Lovesick Elves! Bad Santas! Zuzu’s Pedals! The Best Holiday Movies EVER!

White Christmas

As the holiday season approaches, everyone will eat lots of food and sit down to watch a classic holiday movie, like one of these…here are my favorite holiday movies of all time – let me know what you think, and let the debate begin!

First, get into the holiday spirit with Billy Mack’s “Christmas Is All Around”!

Billy Mack Love Actually

Thanks Billy, just what I needed to get into the holiday spirit! With that tune in our heads, let’s head over to see what holiday spirit Bill Murray has in store for us!

Scrooged Bill Murray

Get “Scrooged” and “Griswolded”!

“Scrooged” (1983) and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) both are infused with SNL attitude – Bill Murray does an updated “Christmas Carol” as miserly TV exec Frank Cross – Murray smirks ALOT, but also reveals his soft spot, in a film that has more of a manic energy than many holiday classics.

Bill Murray Scrooged

Once you are “Scrooged”, you might as well get “Griswold!”

National Lampoon Christmas Vacation

That’s right, welcome back to the Clark Griswold family – Chevy Chase takes his clan on another “Vacation”…yes, another fun trip, but do they deserve a spot on the list? As Clark Griswold would say, “Bend over and I’ll show you.”

White Christmas movie

The “White Christmas” (1954) / “Holiday Inn” (1942) Crosby Combo!

Another double bill, since they are basically the same movie! In “Holiday Inn”, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire are two war buddies who sing lots of classic Irving Berlin tunes, including the Oscar winning “White Christmas”…

Bing Crosby White Christmas

It was such a great song they decided to remake “Holiday Inn” and CALL it “White Christmas”! This time, Bing and Danny Kaye are two GIs coming home from WWII, who fall in love with singing-and-dancing sisters and help their general with his failing Vermont inn.  A great double bill!

bad santa

“Bad Santa”!

This ain’t your father’s holiday movie! How can you NOT love a film with the classic line: “F me, Santa!” 

bad santa kiss

So says Lauren Graham in a movie that wears its dark heart on its sleeve…the perfect movie to watch after fighting holiday crowds – and virtually impossible to watch without a stiff drink in your hand.

evil santa

Ho Ho Ho Indeed!

And if you want a little action, violence and bloodshed for the holidays, then Det. John McClane is your man!

Die Hard

I drive by this building on the Fox lot in west LA all the time, but to me it will always be Nakatomi Plaza!

Die Hard Poster

When New York Detective John McClane goes to LA for the holidays, he never imagined he’d walk into a holiday hostage-taking…a relentlessly entertaining film for the holiday!

Bruce Willis

This is a great movie in so many ways – great plot, strong acting, terrific action sequences and a fun sense of humor – just like a Christmas dinner at my house – without the guns!

Happy Holidays, Del Griffith!

Del Griffith

And now, the funniest holiday movie character ever, the legendary Del Griffith!

“Planes, Trains & Automobiles”!

I know, it takes place over Thanksgiving, but it’s a holiday movie through and through, and Del Griffith deserves to be here – as it is one of the most heartwarming holiday movies ever!

Planes Trains & Automobiles 

It’s the classic story of a guy just trying to get home to his family in times for the holidays. “Here’s an idea.  When you tell a story, have a point!”  And who can forget Del Griffith pulling his socks off on the plane, waving them around and exclaiming “the dogs are barking!” 

John Candy

And of course, as you can see above, “those aren’t pillows!”  I rest my case.

All Hail The Year 2003!

Love Actually

What a holiday year at the movies: first of all it was the year of “Bad Santa”, but what about these other two classic holiday movies from that season!

love actually

“Love Actually” is a series of inter-locking stories that take place during the holiday season, some funny, a few sad – with an all-star cast including Liam Neeson, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson. Here’s a chart to help you keep track of them all:

love actually chart

The other classic from 2003 is, of course, the story of Buddy – check it out:


Buddy the Elf!

Will Ferrell is innocent and perfect as Buddy – the elf who heads to New York City to find his real father – a very unfriendly James Caan. Add Ed Asner as a slightly grumpy Santa PLUS Zooey Deschanel as the “innocent love” interest and you have an instant holiday classic!

A Christmas Story poster

Director Bob Clark!
Time to celebrate an under-rated Director! Bob Clark directed the classic “A Christmas Story” – “you’ll shoot your eye out with that thing!”  It makes me want to have chinese food on Dec. 25th just to honor him.  This is arguably the best Christmas movie of all time – the encounter with the frozen tether ball pole is just one reason…

A Christmas Story frozen tongue

And who can forget Dad’s new lamp – look at this terrific TBS ad for the movie that captures the fun of that scene…

A Christmas Story leg lamp

It is a holiday classic, directed by Canadian Bob Clark, an under-appreciated Director…check out the trailer:

A Christmas Story little boy

So funny, so heartwarming! That said, Bob Clark also directed the little-known classic horror film “Black Christmas”, where a sorority is terrorized by a manic over the holidays.  He perfected the killer’s POV shot years before “Halloween” got credit for revitalizing it.  The thriller stars Kier Dullea (2001) and Margo Kidder (Superman)…dark, dark, dark, but what a Bob Clark holiday double bill – just make sure to send the kids to bed before you start this second feature! 

Black Christmas Poster

Added trivia: Clark also created and directed “Porky’s”…talk about an eclectic career!

It's A Wonderful Life poster

“It’s A Wonderful Life”!

The greatest holiday movie of all! Jimmy Stewart, the Tom Hanks of his generation, beautifully portrays a disillusioned husband and father who sees his life amount to nothing – or so he thinks. 

best christmas movie ever

This Frank Capra classic is a dark look at one man’s disappointment with his life – of course all coming to a head on Christmas eve – and the film reveals a ton of universal truths about what we should or should not expect from life – remember this line: “we serve stiff drinks for men who want to get drunk fast!” I mean, this movie gets DARK…

it's a wonderful life

I will admit that, in some ways, Pottersville looked a lot more fun than Bedford Falls – like a mini-Vegas! But no matter what life through at George Bailey, he always had a secret weapon…

best christmas movies

That’s right – Zuzu’s pedals!

Zuzu's Pedals

Send me a note and let me know what you watched this holiday season!

Categories: 70's Cinema, Action Films, Comedy Movies, Horror films, James Caan, Movies, Music, New York, Obscure Movies, Travel

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15 replies

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  8. Mel Gibson was a real dick to me once, so I can’t add him to the list. No disrespect to Danny Glover OR Joe Pesci….


  9. I love this list! I might add “Lethal Weapon” to that “Die Hard” category. I LOVE that movie. It’s coming on ION right now! 🙂 “A Christmas Story” is one of my all time favorites. Can we have some movie time this week?! CANNOT wait. CANNOT! I own “A Christmas Story” — so I’ll bring it. XOXOXOXOXOXOXO


  10. Ok, my readin’ skillz ain’t so good. In my defense I was fending off my 20 month old girl while trying to quickly skim the list. I found it on the DVR search this year and it’s safely recorded for my viewing enjoyment on Christmas Eve.


  11. I still think u should call your production company Pottersville Productions! Who cares what Sean says.


  12. Guy, it’s #2 on the list! It’s part of the Bob Clark post!


  13. No room for “A Christmas Story”? It’s one of my faves, and hard to find now that I’m living in Canada.



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