Movies to get you in the holiday spirit

info@islandpacket.comDecember 9, 2012 

'Tis the season to curl up in front of your television, sip hot cocoa and enjoy these heartwarming holiday films:

CLASSICS

These films are appropriate for kids from age 1 to 92. These favorite films often bring to mind simpler times when the holidays weren't as hectic, no one burned the turkey, and true love always won.

1. "It's a Wonderful Life": This is arguably one of the most-watched films at Christmas. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, this classic film is beloved by generations of fans. A guardian angel helps a compassionate but desperate businessman find the true meaning of success and a life worth living by giving him a taste of what life would have been like if he had never been born. If you find you love the acting prowess of Jimmy Stewart, try "The Shop Around the Corner" (1940), a film about two shop clerks that unbeknownst to them are each other's secret pen pals. The premise probably sounds familiar as it formed the foundation for the immensely popular Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film "You've Got Mail."

2. "A Christmas Carol": Charles Dickens' classic Christmas novel has been adapted for the stage and screen multiple times. The 1938 version of "A Christmas Carol" stars Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge and marks the acting debut of June Lockhart (Timmy's mother in television series "Lassie"). Other traditional versions of this classic tale include "A Christmas Carol" (1985) starring George C. Scott, and "Scrooge" (1951). For an animated thrill, view Disney's 3D version of "A Christmas Carol," starring Jim Carrey.

3. "White Christmas" and "Holiday Inn": Both star master crooner Irving Berlin singing popular songs that celebrate the holidays. In fact, both movies were filmed on the same set and both feature Berlin singing the song "White Christmas." "White Christmas" stars Berlin and Danny Kaye as traveling entertainers who meet and fall in love with two sisters. The foursome teams up to save a Vermont inn from bankruptcy. "Holiday Inn" pairs Berlin with dance extraordinaire Fred Astaire, making this film a must-see for its over-the-top dance numbers.

4. "Meet Me in St. Louis": You might not think of "Meet me in St. Louis" as fitting within the holiday theme, but the film spans all four seasons. This romantic musical stars a young Judy Garland as she falls in the love with the boy next door. The film is based on the real-life experiences of novelist Sally Benson and features a special, not-to-be missed Christmas scene.

CONTEMPORARY

Each year, new holiday films surface celebrating this joyous and festive season. New to DVD this year is "A Christmas Story 2," which continues the tale of Ralphie and the quest for the ultimate Christmas present.

In the sequel to the 1983 family classic, Ralphie is a 16-year-old teenager who has his heart set on a 1938 Hupmobile Skyline convertible.

Other contemporary holiday films to make you laugh out loud are "Four Christmases," "Jingle All the Way" and "Elf."

FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES

There is no shortage of kid-friendly holiday films. It's a given that television stations will air the standard titles viewers expect during the holiday season. Among them you will find "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas," "The Polar Express," "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman."

The following titles are movies that often are overlooked but are a joy to watch during the holidays:

1. "Arthur Christmas": Last year's blockbuster in theaters is now available on DVD. When Santa's high-tech computerized delivery system fails to deliver a present to a young girl, Santa's youngest son, Arthur, a clumsy young man takes it upon himself to save Christmas.

2. "Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas": From the imagination of Jim Henson and his team of puppeteers comes the story of young Emmet Otter and his Ma and their quest to make Christmas special. Since they don't have any money, they use their musical talents to enter a talent competition in hopes they can win the $50 cash prize.

3. "Prancer": is the story of 8-year-old Jessica who lives with her father, a hard-working farmer still mourning the death of his wife. One night, Jessica finds an injured reindeer she believes to be Prancer, one of Santa's flight crew. As she nurses Prancer back to health, Jessica is able to grow closer to her grieving father and form friendships with her neighbors.

So many holiday movies but the season lasts for such a short time. The good news is that you can celebrate the season year-round as you borrow these and other films from your Beaufort County library branch.

Amanda Brewer is the reference manager at the Bluffton library.

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