I was on the phone with my brother the other night and we were discussing how much we were looking forward to binging Christmas movies over the long holiday weekend.
Listen, I don’t want to claim to be some sort of expert, but I do have a gift when it comes to evaluating what makes a great movie, and in particular what makes a great Christmas movie.
Alright, so a lot of it is just personal preference, but it’s high time someone took a stand and gave these films some proper perspective.
I’ll admit, I have a favorite type of movie and it’s one that can make you roll out of your seat laughing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a sucker for the more traditional movies filled with Christmas spirit and tear-jerking moments.
So without further ado, here are the most official grades you will ever find on some of the Christmas Classics.
A Christmas Story – I know, I know, some of you will say it’s overplayed and overrated, but no other Christmas movie comes close to bringing you the true perspective of the holiday from a child’s perspective. And it’s easily the most quoted movie in my family (which is saying something) among the Christmas classics. GRADE – A
Home Alone – I’m not going to beat around the bush, Kevin McCallister is on the shortlist of greatest Christmas movie characters of all time. From Harry and Marv, Buzz, Fuller wetting the bed, and ‘Angels with Filthy Souls, it’s non-stop laughter from start to finish. GRADE – A
It’s a Wonderful Life – I don’t feel like the younger crowd appreciates just how great this movie is. Jimmy Stewart delivers an all-time performance in a movie that captures the true spirit of the holiday season. And I’ll admit, I get a little choked up when Geroge’s brother Harry gives his toast at the end and says ‘to my big brother George, the richest man in town.’ GRADE – A-
Christmas Vacation – Nothing captures the true craziness of the season like the Griswold family. From Clark trying (and failing spectacularly) to give his family the perfect Christmas, to the quirkiness of everyone’s favorite crazy cousin, Eddie, this is another movie that will have you in tears. GRADE – A
Elf – I’m a big Will Ferrell guy, and he does some great work in this movie, but I’m not putting it up there with the all-time classics, even though it is really good. Also features some really good performances from James Caan and Zooey Deschanel. GRADE – B
Die Hard – We can debate all night if this is a Christmas movie or not, but let’s just all agree that it’s a really good movie. Bruce Willis delivers a brilliant performance as John McClane and who doesn’t love Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Powell? Yippee-ki-yay. GRADE – B+
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000 movie)– I like Jim Carrey, but this ranks below some of the other classics for me. GRADE – C
Miracle on 34th Street – Kris Kringle is real! A movie that will have the kid in you believing in Santa. Not my cup of tea, personally, but a good movie nonetheless. GRADE – B
Scrooged – This might be off the radar for a few people (shame on you if it is!), but another non-stop laugher mixed in with some great sentimental value. It’s also a favorite of my sister. Bill Murray experiencing a series of ghosts to help bring him some Christmas perspective provide some of the greatest holiday movie scenes ever. GRADE – A-
Now excuse me while I go watch all of them.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!
Honorable Mention: White Christmas, Fred Claus, A Christmas Carol, Bad Santa, The Santa Clause, Christmas With the Kranks, Four Christmases, Jingle All the Way