All I Want for Christmas is Movies

Here’s a list of the top ten Christmas movies (in my ever-so-humble opinion).

As Printed in The Lumberjack on Dec. 4, 2008

by Gary Sundt

The holidays are upon us, and I say we should forget about our economic woes and enjoy the season. What better way to do that than to watch the best that holiday movies have to offer. I will tell you now these are all Christmas-related, and I apologize for the bias. But since Eight Crazy Nights is never going to make a top 10 list, and Kwanzaa just got its feature film debut this year, I’m going to have to be okay with it.

10. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) — What else do I have to say? It’s A Charlie Brown Christmas! If you don’t like it, you aren’t human.

9. Bad Santa (2003) — Billy Bob Thornton plays a mall Santa Claus who robs malls. Excellent. This is definitely a holiday movie for the grown-ups, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t funny every time I watch it. Make sure to watch the unedited DVD, just because it’s a much better version.

8. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) — So I know a large percentage of my readership doesn’t like black-and-white movies. First of all…what are you, stupid? And secondly…seriously? What are you, stupid? The original Miracle on 34th Street is one of the most timeless holiday films ever made, and you’re missing out if you don’t just give black-and-white a chance. Santa Claus got the Oscar, for God’s sake!

7. Home Alone (1990) – Who in our generation doesn’t think of Macaulay Culkin at Christmas time? The holiday classic may have been met with some harsh reviews when it came out, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it today. Let that be a lesson to the film snobs: little kid versus robbers is awesome (well, the first time around, anyway).

6. Die Hard (1988) — Yup, I’m talking about the action movie with Bruce Willis. No, not the one where he hits a helicopter with a car. I’m talking about the first film. This is the holiday movie for the guy or gal who just loves a good shoot-em-up movie with their family togetherness. Nothing says Christmas like “Yippie-kai-yay, motherf-er.”

5. Love, Actually (2003) — Go ahead, call me a softy. Yes, it’s all lovey-dovey. No, it isn’t very realistic. But for a holiday film designed to make you laugh and revel in the spirit of the season, it’s pretty solid. And Bill Nighy is just stellar as the drugged-out, burned-out rock star Billy Mack.

4. Gremlins (1984) — Oh, what a great, disgusting little movie this is. This is the Christmas movie that helped to inspire the creation of the PG-13 rating. Something about Santa Claus being ripped apart by little green monsters just didn’t sit right with unsuspecting parents. But Gizmo was cute, right?

3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) — Understand that It’s a Wonderful Life is not only a great Christmas movie; this flick is one of the best films ever made. The basic story is about a miserable businessman who gets a glimpse at what life would be had he never been born. This is another black-and-white flick, but I double dog dare you to not get at least a little emotional when James Stewart runs around town celebrating his existence in the final moments of the film.

2. A Christmas Story (1983) — For me, it isn’t Christmas unless I hear, “Oh my God! I shot my eye out!” This holiday classic seems to exist in a Bizarro World version of a Norman Rockwell painting, or what could be more appropriately described as the reality of being a kid. On Christmas Day, the movie plays for 24 hours straight on TNT. That’s overkill, but it ensures I get to hear my favorite Christmas quote (and so many others) every Dec. 25.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) — When it comes to Christmas movies, this one still stands as my favorite. Everything is simply perfect, from the remarkable visual design to the timeless music. It’s the Christmas classic of my generation, and it’s a whole lot of fun for the entire family. And if you can see it in 3-D, it’s actually pretty amazing.

Worst Christmas Movie: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) – It’s worse than Jingle All the Way. Don’t believe me? Martians come to Earth with a mission of conquering, but Santa Claus warms their hearts and helps keep the human race safe. If you ever watch it, make sure you’re watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary version. Your brain might bleed otherwise.

That does it for this semester. Look for more reviews over the winter break at, and I’ll see you at the movies in 2009!

Note: As I indicate in the story, I will be continuing to review movies over my Christmas break. I know how concerned you were.


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