With the first week of December behind us, the Christmas season is in full swing. This is the perfect time to curl up with a blanket and watch a holiday film. It’s something about holiday movies that bring out the joy in people. Maybe it’s the positive memories of growing up watching a cherished holiday movie with your family, or maybe it’s how they embody the spirit of the season. So while the semester comes to an end and you begin to prepare for another Christmas filled with joy and happiness, take a moment to check out a list of our favorite holiday movies.
It’s A Wonderful Life
By: Chancey Boyce
Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life is more than just a movie about Christmas; it’s a film about the emotional highs and lows of life. It’s about the elation you get when you see all of your plans work out and the depression and resentment when life gets in the way. The film flows like a dream, a series of vignettes that follow the life of Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey: his childhood working in a drugstore, the death of his father, the day he met his wife at a high-school dance, his taking over of his father’s loan service, all culminating in his mental implosion and near-suicide on Christmas Eve when a greedy slum-lord steals $8000 from Bailey’s business, making it appear insolvent.
Stewart is essential to the formula of the film. His consummate all-American puppy dog persona is the keystone in Capra’s vision of early 20th Century small-town America as a wholesome, Norman Rockwell-esque dreamscape of little shops and eccentric characters. Yet beneath it all is a seething resentment, a theme often found in Stewart’s characters: in Scottie’s obsessive paranoia in Vertigo and in Stoddard’s quiet regret in The Man Who Killed Liberty Valance. He is constantly denied opportunity after opportunity, and his resentment builds. Yet, for the purposes of this film, his resentment is absolutely necessary: as on Christmas Eve, Bailey learns that despite all his denied opportunities, his life does have a purpose.
It’s A Wonderful Life is a life-affirming victory of a film that serves as a powerful reminder of the meaning of life and should be viewed again and again at the turn of every year.
By: Helena Mazzarella
Nothing says the holidays quite like an event that does not go as planned. No matter how much planning and preparation went into curating the perfect holiday soirée, it is no surprise when something goes awry. Whether it’s a fight with the in-laws, burnt honey-glazed ham or last-minute shopping, the holidays are not guaranteed to be an image straight out of a Hallmark movie. Therefore, an unconventional “holiday movie” is necessary to match the unforeseeable nature of the “most wonderful time of the year”: Mean Girls.
The 2004 teen comedy film, Mean Girls is in no way a hit holiday film. However, the Winter Talent Show scene perfectly encapsulates the chaos surrounding the holidays. A group of friends who call themselves “The Plastics” (“friends” in the loosest definition possible) perform a routine to “Jingle Bell Rock” for their school talent show. Much like the unpredictability of holiday events, a music malfunction causes the girls to pause their dance, and in trying to get the music to start back up, one of the girls accidentally kicks the stereo, hitting an audience member in the head. While the lights still shine brightly on the girls, in a moment of panic, one of the dancers, Cady Haron (Lindsay Lohan), sings their music, prompting the audience to join her. Though the routine did not go as planned, the girls finished their performance while bringing together the entire audience.
So while the holidays, much like The Plastics’ performance, are unpredictable and full of surprises, you never know what might come out of the moments you can’t plan. Just as Cady initiates a sing-along performance with her high school peers, share and embrace the good, bad and unplanned holiday moments with the people you love most.