The movies Time Out will be curling up to watch this Christmas ...
10 Jingle All The Way
Some say Arnold Schwarzenegger should have stuck to shooting guns and left the family comedies to those who know better. We at Time Out are not among those people (where would be without Kindergarten Cop and Twins?). Here, the former governor of California is a desperate dad trying to get his hands on the ultimate seasonal toy, Turbo Man. The slapstick comedy is certainly not The Terminator’s best work, but a daft and enjoyable rollorcoater ride, nonetheless.
Directed by Brian Levant. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sinbad, Rita Wilson.
9 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The dark musical fantasy film in traditional Tim Burton style. When the pumpkin king Jack Skellington gets bored with the monotony of Halloween Town, he decides to take over Christmas Town. Will Jack realise the error of his ways before it’s too late or will Christmas be lost forever? The characters and story plot is unlike any other Christmas movie, but promotes the Christmas spirit nevertheless.
Directed by Henry Selick. Voiced by Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara.
8 The Santa Clause (1994)
What if one Christmas Eve, you were told you have to become the next Santa Clause? Not the same as being the next American Idol, but certainly an ‘oh-my-gosh’ moment in itself. Tim Allen soon discovers being Saint Nic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be when, instead of being welcomed at the bottom of the chimney with cookies and milk, he is met by cops waiting to arrest him. It would hardly be a spoiler to reveal the movie ends on a happy note. We believe in you, Santa!
Directed by Jack Pasquin. Starring Tim Allen.
7 Polar Express (2004)
There is no such thing as too much Tom Hanks. In this animated tale of a little boy’s trip to the North Pole and back, the versatile veteran voices six distinct roles – from our boy to the train driver to Santa himself. This adaptation of the book by Chris Van Allsburg teaches us to hold on our beliefs, no matter how far away they seem.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Starring Tom Hanks, Daryl Sabara.
6 Elf (2003)
Buddy is an unusually large elf who flees the North Pole in an attempt to bond with his real father. Will Ferrell is hilarious as Santa’s not-so-little helper as he hits the Big Apple to try to forge a reunion with his father – and discovers a love interest in the process. The sight of Ferrell in a green suit and yellow tights ignorantly roaming the streets of New York makes this movie a classic Christmas comedy.
Directed by John Favreau. Starring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel.
5 How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
However many times you have seen this movie, it is impossible to avoid imitating the Grinch’s evil smile at least once. Jim Carrey plays the green Christmas-hating creature who wants to ruin the season for the Whos of Whoville. He plots and succeeds in stealing all the Christmas presents but, to his surprise, finds that the spirit of Christmas is still alive in Whoville. A movie based on a Dr. Suess book by the same name, it is a favourite of kids – and adults.
Directed by Ron Howard. Starring Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen.
4 Home Alone (1990)
A classic holiday movie filled with big laughs and a lot of heart. Macaulay Culkin is left behind by his extra-large family during the holidays and lives every kid’s dream of having the house to himself. While Culkin is at his adorable best (not least in the oft-copied moment when he slaps the aftershave on his face – aaaaaaaaargh) , the movie is made by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as the luckless ‘Wet Bandits’. Three sequels never reached the heights of this original.
Directed by Chris Columbus. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern.
3 It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
This true Christmas classic from the 1940s – in black and white and everything – is a Christmas must-watch. When life’s troubles start to take a toll on Bailey, he decides to give up on life itself. A surprise visit from a happy-go-lucky angel shows him what the town would be like without him, helping him to realise the importance of family and the value of life.
Directed by Frank Capra. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed.
2 The Snowman (1982)
Who could forget this stunningly animated Christmas cartoon, adapted from the illustrated novel by Raymond Briggs? From our boy waking up on Christmas Eve to find a blanket of snow to ‘Walking in the air’, to the tragic end met by our new frozen friend. An absolute must-watch for all ages.
Directed by Dianne Jackson.
1 A Christmas Carol (1935/2009)
A tale retold in hundreds of guises, Dickens’ classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge never gets old. Whether the 1935 black-and-white version, starring Seymour Hicks as the bitter old miser visited by three ghosts, or the performance capture animated version starring Jim Carrey from 2009, there is a version for all ages. Honorable mentions go to Bill Murray’s performance in Scrooged from 1998 and that of everyone’s favourite puppet cast in 1992’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. Hands down the best Christmas story.
Directed by Henry Edwards/Robert Zemeckis. Starring Seymour Hicks/Jim Carrey.