Beacon picks: holiday flicks

by Beacon Staff • December 1, 2016

Now that Thanksgiving is over and December has finally arrived, it’s officially the holiday season. It’s the perfect time to curl up on the couch and watch your favorite holiday movie. Here are ten festive film recommendations from the Beacon staff to keep you warm this winter:

 

There are so many good holiday movies, but I’d have to go with Home Alone 2: Lost in New York as my favorite. It’s crazy to think Kevin would come into contact with Marv and Harry yet again, but the plotline is so believable given the action in the first film. The scenes at Duncan’s Toy Chest are really well done, and the hotel scenes are hilarious. It has also never been more relevant; you can catch a glimpse of President-Elect Trump providing directions for Kevin in the Plaza Hotel lobby.

—Matt Couture / Deputy Sports Editor

 

I’m a sucker for every corny claymation movie under the sun, but my favorite by far is A Year Without a Santa Claus. It tells the tale of a sick Saint Nick who decides to cancel his annual sleigh ride because he thinks no one will even care. But Mrs. Claus—hoping to change his mind—convinces two dim-witted elves and a baby reindeer to go undercover and find some holiday cheer. The movie features a heart-jerking rendition of “Blue Christmas” and many cute missteps by the elves, Jingle and Jangle. The real selling point, though, is the competition between Snow Miser and Heat Miser, two squabbling brothers with catchy, meme-worthy songs. It’s perfect for a winter night ripe with nostalgia and off-key sing alongs.

—Cathleen Cusachs / Arts Editor

 

After finding it in the dollar bin at Target and discovering it was something my father watched as a kid, I go out of my way to watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians every year. It’s one of those movies from the ‘60s that disappeared after airing only once, and with good reason. Set in the future, Martians kidnap Santa Claus to give their children gifts. It’s a bizarre movie with stowaways and child actors in green face paint and a grown man crawling around in a very cheap polar bear suit. It’s not the most festive movie, but it sure is memorable.

—Madelene Nieman / Deputy Opinion Editor


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is my favorite holiday movie. There is something about the blazing fires, decadent meals, snow-covered grounds, and newfound friendships that brings about a festive mood and provides comfort. The musical score is also magical and, Christmas and magic go perfectly together.

—Joanne Paquin / Web Editor

 

I really love Scrooge. Not Scrooged, with Bill Murray, but the 1970 film. It’s a musical version of A Christmas Carol with Emmy award-winner Albert Finney. It isn’t very well known today, nor was it when it came out, but it’s a Christmas Eve tradition I’ve had with my family as far back as I can remember. I’m not sure how it came to be our tradition, but this adaptation has comedy mixed into the seriousness of the story, and the soundtrack and dance numbers make the movie. You can find me singing these tunes and quoting the movie every month of the year, especially when I’m with my siblings. On my Christmas list this year is a vinyl record of the soundtrack. The movie also one of my all-time favorite quotes: “They say happiness is a thing you can’t see, a thing you can’t touch. I disagree.”

—Matt Case / Assistant Sports Editor

 

Have you ever hated a movie so much you became obsessed with it? That’s what happened to me with Four Christmases. The zany rom-com features the plight of couple Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon as they are forced to visit each of their divorced parents for the holiday—a task that culminates in four Christmas celebrations. It’s a film that combines bad acting, unlikeable characters, and jokes of bad taste. There’s also a truly brilliant assault of Christian morals as Reese and Vince are vilified for their conviction to never marry or procreate. But the R-rated language and familial verbal abuse always manages to get me in the holiday mood.

—Laura King / Managing Editor  

 
 

My favorite Christmas movie is definitely The Holiday. I’ve been a big fan since the first time I watched it at an age when my parents fast -forwarded through the PG-13 sex scene. It features two ladies, one in Los Angeles and one in rural England, who swap homes for the holiday season after getting out of horrible relationships. They fall in love with two new men and they all become friends. Don’t worry, the plot is deep enough that if you hate all of that cheesy romantic crap that I do, it’s still a quality movie. Also a big bonus: it’s the only movie with Jack Black where he isn’t acting like the worst.

—Rebecca Szkutak / Lifestyle Editor

 

Even though I barely celebrate Christmas, I love the festivities of the season, including the movies. The king of them all is A Charlie Brown Christmas, and I won’t hear any different. Clocking in at around 25 minutes, A Charlie Brown Christmas runs just long enough to tell a complete story without overstaying its welcome. The creators were unconcerned with showing Santa and Rudolph, instead opting to tell a realistic story about everyone’s favorite sad sack and his underwhelming choice of Christmas tree. It’s relatable, and that’s what makes it perfect. I could go on and on about the animation style, the music, the pitch-perfect writing, the hilarious dance moves, the dynamic between Lucy and Schroeder, and everything Snoopy does. It all culminates in a rendition of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” that never fails to melt my heart. No other movie comes close.

—Ross Cristantiello / Assistant news editor

 

Snowpiercer is not a feel-good holiday movie. It’s a Korean science-fiction thriller based on a French graphic novel, so it’s about as far away from The Grinch who Stole Christmas as possible. But it is set in an apocalyptic, endless winter. The only survivors are the passengers of Snowpiercer, a perpetually moving train circumnavigating the world. The proletariat live in filthy conditions in the caboose of the train while the bougie elites party it up front. It’s heavy-handed at times, but watching Chris Evans fight his way to the engine is always compelling. Check this out if you’re looking something less saccharine this holiday season.

—Mark Gartsbeyn / Managing Editor

 

It took a long time for me to give up on Santa Claus. Well into elementary school, I thought I was finding reindeer hoofprints on my roof and seeing half-eaten cookies in the morning, sure that the big guy had come in the middle of the night. The Polar Express is a film that seems to capture that concept of eternal youth and unapologetic belief in magic. The story centers around a boy who can still hear the chiming of an old sleigh bell—the marker of someone who believes in Santa Claus. The adults around him cannot hear this sound. To me, that always served as a cautionary tale: No matter how old you get, do not lose touch with the charm and magic of the ordinary world around you.

—Jackie Roman / Editor-in-chief