Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best Christmas Movies and Specials

Just a quick run-down off the top of my head of what is currently showing:

All-time best Christmas special: Charlie Brown Christmas. This is nearly fifty years old but it is still amazingly relevant. For the last few years, reproductions of Charlie Brown's tree have topped the ornament lists. In a bit of tragic irony, the copies are plastic and made in China. Runner-up: How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Best current specials: Disney's Prep and Landing series. The first of these was Disney's first project after merging with Pixar and it has all of the hallmarks that have made Pixar so successful. They have made two and a half (two half-hour ones and a fifteen minute short) and all are worth multiple viewings. In fact, they are so tightly plotted that they improve after a viewing or two.

Best version of A Christmas Carol: The 1984 version with George C. Scott. Even though it was made for TV, the production values are comparable with a theatrical release. Runners-up: Scrooged, Muppet Christmas Carol, and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (Trivia: Magoo's Christmas Carol was the first animated Christmas special).

Best Christmas movie: Christmas Story. Set in 1939, this movie shows how little childhood has changed over the decades. Lots of movies feature children but this one is written from a child's perspective. Runner-up: Miracle on 34th Street, the Bishop's Wife, Christmas in Connecticut.

Best current Christmas movie: Arthur Christmas. This takes the army of high-tech elves from Prep and Landing and raises the anti. An aging Santa delivers presents with the help of an army of elves. His older son can't wait to take over the job (complete with an Armani Santa suit). His father wants to prove that the old way with a sled and reindeer still works. His youngest son, Arthur, just wants to be sure that no child is missed.

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