The Only Movies That Matter For The Holiday Season
3:00 pm, December 9th | by Carmen Shardae Jobson
It’s time that of year again! There are plenty of holiday films on offer this month, from Miracle on 34th Street to Elf. But there are also plenty of off-the-beaten-path options to get acquainted with this year. Here are a few of the best movies to watch while staying cozy on the couch or recovering from holiday shopping.
While not necessarily holiday themed, the idea of “dreams coming true” is certainly part of the magic of the holidays. This is exactly what happens when Charlie Bucket wins a golden ticket to visit Wonka’s factory, bringing along his Grandpa Joe for day away from their ramshackle house. Courage and humility are more important than material wealth, as Charlie learns firsthand when he’s acquainted for the first time with other rich brats his age. The film is also visually exciting — remember how quickly “Pure Imagination” becomes a pure nightmare during that boat ride? — the humor is off-kilter, and the songs are so memorable, Mariah Carey sampled “Pure Imagination” in her remix to “I Still Believe.” A Tim Burton remake was released in 2005 under the original title of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but you should stick with the original.
Wonderfully flamboyant and loaded with quotables (“Ding, dong, the witch is dead!”), this childhood staple still evokes cheers when all the misfits of Munchkinland, their heroine Dorothy and her once misunderstood friends (The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow) defeat the Wicked Witch of the West. Its connection to the holiday season can be found in its brilliant colors and emphasis on the power of being at home with family.
One of the great comedies of the 1990s stars Robin Williams in the dual roles of Daniel Hillard, a voice actor, and the British housekeeper Mrs. Doubtfire, a persona he creates in order to keep in contact with his three kids when his estranged wife tries to get full custody. This film touches on the importance of family, compromise, and convincing cross-dressing.
4. Home Alone 
For a 10 year old, Macauley Culkin was pretty bad ass. This film is holiday themed, as Kevin was forgotten during his family’s mad rush to catch their early flight to Paris for Christmas. Once they’re gone our former enfant terrible learns a lot about self-reliance and being a leader rather than follower role he was fell into as the baby of the house. There’s also a subplot that leads to a moment of understanding between him and the neighborhood recluse, “Old Man” Marley — a great message to kids that everyone needs a friend, no matter what age they are.
5. A Christmas Story 
So Ralphie wants a toy BB Gun for Christmas…not exactly a dream present for a parent to give their child. As Ralphie pleads and demonstrates how much he needs the weapon, a series of vignettes unfold in order to convince him otherwise. An absolute favorite for children of the ’80s and ’90s, Ralphie’s desperation for that one perfect toy each holiday season is a bittersweet reminder of the short-sightedness of youth. Thanks to this entertaining interpretation of the adage “Ask, and you shall receive,” Ralphie represented the guileless kid in all of us.