25 Days of Christmas Films: 13 – 18

Part III of a list of films that won't necessarily make your Yuletide gay.



Meet Me In St Louis (1944)

Another classic, Meet Me In St Louis was based on a series of short stories by Sally Benson (who also wrote another charming favorite of mine – Junior Miss)  The film’s most memorable scenes take place on two holidays – Halloween and Christmas.  The Christmas scene has one of the most memorable and beloved film songs ever…”Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. 

The song, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, originally had much bleaker lyrics pointed at soliders in WWII; Garland and Louis B Mayer (He Who Must Be Obeyed at MGM studios) had them re–written to be a bit more positive, although the song remained very poignant.  The version we know today was from a further revision requested by Frank Sinatra in 1957 for inclusion on his A Jolly Christmas album

Directed by Vincente Minnelli.  Starring Judy Garland (who first met future husband Minnelli on the set of this film), Leon Ames, Mary Astor, June Lockhart and Margaret O’Brien, who won an Academy Juvenile Award for her work on this and other films. 

The film was deemed “culturally significant” in 1994 and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry.

“But the main thing is, Tootie, that we're all going to be together, just like we've always been. That's what really counts. We could be happy anywhere as long as we're together.” 

Now Showing:  December 18th at 10:00 PM and December 24th at 4:30 PM on TCM

Clip:  http://youtu.be/yudgy30Dd68



The Snowman (1982)

A little boy’s snowman comes to life and lessons are learned about friendship, life and death.

Based on the award winning book without words, charmingly illustrated by Raymond Briggs, it was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film (it’s only 26 minutes long).  Featuring music by Howard Blake, and an introduction by David Bowie.

“…and it was on that day that I made the snowman”

Entire film:  http://youtu.be/oCEvL_hdN2A



Olive, The Other Reindeer (1999)

Olive, a Jack Russell terrier who doesn’t exactly act like a dog (OK, she doesn’t act anything like a dog; first of all, she talks and sings) is listening to the radio (See?  Again with the not acting like a dog thing) when she hears Santa say that even though Blitzen has been sidelined with an injury, he hopes he can make his Christmas run with all of the other reindeer.  Olive misunderstands and thinks Santa said “Olive the other reindeer” (you see where this is going, right?)  Convinced that Santa means her, Olive sets off to the North Pole to help Santa make it town. 

Based on a book by Vivian Walsh, this funny CGI animated film was produced by Matt Groening’s (The Simpsons) Curiosity Company.  It’s filled with bad jokes, puns and visual gags, which puts it right up my alley.

Drew Barrymore is Olive.  Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer Simpson) is an evil mailman who hates the Christmas rush (what…there’s only one of them?) and is determined to prevent Olive from making it to the North Pole.  Her sidekick, Martini, the con man penguin is voiced by Joe Pantoliano (Guido, the Killer Pimp in Risky Business and Ralphie Cifaretto in The Sopranos). 

Music includes songs by Michael Stipe and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. 

Also featuring Schnitzel (Blitzen’s flightless cousin) and that other hapless victim of misunderstood lyrics…Round John Virgin.

“Check out Marzipan Shack's pre-Ramadan Christmas sale!” 

Entire film:  http://youtu.be/_WQAW9DgUAw



Edward Scissorhands (1999)

Not about Christmas at all, really, but about love and snow and ice. 

Directed by Tim Burton.  With Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Alan Arkin and Anthony Michael Hall, and Vincent Price (in his last feature film role) as The Inventor who brought Edward to life.

“I know it is a little early for Christmas, Edward, but; I have a present for you. Your hands.”

Clip:   http://youtu.be/8mg8SyAJfaw



While You Were Sleeping (1995)

On Christmas day,  Chicago Transit Authority token taker (Sandra Bullock, no doubt making triple overtime for working the holiday) risks her life (sorta…she really doesn’t have a life) and her pension (potentially a much, much greater loss) to rescue a commuter (Peter Gallagher) on whom she has a secret crush after he is knocked unconscious by a mugger.  Mistaken for his fiancée by hospital staff, a comedy of errors ensues when his family arrives on the scene.

A veteran cast of scene stealers includes Peter Boyle, Jack Warden, Michael Rispoli. the great Glynis Johns (see The Ref for another great Johns performance) and as Gallagher’s flannel shirt–wearin', blue–collar job holdin', smokin’ hot brother – Bill Pullman.

“I’m sick?  You’re cheating on a vegetable”

Trailer:  http://youtu.be/d3RSYSsgz3w



Love, Actually (2003)

From the people who brought you Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Four Weddings and a Funeral

Ten separate love stories are interlinked with Christmas as a common denominator.  It should be enough for you to know that this film has Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman and Colin Firth (I almost fainted just typing that).  The rest of the cast includes Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy, Laura Linney, Denise Richards (oh well, nothing’s ever really perfect, is it?) and Rowan Atkinson.  With Billy Bob Thornton as the President of the United States (wait…what?)

BAFTA awards went to Bill Nighy and Emma Thompson

“Hiya kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star, and they give you them for free!” 

Trailer:  http://youtu.be/KdzH6a-XEGM



Next week:  war is a double hell at Christmas, Gene Kelly doesn’t tap dance, and sometimes a sequel isn’t a sequel.


And remember…friends don’t let friends watch remakes of films

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Susan Koomar December 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Pam, I stayed up past my bedtime last night to watch "Meet Me in St. Louis" yet again and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your favorites with us!
Pamela Porter December 20, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Susan: Thank you for reading...I really appreciate it. Merry Christmas. Pamela


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