Christmas movie?
It's A Wonderful Life
"No man is a failure who has friends". That's why I watch this. To feel like an abject failure. I have no friends. HA!
Actually that's not true. I watch this because half of my life feels like I'm fleeing from the tyranny of the hundreds of Mr. Potters out in the real world. I want to be George Bailey when I grow up. George is everybody. Who out there hasn't had a real and vibrant dream they've had to simmer down to a seemingly bleak reality? What better time to be reminded that sometimes the simple life is the best life than at Christmas?
My only complaint about this movie is actually from a seed planted by my mother. She complains (and rightly so) that as happily as the movie ends for George, Mr. Potter never has to give back the $8K he stole from Uncle Billy. That does irk me. But since the movie is fundamentally about how money doesn't matter I guess I'll let it slide.
The Godfather Saga
Like Meredith Gray, part of me is all dark and twisty. I defy you to find a better holiday family saga than these movies. They're all about family. Sure, it's a family that has people (and horses) killed with impunity. But it's a family movie, and the holidays are a family time.
The Lord of the Rings
Come on. Of COURSE you have to watch them at Christmas time. Although I give you permission to fast-forward the seemingly-endless Sam & Frodo stuff from the last movie. You may also fast-forward large chunks of the Merry and Pippen Riding Treebeard nonsense.
This is another forgotten classic. It's the pilot TV movie for The Waltons, and focuses on Christmas Eve at Walton's Mountain. I still can't figure out why this one is not in heavy rotation at Christmastime. Thankfully I've got an old VHS--almost worn through--that I can pop in and enjoy.