Favorite Christmas Movies: Brian Teegarden’s Top Ten
Tis the season for holiday spirit, family togetherness and Christmas movies! You'll probably share some of my favorites with me, but there might be some surprises!
Reindeer Games – 2000
What better way to spend Christmas than knock off an Indian casino on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Take Ben Affleck as an ex con, Charlize Theron as his love interest, who turns out to have a heart of cold (I meant cold) and Gary Sinese as one evil dude, and you have a great Christmas movie! Violence, twists and turns, even a little incest, will have you singing “Rudolph” at the top of your lungs to forget some of the images!
Since You Went Away – 1944
The movie is set in a mid-sized American town, where people with loved ones in the military try to cope with their changed circumstances and make their own contributions to the war effort. The main characters are a housewife whose husband is away in the service and her two daughters who are just growing into womanhood. The story runs from early January to late December 1943. It stars Claudette Colbert, Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotton, and a teenage Shirley Temple. I first saw this film on AMC back in the '80s, and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. You can catch it on Turner Classic Movies on Dec. 18th and 22nd.
A Christmas Story – 1983
Since it's release in 1983, who hasn't seen this movie? Who doesn't know about Ralphie, the flag pole, the Old Man's leg lamp and red Ryder BB guns?It was not a success in theatres, as it was a July release. Thanks to pay cable TV, Vhs and later dvd releases and it's yearly TBS 24 hour marathon, it has become a classic. A live stage version is now playing at Yakima's Warehouse Theatre, and we hope to have an interview with actor Ian Patrella, who played Randy, in December.
Holiday Inn – 1942
The film that gave the world the song “White Christmas” is still good fun.Bing Crosby and Fred Astair are show biz pals that split over a woman. Bing buys an old country inn that's only open on holidays. It's got a cute plot, great Irving Berlin music and a blackface number that celebrates Lincoln's birthday that wouldn't be filmed today.
One Magic Christmas – 1985
This film is kind of dark as Christmas (and Disney) movies go. It is similar to “It's A Wonderful Life”, with a guardian angel, glimpses at the future, death and so on. But, its happy ending make up for it all.
Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol – 1962
Not really a film, but a made for TV animated special, this made my list because it made an impression on me when I was nine years old. It was the first version of the Dicken's classic I ever saw. it was the first animated holiday program ever produced specifically for television, originally airing in December 1962, and the only one until the stop-motion Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was first shown in December 1964. Razzleberry dressing anyone?
The Polar Express – 2004
My good friend Lance Tormey calls this the greatest film ever made, and we tease him greatly about it. This Robert Zemeckis film uses performance capture to animate this film, and it is visually stunning. It's a great story, with Tom Hanks in six different roles. The part where the train skids across a frozen lake scares me everytime I see it. A must see this time of year.
White Christmas – 1954
A remake of “Holiday Inn' with great Irving Berlin music, great dance numbers, and Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen and Rosemary Clooney. I first saw this film on TV in the 60's, where it showed up every year on NBC. Then it went into syndication, and dissappeared for a while. Then, Paramount released it on VHS in the '80s, and later on Dvd. It remains a top seller and AMC will have the exclusive broadcast rights this year. We watch it over and over at our house.
Love, Actually – 2003
My wife and I went out on a date night to see this movie when it was released in 2003. I was hooked by the first scene, and you immerse yourself into all of the connected stories and don't want the film to end because you've come to care for the characters. I bought it on Dvd as soon as it became available. It also added spending Christmas in London with the family to my bucket list!
It’s A Wonderful Life – 1946
What can I say? Great story, great performances. Who hasn't seen this movie? It marked the post war change in Jimmy Stewart's acting career, and has a place in everyone's heart. By the way, Caroline Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey in the film lives in Western Washington and is a Facebook buddy of mine. We hope to have her on for an interview in December.