Arts & Culture

Christmas movie recommendations for the Holiday season

Holiday favorites offer a range of festive themes to enjoy as students usher in Winter Break

Staff Writer
Thursday, December 7, 2017

As students prepare to transition from finals to festivities, The Herald has compiled a list of holiday favorites, which will transport you anywhere from the North Pole to Hogwarts.

For a family watch party: “Elf” (2003) — “Elf” is a favorite featuring Will Ferrell as a man raised by Santa and his elves at the North Pole. Traveling to New York City to find his biological father, Ferrell’s character, Buddy, engages in hilarious antics, falls in love and spreads Christmas joy throughout the city. The movie is perfect if  you want to experience all the festivity of a New York City Christmas vicariously through Buddy the Elf.

For the kid at heart: “Home Alone” (1990) — This instant classic is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Follow 8-year-old Kevin McCallister through a series of hijinks as he attempts to navigate life during the holidays while separated from his family. Though most have seen the first “Home Alone,” you may not know that the movie kicked off a five-part franchise. Unfortunately, not all of the following movies feature the same cast of characters.

For a sing-along: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1966) — Reminisce about holidays past and join the Whos of Whoville, the Grinch and his adorable dog Max with this classic 25-minute cartoon.

For a watch party with friends: “Love, Actually” (2003) — This well-loved romantic comedy unites an all-star cast through multiple romantic, platonic and problematic stories. The film is set in London during the month preceding Christmas. If you’ve seen “Love, Actually” more times than you can count, the BBC ONE recently released a 15-minute video allowing fans to check in on the characters in the present day.

For those who don’t care about originality: “New Year’s Eve” (2011) — If you are looking for something similar to “Love Actually,” you might try this film, which also relies on a cast of recognizable faces and multiple stories that come together at the end through various interpersonal connections. This time, the setting is New Year’s Eve in New York.

For the romantic: “The Holiday” (2006)  — This romantic comedy stars Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. Diaz and Winslet’s characters swap houses and fall in love while on their respective trips. It’s the perfect movie to watch if you’re looking for something light and romantic with a wintry setting.

For someone in search of a new holiday favorite: “The Family Stone” (2005) ­— A mix of drama, comedy, tragedy and romance, “The Family Stone” features another star-studded cast, which includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Claire Danes. The film deals with issues that arise when Sarah Jessica Parker’s uptight character is introduced to her new boyfriend’s family.

For the eternal believer: “The Santa Clause” (1994) — This 90s favorite combines magic and reality, as a young boy, Charlie, watches his father, Scott Calvin, gradually become the next Santa Claus as a result of a mishap on Christmas eve. While the first is by far the best, the later two films in the trilogy provide more options if you’re looking to binge watch Christmas movies. The second and third were released in 2002 and 2006, respectively, and portray life in the North Pole with Charlie as a teenager.

For the Amtrak lover: “The Polar Express” (2004) — This artfully animated film follows a group of children to Santa’s Workshop via a magical and mysterious ride on the “Polar Express” train.

For the lover of classics: “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) — The top-rated holiday movie on Rotten Tomatoes (with a 94 percent fresh rating), this film is “worth an annual viewing,” according to the site’s critics. With a moving plot, the film grapples with the influence a single person can have on the greater world.

For the bookworm: Harry Potter movies (2001-2011) — Winter break is the perfect opportunity to watch all seven Harry Potter films, which should take you slightly less than 20 hours total. Significant holiday moments include the first film’s depiction of 11-year-old Harry and Ron spending Christmas together at Hogwarts and the fourth film’s Yule Ball during the Triwizard tournament.

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