Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Christmas Movies

Christmas Vacation
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I love Christmas.  I always have.  One of my favorite things about this time of year is all the classic movies that make up the season.  I'll talk about a few of my personal favorites.  While I like just about every Christmas film I've watched, these are three that I watch at least once during the season.

I first saw National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when it opened in theaters back in December 1989.  I was a junior in high school, and was already a fan of the original Vacation film and the followup European Vacation.  It was a Friday night, and a friend of mine from work asked me if I wanted to go see it with her.  Despite this being a "friends only" outing and her having a boyfriend, I was more than eager to go out and watch the movie.

My words will not do the film justice.  I don't really do reviews, but I can tell you if you've never seen this Chevy Chase classic, watch it after you finish reading this blog.  It's on Netflix right now, so you don't have to go buy it or try to rent it somewhere.  Not only is it my favorite Christmas movie, but it's among my top picks for favorite movie EVER.

Sh!tter was full!
Clark Griswald outdoes himself with his goofy attempts to decorate the family home.  His love of Christmas reminds me of mine, but amplified to the max.  I also love the fact that this time the kids, Rusty and Audrey are played by different actors and are different ages too.  Of course Cousin Eddie, played by Dennis Quaid, is hilarious with lines like "Sh!tter was full!" as he's emptying his RV's septic system into the neighborhood sewer.  Aunt Bethany and Uncle Lewis truly crack me up too.  When Bethany hears the squirrel in the Christmas tree, claiming to hear a funny, squeaky sound, Lewis responds with one of my favorite lines from the film, "You couldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant."

These are just a few of the reasons I love this film.  And who can forget "Tis the season to be Merry." "Mary? That's my name." "No sh!t."

Red Ryder!
A Christmas Story is a close second in terms of my favorite Christmas movies.  It too ranks high on my regular movie list.  I love the fact that TNT or TBS (I forget which one) airs it for 24 hours start starting on Christmas Eve.  I don't recall my first viewing of Christmas Story, but it was sometime in my tween years.  I remember getting my own BB Gun for Christmas around the same time young Ralphie pined for one of his own.  I'm proud to say I never shot my eye out.

We love the movie so much, we've done two family Christmas cards based on the film.  I'll actually be doing a blog on that Thursday, so look out for it (please)  Last year for Christmas, I got a pair of Ralphie pajamas.  But don't get excited, they're not the pink bunny kind.

Double Dog Dare!
I like the movie so much because it reminds me of simpler times.  I love that the family loves each other, despite the shortcomings of all the characters.  I love that leg lamp too, and one of these days one will proudly sit on the Hunsperger living window sill.  I also think it's safe to say I don't view the phrase "double dog dare you" the same after watching it.  Same goes for things like Ovaltine, the song "Deck the Halls", and of course "Fuuudge!"

The Grinch!
Finally, I can't let Christmas go by without watching the animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas at least once.  I love this story and the fact that it's a film makes the holidays even more enjoyable.  I like the Jim Carey version too, but there's something about the cartoon that just puts me in the Christmas spirit.  I like the mean, nasty Grinch, but I know the large hearted good guy is the one we're all supposed to embrace.

My honorable mention go to Elf as it is one of the newer "classics" I enjoy watching.  I still need to watch Christmas films like Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and Santa With Muscles.  Yes, I said that in the same sentence, and I'm serious.  Merry Christmas.


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