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12 must watch movies for the Christmas season

Rich Legg

Rich Legg

Taylor Zabrenski, Student Writer

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: (1989) As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie (Randy Quaid), and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark’s employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.

Elf: (2003) Buddy (Will Ferrell) was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn’t fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs (James Caan), a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.

Home Alone: (1990) When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother (Catherine O’Hara) makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: (2000) In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s tale by Dr. Seuss, the reclusive green Grinch (Jim Carrey) decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Reluctantly joined by his hapless dog, Max, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen).

It’s a Wonderful Life: (1946) After George Bailey (James Stewart) wishes he had never been born, an angel (Henry Travers) is sent to earth to make George’s wish come true. George starts to realize how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: (1993) The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the “real world.” When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life — he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol: (2009) Though London awaits the joyful arrival of Christmas, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) thinks it’s all humbug, berating his faithful clerk and cheerful nephew for their view. Later, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his late business partner, who warns that three spirits will visit him this night. The ghosts take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future in the hope of transforming his bitterness.

Frosty The Snowman: (1969) A discarded magic top hat brings to life the snowman that a group of children made, until a magician, professor Hinkle, wants it back, and the temperature starts to rise. Frosty will melt or no longer be a jolly soul, if the kids cannot get him away from Hinkle and warm weather, so he hops a train to the North Pole with young Karen.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: (1965) Christmas time is here. Happiness and cheer. And for Peanuts fans everywhere, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without this classic holiday delight. Christmas lights may be twinkling red and green, but Charlie Brown has the Yuletide blues. To get in the holiday spirit, he takes Lucy’s advice and directs the Christmas play. And what’s a Christmas play without a Christmas tree? But everyone makes fun of the short, spindly nevergreen Charlie Brown brings back – until the real meaning of Christmas works its magic once again.

The Santa Clause: (1994) Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) has custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he’s dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn’t a dream after all — and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.

Christmas With the Kranks: (2004) Finally alone for the holidays, Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora Krank (Jamie Lee Curtis) plan to eschew the Christmas traditions and take a cruise in the Caribbean instead. This doesn’t sit well with their Christmas-obsessed neighbors Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) and Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh), who are determined to win the annual “best decorated street” competition, and the Kranks soon find themselves social outcasts because of their lack of Christmas spirit.

A Christmas Story: (1983)  Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a “Red Ryder air rifle.” Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.

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12 must watch movies for the Christmas season