"The angel said, ‘I like black-and-white films more than color because they’re more artificial. You have to work harder to overcome your disbelief. It’s sort of like prayer." Jonathan Carroll
The Santa Clause
Tim Allen stars in this film about an ordinary man who accidentally causes the death of Santa Clause, and therefore must become the new Santa Clause in time for Christmas. Directed by John Pasquin, this first one in a series of three films received the highest acclaim. And now holds a ‘Fresh’ rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site consensus of “The Santa Clause is utterly undemanding, but is firmly rooted in the sort of good old fashioned holiday spirit missing from too many modern yuletide films.” Desson Howe for the Washington Post wrote “Kids of most ages will be able to follow -- and enjoy -- this comic fantasy. Thanks to unobtrusive (or is that low-budget?) special effects, they'll also enjoy the movie's answers to such cynical questions as: How does Santa fit through the chimneys or get into homes that don't have them? Allen makes things equally pleasant for older audiences, especially when he's trying to deal with his new calling. "Merry Christmas to all," he intones good-naturedly to one and all, before muttering: "When I wake up, I'm going to get a CAT scan."
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik, and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quiad, this film tells a story about the Griswold’s attempts to enjoy a good old-fashioned family Christmas. Since its release to mixed reviews, the film has slowly made its way upward to become a true Christmas classic. Mike Durrett writing for About.com rated it #4 on the Top Ten Christmas Comedy List, saying “Everybody's favorite globe-trotting goofballs, the Griswolds, stay home for the traditional American family Christmas. Experience the tree, the outdoor lights, the dinner, the uninvited relatives -- all the recognizable hells of the season. Well-done slapstick and trademark tastelessness stuff the package, a giggly vehicle for Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid."
This story is about one of Santa’s elves, who learns he has a father living in New York, and sets off to find him. Directed by Jon Favreau, and starring Will Ferrel, James Caan and Bob Newhart, this film received critical acclaim from critics on release, and has joined the many annually aired classic holiday films. It currently holds an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with the site consensus that “Ferrell’s funny and charming performance makes ‘Elf’ a delightful Christmas comedy."
Bill Murray stars with Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait and John Forsythe in this modernization of Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol. Directed by Richard Donner, it tells the story of a cynical television executive who has found great success while becoming cold hearted and cruel. With an original music score by Danny Elfman, the film has received mixed reviews, reaching only a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, but many have found enjoyment in the terrific cast, as Jeffery Anderson has written
"This meta-element is never fully explored, the film is very messy and somewhat violent, wobbling between outright terror and gooey sentimentality, but it works because of the crisp, high-powered corporate feel and the very impressive cast, including Karen Allen as Frank's freckled love, Robert Mitchum as an older executive, Alfre Woodard as Frank's secretary and the mother of the "Tiny Tim" character, Carol Kane and David Johansen as the ghosts, plus tons of other familiar faces. Murray, in particular, gives one of his finest comic performances. Regardless of the sheer excess, it's hard not to be moved by his final transformation. Look out for Miles Davis and Paul Schaffer as street musicians. How cool is that?"
The Bad Santa
Directed by Terry Zwigof, this Christmas black comedy film stars Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac and Lauren Graham, and tells the story of two professional thieves who pose as Santa Claus and his helper in order to rob the mall where they are working. With very blue language and adult situations, this film has an aggregate ‘Certified Fresh’ rating of 77% at Rotten Tomatoes. And critic Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 out of four stars, saying “Movie critics have been accused of praising weirdo movies because we are bored by movies that seem the same. There is some justice in that. But I didn't like this movie merely because it was weird and different; I liked it because it makes no compromises and takes no prisoners. And because it is funny."