Mysterious Things Have Happened. A Murder in the Village…They Probably Think You, Like Your Father, Have Created Another Monster…: Son of Frankenstein (1939)

Wolf, the way you’re carrying on, if I were a policeman, I’d be suspicious myself. You would? Yes, I would! Mysterious things have happened. A murder in the village, our own dear Benson disappears for no reason. They probably think you, like your father, have created another monster…

When I was making up my list of films to review I had originally planned to do The Hound of Baskervilles, but then I thought I needed more traditional horror films in the 2022 lineup. As I was looking at all the different drafts I have started I decided on reviewing The Son of Frankenstein. Since I had a review earlier this month on Frankenstein (1994), I thought I would balance it out with a hopefully better Frankenstein film. I mean it has Boris Karloff so the bar is high.

Frankenstein’s son, Wolf Frankenstein (Basil Rathbone), is coming to the ancestral village to claim his inheritance and all the townspeople are in a tizzy afraid that he might be just like his father.

Wolf is married to an American, Elsa (Josephine Hutchins), and they are both happy to be out of the college and to start a new life. As they talk about the home Frankenstein and never been to they imagine a gothic castle and it’s super cute how the two of them talk about it. It makes me think of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney when they travel to Northanger Abbey.

Frankenstein is angry abut the legacy of his father and how he is remembered for making a murderous monster instead of his accomplishments bringing the dead to life. He blames the assistant Igor (Bela Lugosi).

When Frankenstein arrives at the village he is met by the burgemeister, the villagers, and the village council who are not happy at that he is there. They do not give him a cheery welcoming, but deposit his papers and items and leave.

From Scream

They get to the house and Elsa Frankenstein does not seem at all pleased at the gloomy demeanor and the way they were greeted. She has second thoughts about being there and wants them to take their son and go “home”.

It is a good thing that the Frankensteins brought some of their servants as none of the local people will serve them or interact with them.

The family makes their way home and the castle is really interesting. It is more German Expressionism and something you would see out of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari then an old castle.

Frankenstein never met his father and has always felt something missing. He has tried his best to connect with him, becoming a scientists as well. He hopes he is someone his father would be proud of and like him. He goes to visit the library and unlocks a box of papers given to him by the council and in it finds a letter written to him with information about how his father brought rhe creature to life.

Basil Rathbone was a really good choice to play Frankenstein in this as he’s a very likable character, he almost has got wanting him to try his father’s experiments…almost.

That evening the inspector comes calling and warns Frankenstein against trying to do what his father did and to return to England before he is infected with the “poison of discovery”. Frankenstein doesn’t take him seriously at all and asks if the inspector has even seen anything of the creature as he feels the stories were exaggerated. The inspector has seen the monster, as it turns out when he was a boy the creature tore one of his arms off. He says the monster stories are not exaggerated.

Also leading to the high tension in the area are six murders since the monster was “destroyed”; all were killed by hearts rupturing, a bruise at the base of their brains were discovered, and all were prominent men…very suspicious. The inspector cautions Frankenstein again and tells him that he will be there for the Frankensteins fmaily when they will, will not if, need him and leaves.

Like his father, Frankenstein is a doctor and he loves lightning. The longer he stays in his ancestral home, the more he desires to follow in his father’s footsteps as he his in awe of what his father was able to accomplish.

Frankenstein decides to check out his father’s old lab, which is a mess and in pieces as it was destroyed in Bride of Frankenstein

While out there Frankenstein runs into Igor (Bella Lugosi). Originally Lugosi only had a small part in the film, but the scriptwriter felt bad about the way he was treated and extended the character for him. The script changed from day to day so no one knew what was to come, so making the part bigger was an easy feat. Igor was hung for the assisting the senior Frankenstein, and when they tried to kill him he didn’t die but it broke his neck and left it broken. It appears that the senior Frankenstein did some experimenting to give him that ability.

Igor takes Frankenstein to the family crypt where he sees the coffins for his father and grandfather; along with the monster who is not dead but still alive!

I miss Fritz as Igor is super creepy. Igor sees the creature as “his friend” who he “does things” for him. Hmm I wonder Igor and the monster are behind all the murders the inspector was talking about. Right now the creature has been wounded and is in a coma-like state as he was electrocuted. Igor insists that as senior Frankenstein made him too, the creature is Wolf Frankenstein’s brother and begs him to bring him back.

At first Frankenstein isn’t interested, but it doesn’t take long to convince him as he wants to be like his dad and protect hush legacy. He agrees and scurries away to the library to get tools and info.

Frankenstein tries to get Benson to help them but Igor tosses him out. Igor doesn’t want anyone else involved in bringing the monster back to life. Uh Frankenstein, do you notice that Igor is acting very, very odd? You definitely shouldn’t do anything he’s involved in.

I really enjoy this film as it definitely feels like a callback to the original movie.The way the scenes are cut, the music, etc.

The heads of the council try to get Igor to sly on Frankenstein and threaten hangin him if he doesn’t help them. Seriously guys? You tried to have him die by hanging and he survived. Why would he help any of you? Igor acts suspicious as he tells them he will not be hunted and killed, and also points out that out of the 8 that condemned him to death only a few remain. Hmmm….??? Why has no one put together the “killing ghost” is Igor getting revenge.

Meanwhile, Frankenstein is having a fight within himself. He wants to destroy the creature as he knows bringing him out of the coma is wrong, but as a scientists he just can’t stop himself. It makes me think of the scientists in The Thing From Another World.

The inspector comes over for the dinner he was invited to, but the only one there is Elsa Frankenstein as Frankenstein is too busy working on his project. It’s entirely normal to her as he has often done this when he is concentrating on a scientific problem, however, the inspector is very interested a he wants to make sure that Frankenstein isn’t working on trying to resurrect the creature.

Hmm…

Frankenstein finally comes to dinner and they are joined by Frankenstein Jr. Frankenstein Jr. starts about a giant being in the house. Elsa thinks it is just his imagination but the inspector and Frankenstein share looks. Could Frankenstein have woken up the creature?

Frankenstein questions Frankenstein jr and when he hears the description, he is in shock. He thought his resurrection experiments has failed, did it actually work? He goes running to the lab and when he gets there, there is no one to be found.

Frankenstein feels something on his shoulder and discovers the creature awake and lumbering about.

The creature doesn’t look so big in this one as Boris Karloff as Frankenstein was 6’6 and Basil is 6’2. They should when chosen a smaller actor for Frankenstein.

Igor is pleased but now that the creature isn’t a scientific question, Frankenstein is worried that people might find out what he did and not give him or his father the accolades he thought they would. Igor reassures him he won’t tell anyone and will protect their secret (totally leaving the butler out of the circle of trust). I 100% think he has killed or will kill the butler benson.

Frankenstein wants to examine and test the monster, but Igor won’t let him touch the creature and the creature only listens to Igor. I wonder why he listens to Igor. In the other films the creature wouldn’t even listen to Frankenstein, why does he trust Igor?

Igor controls the monster and use him to continue killing off the men who had sentenced him to death. I knew it, I knew he was behind the murders!

That night Frankenstein is surprised by the inspector who comes for dinner. Strangely the butler is missing (I told you! Igor probably killed him to!). Frankenstein tries to hide this from the inspector and says he sent him to the lab, but why is he acting so suspicious? Does he suspect the monster?

Frankenstein questions Igor about Benson and doesn’t get any answers. That evening Elsa questions Frankenstein and again Frankenstein is SUPER suspicious, Benson is totally dead. They have a heart to heart and Elsa admits that she hates living here and is terrified all the time.

So it appears that Igor is controlling the creature with music, his playing gets Frankenstein’s monster to do his bidding .

Meanwhile another man is murdered and the villager start storming the castle as they blame the family and want to destroy the Frankensteins. The inspector forces them to say inside the castle for their “own safety”.

mob
Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Frankenstein makes it back to the lab and sees Frankenstein sleeping. He knows what the creature has done and tries to kill him, but is stopped by Igor who admits what I knew, Igor was using the creature to get revenge. The two yell at each other and wake up the creature who threatens Frankenstein.

Frankenstein fires Igor and goes home where he is questioned by the inspector. Frankenstein is really is cracking under the pressure and this scene is done very well as t looks insane, especially when he laughs. Just like dead old dad.

You’re crazy! Crazy, am I? We’ll see whether I’m crazy or not. From Frankenstein (1931)

The inspector arrests Frankenstein for the murder of Benson, there is noting to really hold him on as their is no proof but they think by arresting him they can appease the crowd. Dr Frankenstein tells them that Igor is the murderer, and the inspector informs him they suspect Igor but cannot arrest him as there is no proof.

There is no proof Frankenstein did anything and you are arresting him!

Frankenstein is let go and heads back to the lab where he finds Igor, fights him, and shoots him in self defense.

Meanwhile the inspector has been searching the house without permission and discovers a secret passage with Benson’s body in it.

Frankenstein comes home and runs into the inspector. The inspector tells him about Benson and Frankenstein reveals he killed Igor. The inspector believes that Frankenstein brought the monster back and demands he admit it and show him the monster, or else he will give him over to the villagers who will hang him and his family. Seriously, that seems like a gross miscarriage of justice. At least let him have a trial first.

Back in the lab the creature has discovered Igor’s dead body and is furious. He destroys the lab and I have to say, that while this film is alright it would have been much better if we had less Igor and more of the creature.

To get revenge, the creature decides to kidnap and kill Frankenstein’s child. He runs to the house through the secret passage and kills the nanny, kidnaps Frankenstein Jr. Frankenstein and the Inspector discover Frankenstein Jr. missing and take off after him. They save him just in time, knocking the creature deep into the sulfur pits. Once again the creature is dead…at least until the next film.

Frankenstein and family decide to leave, returning to England; giving the home, lab, and property to the community.

Like I said this film was okay, I mean Basil Rathbone was incredible in his role. However I feel it was lacking to the other films, as we hardly had any creature in it and that’s what I’m here for. As much as I love Bela Lugosi, I would much rather have more Creature/Boris Karloff.

For more Frankenstein, go to Did You Ever Consider the Consequences of Your Actions? You Made Me, and You Left Me to Die. Who Am I?: Frankenstein (1994)

For more Bela Lugosi, go to Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

For more Boris Karloff, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

For more Universal Film, go to The Book of the Dead? Are You Sure You Want to Be Playing Around With This Thing? It’s Just a Book. No Harm Ever Came From… Reading a Book.: The Mummy (1999)

The Book of the Dead? Are You Sure You Want to Be Playing Around With This Thing? It’s Just a Book. No Harm Ever Came From… Reading a Book.: The Mummy (1999)

The Book of the Dead? Are you sure you want to be playing around with this thing? It’s just a book. No harm ever came from… reading a book.

I love The Mummy (1932), Boris Karloff is an amazing actor.

And you all know that I don’t like remakes…usually. There are always exceptions, such as this film.

First of all what I think works in this film’s favor is that there is no actual source material. material. The original Mummy was based on the discovery of King Tut‘s tomb and the controversy over “his curse”. It is the only one of the Universal Classic Horror Collection that is not based off of legend, myth, or classical fiction; but was created all on its own. Because of that it is open to a variety of interpretations, allowing the remake to be just as good as the original.

I remember when this movie first came out, I was seven years old and saw trailers on TV and every where. I loved anything with Brendan Fraser (still do).

Look at this man

I didn’t see it in theaters as my mother was afraid it might be too scary for me. I actually first watched the film at SEARS, when my parents were shopping for an appliance. After we both saw scenes from the film, my mom and I had to watch it and rented it from Hollywood Video.

And of course we would also rent the second film when it come out, The Mummy Returns. I also watched The Scorpion King, The Mummy Dragon Empire (not that good), and The Mummy (2017) {extremely terrible}.

I just love this movie. Brendan Fraser at his finest and hottest. Why can’t I find my own one of him?

But enough fangirling, let’s get on to the review!

Anck-su-namun is the mistress/concubine to the Pharaoh and has a love affair with the priest Imhotep (fun fact he was named after an architect of the Stepped Pyramids of Djoser). The pharaoh discovers this and condemns them both to death. Anck-su-namun kills the pharaoh and then herself, in order to save Imhotep.

Imhotep steals her body and tried to bring her back but is stopped befor he could complete the ritual. Instead he is buried alive with scarab beetles. And a curse that he will one day rise again.

Fast forward thousand of years and we have the foreign legion storming through Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead. Something comes (our mummy) that destroys everything with only two survivors. One of which is our very hunky Brendan Fraser as Rick O’Connell. I could just watch him do literally anything for days.

Soooo cute!!!!

Fast forward a few more years to 1923. Tons of treasures have been found by archeologists and everyone is convening in Egypt to dig and make the next big discovery.

At the library, Evelyn “Evie” Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) dreams of being more than just a librarian, she wants to make the next great discovery too! Unfortunately, she often causes trouble as seen when she knocks all the bookshelves over and creates a giant mess of mixed up books. The head of the library is so mad at Evie he wishes for plagues, locusts, flies, etc rather than more of her. Oops, better watch what you say say!

I understand his anger as not only is she lucky she didn’t knock a torch down and burn the whole library (Library of Alexandria Part II), but now they have to go back and reshelve everything.

Speaking of a fire torches, what kind of library would use that when the possibility for it burning everything down is so high.

While Evie is cleaning up her brother Jonathan visits, who is always getting into trouble with some money making scheme and dig. As I said before, Evie wants to become a real “archeologist”, so when her brother shows her his latest acquisition, she is happily surprised to see it is something real! It appears to be a puzzle box with a map to the lost city of Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead. She shows it to her boss who sets it on fire. They save most of it, but are missing a part, all is lost!!! Now why would her boss do that?

However, it turns out that Jonathan did not dig it up but stole it from someone. They go to find the man, and hopefully answers, which leads them to a jail where Rick O’ Connell, is being held. I know she found him in jail, but I don’t care. I would be just as into him as she is, especially after that kiss.

In order to save Rick and find Hamunaptra, they need to free him. Evie tries her best negotiation skills and is finally able to talk the jailer into letting Rick go for 25% of whatever they find.

The next day they meet up and go on their cruise down the river and also discover that they have some competitors. Some Americans who have also hired a man who has been there before.

Hmm…

Unbeknownst to all on the ship a group of Bedouin row to the boat and sneak on.

On the ship Rick and Evie talk and my friend and I would always say this is one is the sexiest scene not meant to be sexy. Brendan Fraser with his sleeves rolled up, gun hostlers, and unrolling his weapon (No innuendo intended). What a fine looking man, no wonder Evie can’t resist him.

Evie can’t stop thinking of the kiss and just has to know why Rick kissed her. She asks him and is expecting something sweet and romantic but all he says is basically, you were there.

He literally could have said anything else and it would have been better.

Seriously!

The Bedouin start causing issues on the ship as they want to stop them from continuing on their trip. I love how Jonathan comes running in and gets the key, knocking the Bedouin guy over. Jonathan is basically Shaggy Rogers with nicer clothes and a British accent.

All our characters make it out okay, with Rick, Evie, and Jonathan ending up on the correct side of the river. They later have to get camels and new clothes, with Evie’s new look causing Rick to give her second, third, fourth, etc glances.

They reach Hamanuptra, but aren’t able to go right away as the sun has to be just right. The two parties race to be the first ones. At one end of the city, the group of Americans are digging in the wrong area, while Evie leads them to the book of Amun-Ra using mirrors.

Rick has completely fallen in love with Evie and steals tools for her to properly dig. Aw what thoughtful gift.

How sweet!

When both find the best place to dig and start in on each other with guns blazing. Before we have a shootout at Hamanuptra, Evie convinces Rick to let it go as there are other places to dig. He immediately listens, what a gentleman.

Evie and her group are trying to get under Anubis and Rick listens to her talk and is interested in everything she says. This is the type of man I need. One who likes listening to me talk about books, history, and art.

Soooo cute!!!!

Their jailer partner has scored some beautiful beetles, lapis lazuli, but they turn out to wake up and attack him.

That night they both groups are attacked by the Bedouin and join forces to try and stay safe. Rick finds it odd that they would be after them as they don’t value riches the same way. Hmm? Evie and Rick stay up practice fighting in case another situation comes up.

Evie and Rick have such a cute scene together as she has been drinking and is really open about what she is feeling. I also like how when she tries to kiss him and passes out he just leaves her alone, such a gentlemen.

In this scene we also learn that Evie and Jonathan are biracial, and as a biracial kid growing up with not a lot of biracial characters on the screen, that’s just another reason why I loved this film.

The “Americans” have found a sealed chest tha has a curse laid upon it. They don’t care about curses and open it anyway. They also find the book of the dead and the organ bottles (although these were just ceremonial as they buried the mummy alive.) The Book of the Dead brings people to life, while the Book of Life sends them to their death.

That’s not good.

Back over at our party’s camp they find Imhotep and all are surprise to discover he hasn’t been decomposing as he is still, as Rick puts it, “juicy”.

That evening all are resting when Evie decides to steal The Book of the Dead and take a look at it, after all it was their spot they were digging in that the other group stole. Rick isn’t so sure, but as a librarian Evie assured him “no harm ever comes from reading a book”. But just as she says that a big giant spooky gust of wind blows-if I was me I would have stopped right there as I have seen enough movies and read enough books to know, something bad is going to happen.

She should not have done that.

She also reads it out loud which I never would have done but in done it in my head keeping the curse from being enacted, but unfortunately she was kind of trying to impress Rick and instead leashed a horror into their world.

He attacks them all and of course the one with the glasses dad is the first to be attacked. The mummy Imhotep takes his eyes which is really odd as he has the worst of the lot (being the only one who wears glasses) like I would have taken a different organ. I bet he has nice inner organs that would be a better choice. And again, man the person with glasses is the one who further loses his sight. Poor guy.

Scarab beetles come shooting out and our team finds themselves running in fear for their lives. Evie ends up activating a secret passageway and finding our eyeless American and mummy.

Imhotep calls her Anck-su-namun and decides to use her body to resurrect his lost love.

Rick and Konathan are trying to find her when a bunch of scary beetles attack. They run and luckily Rick finds Evie and the mummy, shooting him with a shotgun.

On their way out they are run into the Bedouins who warn them of the evil they released. They encourage them to leave as they will try to hunt him down, although Rick is certain he killed him. Unfortunately, no mortal weapons will work on him.

Back in the fort Rick wants to Evie and him to leave, but she wants to save the world. Rick gives Evie an ultimatum, but she chooses the world over him. Meanwhile, the other solider who survived and was leading the Americans, Benny” has been employed by Imhotep, and seeks out those who opened the chest to continue the stealing of the organs.

And while that is happening, Imhotep has also released the curse of the mummy awakening, it being the 10 plagues of Egypt. The water turning to blood, hail, fire form the sky, etc. it’s an interesting choice as the plagues of Egypt are so powerful and easy to visualize; along with the fact that Universal made The Ten Commandments and has it in their repertoire. As a lore choice though, this is odd as God choose the plagues specifically to show his power over the Egyptian gods and every plague is specific to counter one of their gods. So it seems odd that something that was used to refute the Egyptian gods is being used by a priest who worships those gods.

The mummy attacks Evie and all seems it might be lost as nothing works, however a cat comes and scares him away. See cats are always good to have around.

Evie needs answers and goes to see her old boss who turns out to be a member of the secret society who is dedicated to keeping Imhotep from ever awaking. He tells them that until Imhotep has consumed all the people who opens the chest he will fear cats and they can be used to stop him.

The professor also reveals that Imhotep needs a human sacrifice in order to bring his lady love back to life. They decide they need to find the Americans as Imhotep is hunting them down; along with to protecting them and Evie. Rick leaves the Americans he has already found and Evie together, while he searches for the remaining one, the Professor. Meanwhile the glasses guy is dead. Rick finds the professor too late as well.

The rest of the American group isn’t long for this world as they make terrible decisions. Imhotep goes after Evie by turning himself into sand and trying to seduce her, but Rick saves the day by bringing in a cat. See cats are super important, everyone should have one just in case.

The remaining players regroup as they have a new idea. Find the Book of Life and send Imhotep away. They head to the Museum of Antiquities to discover where the book of life could be hidden, but as they are searching for answers, Imhotep approaches with a zombie army.

Zombies from Night of the Living Dead

While the zombies converge on them, Jonathan leaves the others to the researching while he tries to get their getaway car ready, pretending to be a zombie. Jonathan is like a live action Scooby-Doo character.

They try to get away but the zombie army is too much. They are out of options and Evie goes off with Imhotep after he promises to let her friends go. But of course he reneges on his promise, seriously Evie that never works. Good thing Rick is there as he spots the sewer and uses it as an escape route. Jonathan worries about his sister, but Rick promises he will get her back. Of course, that’s his lady love.

How sweet!

The remaining group finds Rick’s old friend and pilot Winston who has hated retired life, wishing he died in the glory of war like his contemporaries. They recruit him and head to Hamunaptra to try and save Evie.

Imhotep spots the plane and creates a giant sandstorm with his face in it. This scene is awesome and the first one I ever saw, making me desperate to watch the film. In order to save her group, Evie takes one for the team and kisses Imhotep to distract him.

All I can think is, he probably has really bad breath .

Winston dies, getting exactly what he wanted: going out in a blaze of glory. The rest of our adventurers get to the city and start digging for the book of life to stop him. Of course Imhotep can’t have that and they have to try and battle scarab beetles, Imhotep’s mummified priests, and more. These last scenes are fantastic as the action is great and the CGI/animatronics are still really really good.

They find the book and it’s up to Jonathan, who only had a mild interest in his Egyptian roots to save them as he needs to speak the words. While he’s trying to remember everything, Imhotep has begun the ritual to bring his love back. Rick tried to help Evie and distract Imhotep, using an awesome sword he discovered that can hurt mummies.

Jonathan tried to stop the mummy and accidentally awakens more mummies, and if that wasn’t enough drama, Anuk-Su-Mun attacks Evie. There is a lot happening and the only one who can fix everything is not that reliable Jonathan.

Being biracial myself I really have always love this movie for showing biracial characters and I really like this scene with Jonathan struggling with speaking Egyptian. I can easily relate as my Spanish is okay, but when I’m stressed or in a new situation my mind will go blank.

From Clueless

Thanks to Evie’s help he is able to figure out the last word and ends the ritual.

Imhotep tries to kill Jonathan, but Rick saves him with his sword. Imhotep focuses on Rick so much he doesn’t even feel the lift that Jonathan does, making him able to steal the key, open the book to the page needed, and take away Imhotep’s immortality with Rick ending him.

Benni I has found the treasure room and been loading up all the camels to take them with him, but unfortunately due to his greed he takes more than he should engages the self destruct button of the pyramid. Our trio runs away, and are even nice enough to try and save the traitorous coward, but it is no use. Everything collapses and closes.

Our group get on the camels and discover they have all kinds of riches, but Rick and Evie don’t care as they found something more important, each other.

How sweet!
1999themummy

And that ends The Mummy, one fantastic movie I highly recommend.

For more on The Mummy (1999), go to Heaven on Earth: 13 of the Best Fictional Libraries

For more mummy movies, go to Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters: The Mummy (2017)

For more Rachel Weisz, go to I Was Here For A Moment. And Then I Was Gone: The Lovely Bones (2009)

For more remakes, go to I’m Not Special, I’m a Monster!: Firestarter (2022)

Welcome to a New World of Gods and Monsters: The Mummy (2017)

Welcome to a new world of gods and monsters.

So I love The Mummy (1932)

And The Mummy (1999)

But this one was horrible!

Ugh.

The plot made no sense at all!!!

Help me! I’m confused!

There was no cool Egyptian stuff or history or action at all. It didn’t even take place in Egypt but in England!

And they threw in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and didn’t explain why:

This is pretty much how I felt through the whole film:

It was just horrible from beginning to end, didn’t explain, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. I’d rather watch him:

Or him:

Or her:

Or her:

Any day.

To start Horrorfest VI from the beginning, go to One of Our Guests is a Werewolf, I Know It.: The Beast Must Die (1974)

For the previous post, go to What Do They Want You For? Murder: Silver Streak (1976)

For more mummy films, go to A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

For more Tom Cruise, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

For The Mummy (1932), go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket: The Mummy (1932)

For more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, go to Man-Bat: On Leather Wings, Batman the Animated Series (1992)

For more sucky films, go to Have You Seen Megan Hipwell?: The Girl On the Train (2016)

For more sucky remakes, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch

I LOVE the Grinch.

I love it

Out of all the Dr. Seuss books, this was the one I used to read over and over and over again. I just couldn’t get enough of that grumpy grinch.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th....

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

One year I even ate a ton of a certain type of cereal just to send away for a special Grinch keychain.

So of course one of my all-time holiday favorites is to watch the How the Grinch Stole Christmas the 1960s version.

howthegrinchstolechristmas

It was a great animated feature with Boris Karloff narrating. Besides just fantastically bringing to life the Seussian story, it has one fantastic song.

This song was written by Dr. Seuss, composed by Albert Hague, and sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.

So much awesome. This song just embodies who he is.

I’m so glad they brought back for the live action film, which I also went to see as soon as it was out in theaters, this version being covered by Jim Carrey.

Say what you want about that movie but man was the makeup fantastic! He looks just like the illustration!

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For more on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

For more on Dr. Seuss, go to It’s A Fan World After All

For more Christmas carols, go to A Real Life Saver

25 More Films of Christmas

Bishop's wife christmas tree

So two years ago I tried to do a Christmas countdown, the 12 Posts of Christmas, but I discovered that it is really difficult as you get involved in Christmas activities. So last year I decided to make it easier on myself and did a singular post listing 25 of my favorite films that were either classified as Christmas movies or had a Christmas scene in it. Since it worked so great last year, I decided why not do it again? So here are 25 more films of Christmas! (Once again these aren’t my my top favorite 25, but randomly picked and then rearranged them in the order of how I love them.

Holly

25) Holiday (1938)

Poster - Holiday (1938)_06

Holiday (1938) is a remake of the 1930 film. In it Johnny Case (Cary Grant), a self-made man, is heading to his fiancé Julia Seton’s house for the holidays. While on the surface the two appreared perfect for each other, as Johnny spends more time at the Seton household he finds himself having more in common with Julia’s younger sister, Linda (Katherine Hepburn). Johnny now finds himself in a dilemma, should he honor the commitment he made to Julia? Or should he try to find love with another?

Why it’s Great: Hepburn and Grant made four films together, and anytime you have these two paired up you have pure gold. Grant is his attractive, charming, and at times comical self. Hepburn is the silly, comedic, oddball, and modern woman that she always does great at. A fun film. Plus those scenes of Grant tumbling? Priceless.

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24) The Polar Express (2004)

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The Polar Express is based on the short book of the same name. In the 1950s, a little boy, no longer believes in Santa Claus. On Christmas Eve, he hears something outside and goes aboard the Polar Express, the train that heads right up to the North Pole and Santa’s home. He makes new friends on the train, helps control the train, meets a ghost hobo who tries to teach him morals, and ends up in the North Pole coming face to face with Santa Claus.

Why it’s Great: This is a cute kid’s movie. Tom Hanks is pretty amazing at how he plays almost every character in the film. The kids are cute, especially the geeky, know-it-all tattletale. He makes me laugh. It has a good message of faith, believing, leading, etc. It also has a couple great songs: The Polar Express and When Christmas Comes to Town. It does have a few problems though. Mainly it suffers from the same issues all small picture book film adaptions face, extra content to fill the time block. There are a lot  of unnecessary songs, characters, and scenes; that if they had been culled would have resulted in a stronger film. But on the whole it is a cute, family, Christmas film.

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23) Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)

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The sequel to Home Alone (see #2 on the list). Home Alone 2 has Kevin McCallister once again finding himself spending Christmas on his own, but this time he’s in New York! How did this happen? Well this year instead of going to France, the McCallister clan is heading to Florida. Once again they find themselves running late to the airport (but this time being sure they have Kevin) and have to run to catch their flight. Kevin stops for a moment to get batteries out of his dad’s bag and accidentally follows the wrong man onto a plane to New York City. He starts living it large at the Plaza and using all his dad’s credit cards and cash (as he has his bag). Everything goes well, until he runs into the two thieves he harassed the year before and sent to prison. They come after him, but luckily he has rigged his uncle’s townhouse into one giant trap.

Why it’s Great: I have to say how he gets alone again was done really clever. The scenes of him just spending the dough and buying pizza, ice-cream, going on huge toy shopping trips, etc is fantastic. That was all the things that kids wished they could be able to do. Tim Curry plays the hotel manager who notices the lack of an adult and is awesome in being evil and trying to trip Kevin up. Unfortunately, the second half the film falls a little flat. I mean what are the odds of the thieves running into Kevin in New York City? There are a gajillion people who live there. Also the traps aren’t as clever as in the original film. It wasn’t nearly as great as the original, but still one fun holiday film.

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22) Elf (2003)

Go here to see who you are

Go here to see who you are

One Christmas a baby boy accidentally gets on to Santa Claus’ sled and is transported to the North Pole. One of the elves adopts him and raises him as his own child, naming him Buddy. One day, Buddy overhears some elves mention he is a human. He goes to his elf father and discovers the story of his adoption. They tell him who is real father is, and Buddy travels to New York City to meet him. When he firsts meets his father Walter Hobbs (James Caan), Walter doesn’t believe Buddy’s story to be true. After a DNA test confirms it, Buddy is introduced to the family. Buddy befriends his stepmother, stepbrother, and makes new friends. However, he doesn’t fit in well with “humans” and after an argument with his dad, decides to return to the North Pole. On his way he runs into Santa who is having trouble using his sleigh and magic as people don’t believe in him anymore. Now Buddy has a bigger problem to solve. How can he save Santa?

Why it’s Great: Now let me say that I am not that big a fan of Will Ferrell. I only like a few of his films, and this is one of those. The story is silly, but the reason it works is that Ferrell goes all in to the character of Buddy. Unlike everyone I know, I do not watch it over and over, but I do think it is definitely worth checking out and viewing around the holidays. And I do have to agree that I am as crazy about Christmas as Buddy.

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21) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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Dr. Seuss’ beloved book finds itself heading to the big screen with Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Jim Carrey plays the Grinch, the beloved grump who hates the Whos and hates Christmas. He terrorizes Whoville, and all are afraid of him. Except one girl, Cindy Lou Who. Cindy Lou is eager to find out all she can about the Grinch and why he is the way he is. She discovers his sad childhood and decides making him the Holiday Cheermister will repair everything. When her idea has disastrous results, the Grinch decides to head down to Whoville and steal Christmas.

Why it’s Great: Jim Carrey really is the only reason why the film is great. Like The Polar Express, it suffers from being stuffed with extra scenes, characters, and things not needed in order to fill the time block. And I absolutely hate the song “Where Are You Christmas?” But as I said, Jim Carrey is a great Grinch. His makeup is amazing, I mean look at him! He’s looks just like the illustration. The backstory of why he is mean loses ground, but the film really picks up once he starts stealing Christmas. I love how they illustrate the song and copy the scenes from the original film. It’s worth watching the film to see that scene. It may not be as great as the Boris Karloff version, but it is still a fun Christmas film.

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20) The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

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This is the sequel to The Santa Clause (see below #6). Eight years has passed since the original film and Scott Calvin, AKA Santa Claus, has just discovered that if he is to remain being Santa Claus he has to have a Mrs. Claus. Scott also discovers that Charlie has been having a lot of problems and and acting up. So the elves create a robot Santa to fill in for him, and Scott heads back home. He stays with his ex-wife’s family, trying to reach Charlie, and becoming an uncle figure to Charlie’s sister Lucy. When talking to Charlie’s principal he finds himself falling for her, but will she believe him and go with him back to the North Pole? Also, while Scott has been gone, his robo-Santa has become and evil dictator. Will Scott be able to stop him in time to save Christmas?

Why it’s Great: I like how this film deals with real issues. Charlie is having problems as he misses his father, has the stress of having to lie about his dad’s job, etc. I loved how realistic it was as this are issues a boy who’s father has to be away for his job would actually deal with. I also enjoy the scenes of Scott and Principal Carol Newman. There were real dates and actually showed them falling in love over a period of time, it wasn’t instantaneous. And the Principal’s reaction to “I’m Santa” talk was completely real. Some scenes are definitely cheesy and silly, but I have to say this is one of the better Disney sequels and one great film to watch at Christmas.

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19) The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)

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So this film is part of the Veggietales series. Veggietales was a series of Christian films that lasted 30 mins and told two stories that were either a retelling of a bible story or had a strong biblical message. And all the characters were fruits and veggies! The Toy That Saved Christmas was the first Christmas Veggietale video and starts with a green onion, Grandpa George, telling his granddaughter Annie a Christmas story. In the Veggietown (or wherever they live), December is here which means CHRISTMAS!!! All the kids are excited. They see a commercial on TV for a new toy Buzz Saw Louie and everyone wants them. Besides having a saw, Louie talks and tells people that the true meaning of Christmas is getting stuff. This was planned by the toy factory owner as he wants to sell more toys. When more Louies are being made, something happens to one, and it comes to life. It starts to wonder if getting stuff is the true meaning of Christmas. Louie escapes from the factory and gets stuck in the snow. The next day Bob the tomato, Larry the cucumber, and Junior the asparagus all go sledding and come upon the toy. They also run into Grandpa George who tells them the true meaning of Christmas. After the hear the message they want to tell the world the good news? But how? They get the idea to use the factory owner’s equipment and make a commercial. Will their plan work? Will everyone get to know the true meaning of Christmas?

Why it’s Great: It is an incredibly funny and adorable film. This is one that my family has to watch every year. Besides the comedy, adventure, and fun it also has a lot of great songs. One of my favorites is Can’t Believe It’s Christmas! as it truly captures being a kid excited about the holiday. And then there is the hilarious silly song Oh Santa!If you don’t watch the film at least check out that song.

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18) Lady and the Tramp (1955)

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The classic story of a rich girl who meets a boy from the wrong side of the tracks with one major difference-dogs! Lady is a cocker spaniel is a Christmas gift to “Darling” by her husband Jim “Dear”. She grows up in the household, becoming a real “Lady”. Everything changes when Darling gets pregnant. With a baby coming Lady is unsure of what her life will be like. The baby comes and Lady realizes that she loves him as much as her other masters. Things seem to be great until Darling and Jim Dear have to go away on business. Jim Dear’s Aunt Sarah comes to watch the baby, and brings along her two siamese cats that cause problems for Lady, and gets her a muzzle. Lady embarrassed, scared, and confused; runs away and straight into a mutt, Tramp, from the other side of town. He not only frees her, but the two have a romantic dinner, a moonlit walk in the park, etc. However, when the Tramp gets Lady to chase chickens, she winds up being sent to the dog pound. There she hears all about Tramp’s sordid past. She is freed from the pound but chained up outside by Aunt Sarah. The Tramp visits to apologize, but Lady won’t hear anything. Then a rat tries to get into the nursery. Will Lady be able to save the baby? Will Lady and the Tramp get back together?

Why it’s Great: It is an old story that has been done before, but the choice of dogs is great. I love how the dog thinks Jim Dear and Darling are their real names as that is only what she hears, and there are also some great dogisms. The We Are Siamese song is really catchy and the pasta scene is just adorable. This film actually has two Christmases in it; one when Lady is first introduced, and the second at the end of the film. Making this a great film to see round the holidays or any time of the year.

For more on Lady and the Tramp, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

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17) Chasing Christmas (2005)

Chasing Christmas

This abcFamily film, part of the 25 Days ’til Christmas countdown, tells the story of A Christmas Carol in a completely new way. Jack Cameron is a modern day Scrooge. He caught his wife with another man at his daughter’s Christmas play. Not only is the marriage over, but so is his love for Christmas and Christmas spirit. At the Bureau of Yuletide Affairs (BYA) the company is reviewing which holiday grumps need a little Dickens spirit. He assigns Christmas Past (Leslie Jordan) and Present (Andrea Roth) to take care of him. Past has started to become disgruntled with life. Every year it is the same thing over and over again. So he decides to do something about it. After taking Jack to his childhood in the ’60s he knocks him out and takes off. Present is then sent back to catch Past and help Jack find his Christmas spirit. As they travel through time Jack discovers a lot about himself and his family. When they reach the ’70s, they accidentally break their time machine and are desperate to find Past in order to get back to the future. Will they ever catch up to Christmas Past? Or are they doomed to stay in the ’70s? And more importantly, will  they be able to save Jack’s love of Christmas?

Why it’s Great: The twist on the classic is extremely hilarious, fun, and adorable. In fact, the film is almost a parody of all the films and TV episodes that rip of Dickens’ work. The characters are lovable as you have the sarcastic, unhappy, stick-in-a-rut Past that wants to relive the good times instead of just visiting. Then there is Jack, the average guy who gets pulled into this adventure and really starts having a great time.  Then there is Present, who knows nothing about the past and has to educated by Jack. This is actually pretty adorable, as it awakens his love for different things as he explains why they are important or special. A truly great film, loosely based on one great book.

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16) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

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The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer started out as a short poem, then transformed into the hit song, and ultimately (like everything) found its way into film. Rudolph is the son of Santa’s flying Reindeer Donner. Everyone bullies him and doesn’t want him around because he has a blinking, red nose. Rudolph ends up not being able to deal with it and runs away, hoping to find a place for misfits. As he heads out, he runs into an elf named Hermy. Hermy is also a misfit as he doesn’t want to make toys, sing carols, or other elf-y things; he wants to be a dentist. As the two journey out they run into a miner named Yukon Cornelius, hunting for silver and gold, who joins up with them. They have to fight the Abominable Snow Monster, when running from him they hitch a ride on ice and end up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph, conscious that his nose almost got them attacked by Abominable, he takes off on his own. He later returns home to find that his family has been captured by the Abominable Snow Monster while searching for him. It’s up to the team to save them from the monster. Everything seems like it is going to be a great Christmas until the fog rolls in and Santa won’t be able to see where he is flying. That is until Rudolph steps up to the plate.

Why it’s Great: My earliest memory of this cartoon was when I was three years old. My family was visiting my aunt’s house, and being kids, us cousins were running around everywhere. I ran smack into my cousin Sean, and began bawling. I was bruised, so I did have a reason to be sad, but I wouldn’t stop crying. I kept going and going, until my mom told me that I could watch Rudolph if I stopped crying. I stopped immediately. My favorite character as a kid actually wasn’t Rudolph. I loved Yukon as I thought he was hilarious and I loved Hermy as I too wanted to be a dentist (which everyone thought was weird). Watching it as an adult, I still love it. Happy Anniversary Rudolph! Here’s to another 50 years!

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15) Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too (1991)

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It’s Christmas time at the Hundred Acre Woods and Christopher Robin is writing a letter to Santa Claus. As he is finishing the letter, asking for a sled big enough for him and a friend, he asks each one of his friends what they want for Christmas. Rabbit needs a new fly swatter; Tigger a snowshoe for his tail; Eeyore an umbrella to keep snow off his house; and Piglet asks for whatever Santa wants to give him. Christopher Robin sends his letter off into the wind and to Santa. The next day, Christmas Eve, Winnie-the-Pooh is drawing his Christmas tree on the wall when Piglet comes in and tells him that Pooh forgot to ask Santa for something. They chase after the letter, find it, and take it to Rabbit’s house to add on Pooh’s request for honey. As they are doing that everyone asks for an upgraded present: Rabbit a super bug sprayer, Tigger a special bouncing boot, and Eeyore a mobile home. They send the letter out, but when Pooh gets home a southern wind has sent the letter the same way. Pooh and Piglet don’t want Christmas ruined so they set out to fix everything. They try to create the gifts asked, suit up, and head out. Will their homemade gifts work? Will Christmas be ruined? Or will everything turn out just right?

Why it’s Great: First of all it’s Winnie-the-Pooh. Secondly, the story is amazingly sweet. Once Pooh realizes that Christmas might be ruined, he tries to do everything in his power to make it right. A great story of friendship, love, and Christmas!

For more on Winnie the Pooh, go to Heartbreak Hotel

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14) Christmas Every Day (1996)

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Billy hates Christmas! For him it is always the worst day of the year and this one is no different. It starts off with him tripping, his uncle coming to visit and crashing into the garage, the pies burn, he misses his basketball shot, he loses the jellybean thousand dollar contest, messes up the Christmas pageant, and gets socked in the eye. To top it off, his uncle is bringing his monster conglomerate store, Value Mart to town, and will be putting all the smaller businesses, (including his dad’s store) out of business. Billy sarcastically wishes it was Christmas everyday, and gets his wish granted. At first he is in denial, then he makes it the most selfish Christmas, then tries to make it the most unselfish Christmas, but still remains stuck in the day. After he has been going through all those days, he finally stops thinking about himself, but tries to make it the best Christmas for his friends and family. Will it be the best? Will he finally get to December 26th? Will he be able to stop his uncle from bringing in his Value Mart?

Why it’s Great: My sister and I loved this movie so much. We would watch it every year on the 25 Days ’til Christmas until they stopped showing it. I just rewatched it a week ago and love it as much now as I did then. I thought Billy was pretty realistic in how he dealt with being stuck in Christmas, sort of the preteen version of Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day. He gets over his Christmas hate much quicker than in Groundhog’s Day, but he is a kid and hasn’t been jaded as long. The best part, of course, is the fact how Billy learns from his past mistakes, and ultimately does create the best Christmas for himself and everyone.

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13) Batman Returns (1992)

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The Joker may be gone, but Batman is back to the big screen in his film Batman Returns. It’s Christmas time in Gotham, but even though it is supposed to be a time of good cheer, crime still abounds in the city. Oswald Cobblepot (Danny DeVito), who as a baby was thrown down the sewers by his rich parents because of his deformity only to be saved and raised by penguins, has returned 33 years later as the Penguin and leader of the Red Triangle Circus Gang. He kidnaps businessman, Max Shreck (played by Christopher Walken) and blackmails him about his dirty business dealings into making the Penguin a citizen of Gotham. Shreck agrees and promises to do even better, promising to make the Penguin mayor. Shreck has some plans he wants to put in motion, but knows the current mayor would not approve. Unfortunately, Shreck’s secretary, meek Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) has discovered them. Shreck does the only thing he thinks he can do, he kills her by throwing her out the window. Unbeknownst to him, Selina is revived by nine cats and granted “9 lives.” She goes home having fully transformed in her personality, creating a black leather outfit, and becoming Catwoman. She returns to work for Shreck, planning on destroying him when he least expects it, and runs into Bruce Wayne. The two begin dating, while at night their alter egos begin fighting. The penguin and Catwoman team up to destroy Batman. They sully his reputation, but Batman is able to outwit the Penguin and disgrace him. Upset, the Penguin renounces humanity and kidnaps the first sons of all the wealthy families of Gotham during Shreck’s annual Christmas party. Bruce takes Selina as his date to the party and the two discover that they are Batman and Catwoman. What does this mean to their relationship? Will Batman be able to stop the Penguin? Will Catwoman get her revenge?

Why it’s Great: So Christmas does play a role in this film as a little more than a backdrop. There is a line about mistletoe that is the key in discovering each other’s identities. When Batman and Catwoman are fighting the first time Batman says, “You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.” In which Catwoman replies, “But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” When Bruce and Selina are at the party, Selina tells Bruce ,“You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.” In which Bruce replies, “But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.” But that’s not the reason why I like this film. First of all Michael Keaton has to be my favorite Batman, he just gets the stoic and serious, along with debonair and slightly fun side correct. I mean out of all the actors I think he captured the duality of Batman’s character the most. Then we have Michelle Pfeiffer who has been the best Catwoman to date. Morally ambiguous, vengeful, focused on her goals, but still having a heart of gold. No one could have played her better. Plus Christopher Walken as the bad guy? Perfect. The only thing I don’t like is that the Penguin was much sillier than I would have had him be. Danny DeVito did a great job and he looked great, but a lot of his lines and obsession with birds of all kinds were just a bit too silly. Otherwise, this is one great film to watch anytime.

For more on Batman Returns, go to Fanning All Over the Place

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12) The Year Without a Santa Claus (1975)

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Santa Claus is sick and tired, and has decided that he does not want to do Christmas anymore. After all, no one believes in him anymore. Mrs. Claus is determined to prove Santa wrong and sends out two elves, Jingle and Jangle. The two get into some scrapes and end up in Southtown, USA. Their mistakes cause Santa to come down and try and help out. The two elves and a small Southtown boy, Ignatius, end up getting the Mayor to agree to giving Santa a holiday, only if it snows in Southtown. The chance of that happening, -100%. The elves go to Snow Miser, but he it isn’t his territory and he can’t do it unless his stepbrother Heat Miser agrees. Heat Miser will only let them, IF he gets the North Pole. Something that Snow Miser will never give up. Will they be able to get the two to compromise? Will Santa get his holiday? Will we have a year without Santa Claus?

Why it’s Great: This is a cute film that tries to revitalize the Christmas spirit. It has some great numbers like the Miser Brothers’ SongI Believe in Santa Claus, I’ll Have a Blue Christmas, and Here Comes Santa Claus. A cute film that old and young will love.

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11) The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow (1975)

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In The First Christmas: The Story of the First Christmas Snow, Lucas a shepherd boy is blinded by lightening. Nearby is the nunnery, who takes in the orphan boy. He befriends a girl Lisa, who helps him. Sister Theresa, one of the nuns, takes care of Lucas, even describing the snow that wishes would come. Lucas is chosen to be an angel in the play, and as it starts snowing, a Christmas miracle occurs. The snow falls in Lucas’ eyes and grant him back his sight. He remains with the nuns and the priest, finally having a family.

Why it’s Great: This is a cute and cuddly Christmas film with great songs. You’ll enjoy this half hour production, along with their version of White Christmas and The First White Christmas. It is a great addition to your Christmas lineup.

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10) Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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Sam Field is a millionaire who is trying to negotiate the biggest deal of his life with Javier Del Campo. The only problem, Del Campo only likes to do business with family-orientated people, and Sam is a confirmed bachelor. He hires a family to pretend to be his, but that doesn’t work out very well, and he is unsure of what to do. Enter Kathleen, single mother and worker at Sam’s plant. She is trying to save up money to buy a house, but so far does not have as much as she needs. A chance meeting, winds up with Kathleen and her daughter Zooey pretending to be his family for a few days, which expands into weeks as Del Campo wants to spend Christmas with the Fields. As they spend more time together; Sam, Kathleen, and Zooey all learn more about family and learning to love again.

Why it’s Great: I love this film sooooo much. It’s one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. I will not go to far into it, as I have written a separate blog post on it that you should check out.

For more on Borrowed Hearts, go to On the 9th Day ‘Til Christmas: Borrowed Hearts (1997)

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9) Rise of the Guardians (2012)

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In Rise of the Guardians, Jack Frost (played by Chris Pine), is created in the depths of a pond and suffers from amnesia. He doesn’t know how or why he was created, but just goes around having fun. One day Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) discovers that the Boogeyman Pitch, has returned and notifies the other Guardians: Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Australian Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Sandman. They learn that their creator, the Man in the Moon, has chosen Jack Frost to join them as a Guardian of Children. Pitch goes about trying to destroy the children’s beliefs in these characters, and attacks the Tooth Fairy’s home, stealing her helpers. The other Guardians pitch in to help her out, doing the same for the Easter Bunny. Will they be able to defeat the Pitch? Will Jack finally learn who he is and why he was chosen? Will they secure the children’s belief in Jack Frost, Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sandman?

Why it’s Great: When the film first came out, I thought it would be really dumb, but then I saw it and loved it. It is funny, cute, sweet, everything you’d want in a family film. The characters are amazing and just perfect as they bring your childhood to life. I just love this film and could watch it over and over.

For more on Rise of the Guardians, go to Dreaming of the Sandman 

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8) Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

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It tells the story of the Robinson family, (they are Swiss), who are traveling to New Guniea but end up getting stuck in a storm, abandoned, and stranded on their broken ship. They pack up every bit of supplies they can and travel to the nearest place, a little island. The family consists of the father, mother, and three boys; Fritz (my fav the cute one), Ernst (the smart one), and Francis (the baby). The family creates a tree house and lives on the island going through many adventures; dealing with wild animals, saving a young teen, fighting pirates, etc.

Why it’s Great: This was a favorite of mine as a kid, although more beloved by my sister than me. It has everything you could want: action, adventure, pirates, etc. Plus, like Supernatural, you have your pick of which brother to chose from. Do you like a brawny man of action? Or are you more interested in a thinker and planner? And let’s not forget their amazing treehouse. I wanted one like it so bad growing up. It used to be in Disneyland, but they replaced it with Tarzan. And yes, this film does have Christmas in it. The Robinson family has sent out Ernst and Fritz to explore the island, and are sad that they won’t all be together for Christmas. The boys surprise them with a zebra for Francis, and a rescued hostage. It is classic Disney at its best, and a worthwhile checkout any time of the year.

For more on the Swiss Family Robinson, go to Snakes on a Post: Chinese New Year

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7) Jingle All the Way

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Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a workaholic. His wife and child are very upset with him, and the only way he can get back in their good graces is to pick up a Turbo-Man doll. Only problem is, EVERYONE wants one and EVERYONE is sold out. This causes him to go on one crazy adventure involving a faux toy factory, a postal postman, a mall doing a Hunger Games to sell off their remaining doll, battling a reindeer, storming a radio station, bombs, fistfights, etc. Howard even goes as far as replacing Turbo-Man in the Christmas parade in order to try to get a doll. Will he be able to do it? Will his family be reunited for Christmas?

Why it’s Great:  This movie is so freakin’ hilarious. I just love it so much. All the crazy things that happen to Howard as he tries to achieve success in his quest to get the doll. And that end fight scene is just great. A true holiday classic that I watch every year I can.

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6) The Santa Clause

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Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) is a self-absorbed and selfish toy designer. This Christmas Eve he gets to have his son spend the holiday with him, while his ex-wife and her husband celebrate elsewhere. Of course he is not only extremely late (too much partying at the office), but he burns their Christmas Eve dinner. Things are not going as planned. That night Charlie hears something, and the two go out to investigate, surprising Santa and causing him to fall off the roof! Scott puts on the suit, and the two go out to deliver the gifts. After the deed is done, Scott discovers that when he put on the suit he entered a clause, that is a decree, making him the new Santa. He doesn’t believe it, but as the year passes, his body starts to become more Santa-like. Will he have enough faith to become Santa? Will he be able to change his ways so he can be more like Santa?

Why it’s Great: Like Borrowed Hearts I have done a post on this, so I’m not going to talk too much aout it. It is a truly hilarious movie with some truly memorable lines and scenes. I love this movie so much that I don’t even always wait for Christmas to watch it. Defintely worth seeing again and again.

For more on The Santa Clause, go to On the 11 Day ‘Til Christmas: The Santa Clause (1994)

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4) Christmas With the Kranks (2004)

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Based on the John Grisham novel, Christmas with the Kranks shows how one can never truly skip Christmas. After Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) discover that their beloved daughter Blair won’t be coming home for Christmas, they decide to forget it entirely. No decorations, no Christmas cards, no Christmas party, no Christmas tree, zip. Instead, the two will go on a lovely cruise. It starts out a great plan, until they start getting upsetting calls from the neighbors who want to win the best decorated street contest; tickets from policemen who are used to them buying multiple calendars, charities who expect their yearly donation, etc. As they are getting ready to go on Christmas Eve, they get a call from Blair who is surprising them by flying home-with a fiancé. They have to rely on their neighbors for help in making this the greatest Christmas ever.

Why it’s Great: I just realized that this is the third Tim Allen movie on this list. Guess it was a good thing I decided to save Toy Story for another time, or else there would be four. Anyways this is just a hilarious film, from beginning to end. Grisham is a true master and the actors really bring his work to life. This is a truly great addition to you Christmas lineup as it is funny, heartwarming, and covers the true meaning of Christmas.

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3) Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas

A film based on the real life of gangster turned FBI witness, Henry Hill. Half-Italian, half-Irish; Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) has always wanted to be a gangster. He is taken under the wing of mob-boss Paul “Paulie” Cicero, to work under James “Jimmy the Gent” Conway (Robert De Niro) alongside Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci). The trio hijack cars, commit insurance fraud, and the famous 1967 Air France Robbery. They spend most of their time at the Copacabana, hanging out with women. Hill meets Karen, Jewish and upper class, and the two eventually marry. At first Karen is alarmed at Hill’s lifestyle, but eventually becomes enamored with the perks. They continue to live the criminal lifestyle, ultimately having to serve a stint in prison. There Hill discovers how “real” money can be made in drugs, and his life starts to take some real twists and turns.

Why it’s Great: Now this film isn’t for everyone, but if you are a fan of the gangster genre then you need to check this out. It covers the life of Hill pretty accurately, and of course the actors they chose are just amazing-De Niro, Liotta, & Pesci. In fact if this wasn’t a Christmas list countdown, I probably would have it even higher. And for the Christmas part of the film, well this is no Christmas film but the holiday does play into a crucial part of the film. My friends and I used to have “gangster film and spaghetti” parties, with this one always being one of the main courses.

For more on Goodfellas, go to Sucky Sequels: Mean Girls 2 (2011)

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2) Home Alone (1990)

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Kevin McCallister’s whole family is getting ready to fly to Paris for Christmas, spending the holidays with his uncle and aunt. The night before they leave, Kevin is punished (unfairly) to sleep up in the attic by himself, where he makes a wish that his family would just disappear. When a tree limb crashes on the powerline, the McCallister’s find themselves waking up late and rushing out the door to the airport, in order to catch their plane. And…completely forgetting Kevin. At first being home alone is just fun and games, but when two robbers try to get into his house, Kevin finds himself defending it, in very imaginative ways.

Why it’s Great: This movie became so popular, almost every family pic after it tried to recreate it’s success. It is funny, memorable, and the scenes where Kevin is just wolfing down junk food was every kid’s dream. It is one fantastic movie, great for Christmas or anytime you want a laugh.

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1) Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (1970)

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In Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, postman Special Delivery Klugman (Fred Astaire) is prepared to answer all questions about Santa Claus. In Sombertown, the Burgermeister Meisterburger discovers a baby on his doorstep, with a tag saying Claus. He sends one of his stooges to take the baby to the orphanage, but a wind blows the baby away. The forest creatures take the baby to the elf family Kringle, where he is raised as one of their own, Kris Kringle. The Kringles used to be toymakers for the King, but an evil man, the Winter Warlock, keeps them from continuing this tradition. Kris resolves that when he is old enough, he will brave the forest and Warlock, in order to give their toys to the children in the nearby town. He manages to slip the Warlock and heads to the town. Unbeknownst to Kris, toys are outlawed in Sombertown. He meets the school teacher, Jessica, and convinces them all to take toys. Kris almost gets arrested, but runs away, only to be captured by the Winter Warlock. When he gives the Warlock a gift, it melts his icy heart and removes his evil. Winter Warlock teaches Kris a few tricks, like magic snowballs that allow you to watch anyone. Kris keeps coming back and giving more toys, first handing them out to kids, then leaving them at night, lastly putting them in the children’s stockings. The Burgermeister Meisterburger lays a trap and catches Kris. In order to free him, Jessica gets the Winter Warlock to give reindeer his flying corn, and thus Kris’ eight flying reindeer were born. Jessica and Kris get married and move to the North Pole, Kris reverting to his given name of Claus.

Why it’s Great: This film is absolutely adorable and Christmas is never the same without at least one viewing of this film.

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Merry Christmas All!

ChristmasfromJaneAusten

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For more on Christmas, go to O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

For more on Christmas movies, go to 25 Films of Christmas

For more quizzes, go to Simply Fantastic

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Dreaming of the Sandman