10 holiday movies you should watch this year


Clarion Staff Photo

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Elf” and “Home Alone” are holiday classics.

Kelly Feng, Managing Editor

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but watching holiday classics is so delightful!
If you’re tired of wrapping presents and baking cookies or have attended too many eggnog parties, watching a holiday classic is a great way to unwind. The following are some of my picks of the best holiday movies.

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
In this all-time classic, George Bailey, played by the great James Stewart, is troubled and suicidal. To top it off, it’s Christmas. As the angels talk about him, they tell George’s life in flashbacks. He starts to jump from a bridge but stops by rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence. George’s guardian angel returns the favor by showing George what his town would have looked like — if it wasn’t for George’s good deeds over the years.

2. Elf (2003)
A hilarious but touching movie about a human man raised by Santa’s elves at the North Pole. Will Ferrell stars as the main character, Buddy, a human raised by Santa’s elves. Buddy journeys to New York to meet his biological father, played by James Caan.

3. Home Alone (1990)
Over three decades and $285 million later, watching 8-year-old Kevin McCallister bungle the Wet Bandits’ burglary plans never gets old. Played by then child-star Macaulay Culkin, Kevin endlessly entertains as we watch him home alone, hilariously preventing a break-in.

4. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Rarely do sequels eclipse the original, but this one does with boisterous slapstick humor and touching sentiment. This rambunctious return to juvenile joviality knocks it out of New York. In this hilarious flick, Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, is left alone again, foiling the Wet Bandits and the Sticky Bandits.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Let’s face it — not everybody looks forward to seeing their in-laws for the winter holidays. After watching this Chevy Chase movie, your annoying relatives will seem comparatively normal. The cast includes Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Beloved by any generation, this movie easily entertains everybody from a cranky grandpa to a restless teen.
In this timeless animation, Charlie Brown becomes disheartened by the holiday, seeing overwhelming materialism from his friends. He tries for meaning by directing the school Christmas play, but nothing seems to spark joy. With the help of his friend Linus, Snoopy and other friends, he eventually finds meaning.

7. The Family Stone (2005)
This holiday film is about another dysfunctional family reunited at Christmas. Although the dysfunctional family is becoming a cliche, the charming flicks breathe new life into a flawed family with fun twists and turns. It features an all-star cast that includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson and Diane Keaton.

8. Four Christmases (2008)
Whether we like it or not, Christmas has a way of bringing everyone together — sometimes when you least expect it. In this Christmas story, Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn play a couple who spend every Christmas avoiding their different set of parents and new spouses. When the weather cancels their annual Christmas beach vacation, they visit four rollicking households.

9. Die Hard (1988)
Although there is some internet debate about whether “Die Hard” is a true Christmas picture, more moviegoers than not agree it’s a holiday classic. While the idea of terrorists doesn’t exactly evoke memories of Santa and his reindeer, the 1988 Bruce Willis action flick takes place during an office Christmas party. One thing is for sure — you’ll have an added jolt to your holiday.

10. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Some argue this 2002 crime comedy-drama film is not a Christmas classic. However, pivotal scenes occur on Christmas Eve over several years, showing the story unfolding. The film, directed by Steven Spielberg, is drawn from the true story of Frank Abagnale Jr., a famous con artist who cashed fake checks worth over $2.5 million, culminating in his arrest on Christmas Eve 1969. In this fast-paced flick, a charming Leonardo DiCaprio impeccably impersonates his way through life.