As it gets colder, darker and windier, people’s urge to stay inside wrapped up in a blanket and/or a heartwarming story is reliably met by Hollywood every Christmas season. While the ensuing sap-fest might be simply too much to bear for many, I always enjoy it. Yes, I’ll admit it – I’m one of those people who get excited for Christmas season as soon as the carved pumpkins disappear from the stores. Instead of ranting about commercialism, I’ve decided to embrace it at least to some extent, and fluffy movies are a big part of my Christmas anticipation. As a result, this is the topic that immediately sprang to mind when I thought about what I could contribute to the pre-Christmas break ZEST – here are my current Top Five movies to watch when ‘baby it’s cold outside’ and we’re happy to ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow’ (yes! I enjoy corny Christmas commercials, too)!
Meets all the criteria for a proper cuddly-wuddly feelgood movie: cute storyline (two fed-up women trade houses over the holiday season to get away from the mess in their respective English/American lives), beautiful scenery (snowy English cottage vs sunny Los Angeles villa) and, first and foremost, an endearing cast with lots of chemistry. This especially applies to Kate Winslet and her character Iris’ two American admirers: Miles, a nerdy film composer (Jack Black) and Arthur, a slightly confused but utterly charming 90-year-old former Hollywood screenwriter (Eli Wallach).
Something’s Gotta Give
With the same director as ‘The Holiday’, it’s no surprise that this little gem exudes the same amount of fluffiness and warmth. Cute story: check. Gorgeous scenery: check. Great cast: a big fat check! Not really Christmas-themed as such, but when Diane Keaton kisses Jack Nicholson on a bridge in snowy Paris, it’s so cheesy it’s classy.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
As an enormous Potterite, this is already a bit of a classic to me, especially since it’s aired on Christmas TV around the clock every year. I will admit it fell way short of my huge expectations when it first came out ten years ago, but it’s grown on me a lot since then. For someone as immersed in the universal fan community as me, watching tiny bowl-cut, bespectacled Dan Radcliffe bumble his way through the first installment of the Potter series is almost as nostalgic as watching old home videos. Besides, Harry’s uncontained excitement over his first Christmas presents ever is just plain cute, Holiday Hogwarts is a sight for sore eyes and the Leaving Feast scene at the end contains enough sugar to saturate even the most schmaltz-starved soul.
Miracle on 34th Street
Unapologetic, completely exuberant Christmas corniness/cuteness with a cherry on top – that pretty much wraps it up (hehe)! If you don’t secretly want to cheer along with the crowd on New York’s streets after the big court scene, the only suitable explanation involves you being related to Scrooge, or the Grinch, or both.
You’ve Got M@il
My personal movie equivalent of a cuddly blanket and a big mug of delicious hot chocolate, this film also doesn’t really focus on Christmas exclusively (although there is some wonderfully off-key carol singing in it), but the story is so thoroughly heartwarming it doesn’t need to. Challenging circumstances, loss, forgiveness, friendship, an epiphany or two plus one of the sweetest love stories to date – it’s all there, wrapped up in a wonderful soundtrack and cinematography that will make you want to get on the next plane to New York!
And on that note, I’m off to make the popcorn! 😀 What are your favourite Christmas movies?