Since Christmas is getting to be very close by now, I decided I am going to post in this series more often in order to cover more ground, because there actually are a number of good Christmas movies out there that deserve mention. Which is not to say this list is going to be exhaustive or comprehensive (need to leave some for next year, mind).
Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003)
Ok, let me just start by saying this movie is way funnier than it has any right to be. A grown man who thinks he’s an elf, played by a well-known comedian. By all rights, that should result in something horrible. (Imagine if Chris Kattan did it.)
But it’s HILARIOUS. Will Ferrell completely makes the movie and gives it the perfect tone. Of course it does have the requisite corny “meaning of Christmas moments” which I feel cannot help but come off as trite at this point, but the movie is full of enjoyable, wacky humor that is light-spirited and truly fun for all ages.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989 – written by John Hughes!)
This has got to be one of my most-watched Christmas movies, and it never seems to get less funny. It’s an unrelenting slapstick bonanza peppered with holiday gags and bizarre characters (Cousin Eddie, played by Randy Quaid, shows up in his motorhome – “Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!”). Well-meaning Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase, who has to have one of the most rubbery, cartoony faces ever captured on film) bumbles ahead full-force in the pursuit of a Good Old-Fashioned Family Christmas, leaving a comically huge wake of destruction in his path in many scenes.
Another Christmas comedy that somehow manages to be way funnier than it should. It ridicules Christmas in the jolliest of ways and builds to a delightfully silly climax in which we all (surprise) re-learn the True Meaning of Christmas.
But, we should all know by now that the True Meaning of Christmas isn’t why we watch Christmas movies, and at least these ones deliver some well-executed concepts and great laughs along the way.