Columns, Opinion

Flick Critique: Time for the best Christmas movies

As the semester draws to a close and the weather gets colder, the classic holiday song “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” becomes increasingly more accurate. Nonetheless, there are many preparations needed for the holiday season, primarily a Christmas movie marathon with friends and family. With the holidays fast approaching, here are five movies that are bound to get viewers ready with some Christmas cheer:

Starting off the list is the 2004 film “The Polar Express.” While this computer-animated film may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is undeniable that the movie is iconic. With Tom Hanks voicing one of the leads, along with a soundtrack that is bound to get stuck in your head for the entire holiday season, “The Polar Express” has taught younger generations about the real meaning of Christmas since its release.

None of its sequels beat the film that started it all for the “Home Alone” series. While Kevin, portrayed by Macaulay Culkin, has debatably one of the worst families in America, “Home Alone” remains a beloved cult classic. Forgotten back home while his entire family heads to Paris, France, Kevin enjoys the rare alone time he has in his usually crowded house. Things quickly turn awry when two house-robbers pick Kevin’s house as their next target. With his cunning wit, however, Kevin has the ultimate standoff against the two criminals in a performance that made Culkin one of the most respected child actors of all time.

While Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has been adapted in possibly every way possible, from animation to even an all-Muppet cast, perhaps no adaptation is as memorable or hilarious as “Scrooged.” With Bill Murray as the lead, audiences know they are in for a hilarious ride. Even as one of the greatest comedic actors of all times, Murray gives his character just the right amount of “jerk” needed to play an Ebenezer Scrooge. This movie is funny, yet somewhat sad, but in the end, audiences learn to focus on interpersonal relationships as opposed to material goods and to value the holiday season for what it is meant to do: bring people together.

Next on the list is “A Christmas Story.” With iconic lines like “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” and a charismatic child protagonist, Ralphie, this movie is often in people’s favorite Christmas films list. Set in a post-Depression setting, the movie tells the story of a young boy that just wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. He does everything in his power so his parents can gift him the gun he desperately wants, even bribing his teacher to give him a good grade on his assignment so his parents are swayed into getting it for him. In the end, Ralphie gets the best Christmas present he ever received, and the audience is left with a heartwarming story that puts a huge smile on their face.

Last on the list — and perhaps the most controversial film on this list — is “Die Hard.” Granted, this movie features a terrorist takeover of the Nakatomi Plaza, all with lots of cursing and violence. However, the purpose of Christmas movies is to make audiences appreciate the true meaning of the holidays, which is accomplished with “Die Hard.” While unconventional in its methods, this movie teaches viewers that while society focuses on the importance of presents and holiday parties, Christmas is all about love and sacrifice for one’s loved ones.

Evidently, Christmas will be a common motif surrounding films as long as movies are made. However, while some just use Christmas as a plot element, good movies will actually teach viewers some valuable lessons about this holiday. As society becomes overwhelmed with capitalism and consumerism, particularly with a holiday centered around presents, it is sometimes good to step back and realize that the real purpose of Christmas is to spend time with friends and family and assess how one can be a better person in the upcoming year.

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