11 January 2012

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Top Five Movies I Watched Over The Holidays

With Christmas a distant memory and the remnants of candied yam just about shifted from the baking dish, I want to tell you about some of the all-important movies that I watched over the holidays.


The five crackers below are all a little off-center but represent the essence of fun, humor and excitement that can often be found severely lacking come the big day itself.


So, sit back with a glass of something warming and peruse the following fare that I can guarantee will have you laughing, crying and smiling wider than the Tim Burton balloons at the 2011 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Rare Exports (2010)
Scandinavian folklore is rife with dark legends and this modern-day Finnish masterpiece, based on the 2003 short film Rare Exports Inc, is a well-crafted and amusing story which will have you battening down the hatches come the holidays.


Plot:
When a scientist decides to blow up the Korvatunturi Mountains and excavate to almost 500 meters there’s more than one reason for naughty children to care whether they’ve been bad or good.

As reindeers and then children start to go missing local herders decide to lay a trap for whatever beast is responsible.


One family catches the culprit, the real Santa Claus, and instead of letting him go they decide to sell him to the scientist in charge of the archaeological mountain dig.

However, as we all know, Santa doesn’t work alone and nothing will stop his elves in their quest to free their master.


Summary:
If you like your Christmas tales with a touch of bloodied reindeer then look no further than this fast-becoming cult classic.


Gremlins (1984)
This mischievous 80’s favorite centers upon: what not to buy your son for Christmas and why you shouldn’t always assume that your girlfriend has fond memories of Santa coming down the chimney.


Plot:
A cute and furry pet purchased in Chinatown should be the perfect gift from a father to a son however, when important instructions on how to look after Mogwais are ignored: all hell breaks loose.
 

  • Keep away from sunlight
  • Don’t feed after midnight
  • Don’t get wet
With a changing speed of cute to nasty in under 5 seconds Mogwais, aka Gremlins, wreak chaos and mayhem on small town America.


Summary:
Always follow instructions and don’t think that pets stay cute and fluffy forever.


The Nightmare before Christmas (1993)
The magical world of Tim Burton is brought to life in this charming stop-motion musical that introduces romance and excitement to an array of enchanting characters.

From shrunken heads to a gambling bogeyman, this is a beautiful production that can be enjoyed by all the family.


Plot:
In Halloween Town it’s Halloween every day of the year, that is until the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington, stumbles upon a Christmas tree shaped doorway in the forest.


Jack becomes obsessed with all things festive and decides to take over Christmas for a year much to the protests of Santa who is subsequently kidnapped by a trio of devilish children.


With Christmas gifts being delivered by a red and white clad skeleton and a worm-infested bogeyman threatening to burn Mr Claus, it’s left to Sally the rag doll and Jack Skellington himself to save the day.


Summary:
A dark yet delightful tale all about the good, the bad and the ugly but it’s up to you to decide which is which.


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
This festive offering from National Lampoon is an absolute belter packed full of slap-stick, one-liners and an inordinate amount of Griswold buffoonery.


Consistently voted in Christmas movie top tens, and one of the last of the great movies from the Lampoon stable, get ready to laugh your baubles off.


Plot:
Clark, Ellen, Rusty and Audrey (Juliette Lewis) are joined by a succession of weird and wonderful family members who endeavor to push them from the path of having a good-old-fashioned family Christmas.


With a house decorated to near collapse and a Christmas bonus snatched away before his very eyes, Clark tries his best to hold everything together against ever increasing odds.


Despite getting locked in the attic, a power company turning on its nuclear generator and a SWAT team being called out, everything comes right in the end – sort of.


Summary:
Like National Lampoon’s Vacation but set in Chicago. At Christmas.


Trading Places (1983)
If only they still made films like this! Social upheaval, corporate greed and a Christmas tale that’s as poignant and relevant today as it is completely and utterly hilarious.


Compared to Twain’s the ‘Prince and the Pauper’ this is an absolute Christmas cracker that proves that money can’t buy you happiness but it certainly helps.


Plot:
It’s Christmas and two wealthy brothers, Mortimer & Randolph Duke, decide to make a wager at the expense of their managing director, Lewis Winthrope III (Dan Aykroyd), and a homeless grifter, Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy).


After framing Winthrope and instating Valentine in his place, the Duke Brothers watch as their former director falls into a spiral of despair whereas Valentine positively revels in his new found role as a commodities broker.


Winthrope befriends a prostitute (Jamie Lee Curtis) and slowly his misfortune turns around until finally he manages to overthrow the Dukes and make himself and his new friends rich in the process.


Summary:
Aykroyd, Murphy and Curtis at the top of their game.



About today's Guest Writer:
Chris is a lover of all things TV from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to Bing Crosby’s White Christmas!