Happy Holidays 2020!
We can all agree that 2020 is a year like no other – and as the holidays approach, I am looking for movies that make me feel that we are all going to be OK!
With that in mind, I’ve got “part 1” of my list of the best holiday movies, including RARE behind-the-scenes photos from the set of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, and so much more!
First, get into the holiday spirit with Billy Mack’s “Christmas Is All Around”!
Thanks Billy, just what I needed to get into the holiday spirit! If you know this song, then you LOVE “Love Actually” – one of the best holiday movies ever! And I’ve got great trivia about the film, courtesy of the terrific website “IMDB.”
“Love Actually” is a series of inter-locking stories that take place during the holiday season: some are funny, and a few are sad – with an all-star cast including Kiera Knightley, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson.
Here is the trailer:
So many terrific Actors in the film. Here’s a chart to help you keep track of them all:
And, thanks to the great website IMDB, here is some “Love Actually” trivia! Let’s start with this fun one:
The word “actually” is spoken twenty-two times by various characters in the film.
When casting the part of Sarah, Richard Curtis auditioned a great many British girls, but kept saying, “I want someone like Laura Linney…” The casting director eventually snapped and said, “Oh, for fuck’s sake, get Laura Linney then.” She then auditioned and got the part.
The idea for Mark’s surprise of the band singing “All You Need Is Love” at Peter and Juliet’s wedding came from Jim Henson’s funeral (which Richard Curtis attended) where all the puppeteers brought their Muppets and sung a song.
The lake that Lúcia Moniz and Colin Firth are “swimming” in was actually only eighteen inches deep and they had to kneel down and pretend to be in deeper water. It was also over-run by mosquitoes and Colin Firth was badly bitten and his elbow swelled up to the size of an avocado, requiring medical attention.
Knowing about Billy Bob Thornton’s quite unique fear of antique furniture, Hugh Grant would sometimes flash a piece of antique (which is abundant in England) in front of Thornton just before the cameras rolled, and watch him freak out in amusement.
The airport greeting footage at the beginning and end of the film is real. Richard Curtis had a team of cameramen film at Heathrow airport for a week, and whenever they saw something that would fit in they asked the people involved for permission to use the footage. Alex and I always wondered how excited these people must be to be in the film forever!
Thanks, Billy Mack!
“Christmas Is All Around” is now one of our favorite holiday songs thanks to Bill Nighy. With that tune in our heads, let’s see some of the other great holiday films, beginning with Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and the spirit of “Saturday Night Live”!
Get “Scrooged” and “Griswolded”!
“Scrooged” (1988) 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 is full of great lines and classic double takes, but the Actor also reveals his soft spot, in a film that has more of a manic energy than many holiday classics.
Here is the trailer for “Scrooged!”:
Once you are “Scrooged”, you might as well go “Griswold!”
Here is the trailer for “National Lampoon’s 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!”
OK, maybe a bit forward for the holiday…let’s go back to a simpler time…
The “White Christmas” (1954) / “Holiday Inn” (1942) Crosby Combo!
Here are two iconic holiday films starring legendary Actors – and I’ve presented it as a 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”…
The Song Becomes The Film!
“White Christmas” was such a great song that they decided to remake “Holiday Inn” and CALL it “White Christmas”! This time, Bing Crosby 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. Again, almost the same film, but both of classic Hollywood holiday entertainment! A great double bill!
Next up, a newer film that gave us an iconic holiday character:
Meet Buddy The Elf!
Will Ferrell stars as “Buddy”, who as a baby crawled into Santa’s bag and ended up at the north pole!
The film tells the story of Buddy’s attempt to re-connect with his real family – including father James Caan, who shows a nice gift for comedy!
Check out the trailer:
Ed Asner Is A Grumpy Santa!
Add Ed Asner as a slightly grumpy Santa – who shows up late in the film – proving what Buddy tells everyone he knows:
“Elf” is funny and heartfelt. It’s perhaps Ferrell’s best performance ever, PLUS Zooey Deschanel as the “innocent love” interest is terrific as well – add it all up and you have an instant holiday classic!
Speaking of holiday classics:
“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.
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…
Here is the trailer:
Rare “Bedford Falls” Photos!
LIFE Magazine has revealed 13 rare behind-the-scenes photos from the set of the 1946 Frank Capra classic. The pictures focus on one aspect of the holiday favorite that many probably take for granted: the snowy milieu of Bedford Falls!
So as you can see, they used snow machines to create the beautiful serenity of the town:
Looks like Jimmy Stewart had a few snowballs tossed back in his direction during filming!
I will admit that, in some ways, Pottersville always 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…
That’s right – Zuzu’s pedals!
I know some of these are well known, but if any aren’t on your radar, check them out this holiday season!
Oh, and don’t forage that THIS is a Christmas movie too:
Yes, it IS!
Click here for all of the reasons that “Die Hard” is one of the best Christmas movies of all time!
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Leave me a comment and let me know your favorite holiday film – and let’s embrace this holiday season no matter what the obstacles!