A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
Community - Entertainment - Human Interest


Weekly issues every Saturday morning and other special articles throughout the week — there's something for everyone. Check out our sister sites Kings River Lite and KRL News & Reviews for bonus articles.

Previous post:

Next post:


Staff’s Favorite Christmas Movies

IN THE December 24 ISSUE

FROM THE 2011 Articles,
andBooks & Tales,
andMovies
SECTIONS

by KRL staff

In case you’re looking for a fun Christmas movie to watch this Christmas weekend, here are some suggestions from our staff as they share their favorite Christmas movies! We here at KRL would like to wish our readers a very Merry Christmas!

My favorite holiday movie is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Jim Carrey version. I love it because it is funny, heartwrenching, adorable, and sweet. You feel sorry for the grinch and you want him to turn out okay. Cindy is adorable and you want her to get through to the grinch. It is just a great movie to get you into the true spirit of Christmas.
Jessica Ham, Teen Talk

The Bishop’s Wife (1947). The Bishop (David Niven) wants a new cathedral and prays for help. He gets the angel, Dudley (Cary Grant), who has other ideas about how to guide the flock. He persuades the parishioners to contribute, but not to the cathedral. He inspires a boys’ choir, redecorates a tree in minutes, and gets a typewriter to write a sermon for Henry. Dudley also brings happiness to the Bishop’s wife, Julia (Loretta Young), and surprisingly finds himself attracted to her.
Deborah Williams, TV Talk

My favorite Christmas movie is Alastair Sim’s version of A Christmas Carol. Filmed with a low budget (but phenomenal cast) shortly after World War II, the black and white presentation suits the grim overtones of the Victorian period drama. I have seen every film version of Dickens’ story, some are closer to the original writing but this remains my favorite. The scene at the end where Scrooge visits his nephew’s home is particularly convincing of the change in character and the possibility of redemption for even the “most covetous old sinner.”
Terell Byrd, Mysteryrat’s Maze

There are many excellent Christmas movies, but my favorite is A Charlie Brown Christmas. I’m old enough to remember when it was on television for the first time, and it was quite an important event in our house. To see the Peanuts characters with voices was a big deal. The story is a very touching one as well, and Linus’ scene in which he explains the real meaning of Christmas is perfect. Great family memories and a great story.
Larry Ham, Sports

I have never enjoyed any movie, no matter what time of the year, more than The Christmas Story. The story line is so smooth and real with some of the most funny antics that I have ever seen in a movie. I happened to see this movie a couple nights ago on TV and though I’ve seen the movie so many times I could have said the lines along with the actors, I laughed again as though I was seeing it for the first time. This is such a feel good experience. Can’t wait to see it again before they put the movie in the canister for storage until the next holiday season.
Margaret Mendel, Food Fun

As a fan of Charles Dickens and a devotee of ghost stories, there should be little surprise that my favorite Christmas movie is a version of A Christmas Carol. Which one? Alastair Sim? George C. Scott? Albert Finney? Bill Murray? Jim Carrey? Nope . . . It’s the animated Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.
I still remember watching this in black-and-white on the family TV set. Jim Backus was allowed to stretch beyond the near-sighted Magoo’s curmudgeonly character as Ebenezer Scrooge, skillfully threading through the story with a growth of character that is seldom seen in live-action versions. With songs by Bob Merrill and Jule Styne, there are several sequences that have never been equaled by other adaptations. Old Ebenezer singing a duet with his abandoned schoolboy self on “I’m All Alone in the World” pounds at the heartstrings with a sledgehammer and cries for Kleenex tissues. The charwoman, housekeeper, and undertaker’s assistant have never been more repulsive than when they la-la their way through the aptly-titled “Despicable” with the local fence of stolen goods. Some people object to the Magoo-back-on-Broadway sequences that bookend the Dickens tale, but I think they frame the musical-comedy traditions of the production nicely. Jack Cassidy as Bob Cratchit and Royal Dano as Jacob Marley turned in memorable vocal performances in a made-for-TV feature that still holds up after almost fifty years…and who can forget Tiny Tim’s wistful hoping for “razzleberry dressing”? Find it on DVD and treat your family to some prime entertainment.

I recently read of a song missing from the film, as it was composed too late to be included. It took until Styne did the musical Funny Girl for Barbra Streisand to sing “People” for the first time.
Terrance Mc Arthur, Kings River Reviewers

Most people first think of Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life as their favorite Christmas movie. I prefer White Christmas. The cast included Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney (aunt of George), and Vera-Ellen although you’d see a lot of familiar faces besides. It has everything – boy meets girl, boy hates girl, boy falls for girl, boy and girl have a big misunderstanding that a simple conversation would fix but won’t talk about it, a plot to save a friend in need, and a Big Finish.

Bing and Danny are a song and dance act who meet Rosemary and Vera-Ellen who are similarly employed. The four go to Vermont to work at an inn owned by the guys’ former commanding officer. If the holiday week doesn’t make money, the general will lose the inn.

The Big Finish is also the Happy Ending. The misunderstanding between Bing and Rosemary is resolved, all the former troops come to the inn for Christmas and as the final song is sung, it begins to snow. Even the General has a tear in his eye.

The 1954 film was directed by Michael Curitz and features the song by the same title by Irving Berlin.
This year, sing along with Bing and Rosemary, Danny and Vera-Ellen. Just have a hankie handy.
Sandra Murphy, Mysteryrat’s Maze

Each Christmas, our family sits down to watch movies that either have a Christmas theme or are simply set during the holiday. Although we have an unofficial list of favorites, the one that really stands out for me is The Muppet Christmas Carol.

We were only moderately interested in the Muppets prior to that film, and after Muppet Treasure Island, we once again paid them little attention; however, there is something simply magical about that particular film. Be it Michael Caine’s superb performance; the classic and uplifting Dickens tale; the direction of the film; and perhaps just the perfect Muppet accompaniment; this film is just perfect. Sometimes, they say, one catches lightening in a bottle, and the cast and crew of Muppet Christmas Carol did just that. The film is just brilliant.
James Garcia Jr., Area Arts & Entertainment

It’s A Wonderful Life is my favorite. It’s a beautiful film, well written and presented, and it presents a message that is still contemporary and relevant 65 years later and will still be relevant 65 years from now. I will never tire of George Bailey.
Christopher Lewis, Helping Hands

I have several favorite movies that are shown at Christmas. I love It’s a Wonderful Life. I never get tired of its essential optimism and humanity. The Bishop’s Wife has provided me several sermon illustrations, some of which I use in funerals. It is a great film with David Niven, Loretta Young, and Cary Grant. Finally, I like several of the makes and remakes of A Christmas Carol, but Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol is probably my favorite – and I really don’t care for cartoons! If I thought about it more, I’d have others, but I’d better stop while I am behind. After all, I was only asked for one.
Tom Sims, Area Arts & Entertainment

My favorite Christmas movie is the original The Grinch That Stole Christmas. It’s a fun and entertaining rendition of the book that captures Dr. Suess’ clever writing. It’s just funny… although I always felt bad for the dog as a kid. It also captures the beauty and transformative power of love and community without sentimentality or tired, cliché dialogues and plots. The bulk of the story enjoys the Grinch being the Grinch and the town displays what he was missing through their simple action.
Brandi Nuse-Villegas, Ministry Musings

I don’t have a favorite Christmas movies, what I do like to watch is all the old black-and-white Christmas themed movies with the stars of the day in them like Bing Crosby, Margaret O’Brian when she was a kid. They bring back a lot of memories of when I used to go to the movies with my folks way back in the 40s. Marilyn Meredith, Mysteryrat’s Maze

My favorite Christmas movie has to be A Christmas Story because it relates so well to the chaos of childhood, family and Holidays. It’s what everyone’s family feels like – only funnier!
Christine Autrand Mitchell, Editorial Staff

It is hard to choose just one favorite Christmas movie, there are so many so I will highlight two. Holiday Inn is a favorite more for the stars then the story. It’s a lighthearted story about love and friendship. I just love Fred Astaire, he was so talented and the best dancer I have ever seen. Another favorite of mine is It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart who is one of the greatest actors of all time. And the story itself is such a classic with such depth. It makes me think about whether or not my life impacts others, which is a good thing to ponder over now and then.
Sheryl Wall, Pet’s Perspective

When it comes to the holidays, life for me tends to be the same as any other day of the year and I can seem a bit “bah, humbug”. Traditions for me go so far as going to the movies, eating tamales, and going to bed early. So, because of this, many people that I know are surprised when I tell them that my favorite Christmas movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I know that this may be a common favorite around the holidays, but to me it encapsulates the true spirit of the holidays.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, it is about a man named George Bailey, detailing his life from the time he was young, to when he met his wife, to when he was an adult with a family; eventually George (played by Jimmy Stewart) becomes frustrated because of his failing business in making money loans, and believes that the world would be better off without him, so an angel shows him what his life would be like if he was never born.

Some may choose other classics like Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer or Miracle on 34th Street, but to me It’s a Wonderful Life is such a well written story along with the amazing acting of Jimmy Stewart; the movie always breaks my heart a little when George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) finds out that, if he had never been born he was never able to save his brother from drowning when he was a little boy, and I get misty-eyed every time at the end (I won’t give away the ending for those of you who haven’t seen it). Really, the story is about how one of the greatest gifts that you can receive is the knowledge that you have made a huge difference in someone’s life and how their life would have never been the same if you weren’t in it. So I recommend this movie to everyone, but be aware that it is over two hours and in black and white; nevertheless, it is an excellent movie.
Zach Zendejas, Area Arts & Entertainment

I love so many Christmas movies it’s really hard to pick a favorite because I love each one for different reasons. I love Patrick Stewart’s version of A Christmas Carol because of the story, and Patrick Stewart who is wonderful. I love White Christmas because of the music and Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. I love Holiday Inn because of the music, Bing and the wonderful Fred Astaire—this is actually my favorite story wise between it and White Christmas. I love It’s A Wonderful Life because the plot is inspiring, thought provoking and “wonderful”. Then there’s The Bishop’s Wife and Christmas In Connecticut—the only theme here I guess is the old classics (this version of A Christmas Carol is newer but the story itself is classic). While there are newer ones I enjoy—those will always be my favorites.
Lorie Lewis Ham, Editor-In-Chief

Please share your favorites with us!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Twitter ID
(ID only; No links or "@" symbols)

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post:

  • Arts & Entertainment

  • Books & Tales

  • Community

  • Education

  • Food Fun

  • Helping Hands

  • Hometown History

  • Pets

  • Teens

  • Terrific Tales