I felt the need to expand on a comment I made in the college football picks from the previous week...the Christmas Movie Top Five. Yes, Christmas is right around the corner, in case you haven't been hit in the head with enough Christmas-themed ads to remind you, (speaking of ads with Christmas songs in them - what is the deal with that song from "Sound of Music"...I believe it's called "Favorite Things" or "A Few of my Favorite Things" or some such...since when does this qualify as a Christmas song? "Sound of Music" isn't a Christmas movie its about crazy antics involving strange blonde kids, a nanny, and Nazis...so why does this get the OK from the Council of Christmas Music?) which means it's time for Christmas movies. I L-O-V-E Christmas movies...they are simply fantastic, the cat's meow, the cat's pajamas, and the cat's cats. They remind me of growing up, wrapping presents, and taking nips from stray, unclaimed mugs of egg nog...all that is right about the season. So without further adieu...Stanicek's Top Five Christmas Movies...
5) White Christmas - purely a nostalgia pick on my part. My family used to wear this one out around the holidays and my sisters could be heard from anywhere in the neighborhood belting out the song "Sisters", featuring a young Rosemary Clooney, when it is sung about 20 minutes into this Bing Crosby vehicle. Definitely the least impressive on this list however and I would not be offended if someone slid "A Christmas Story" in at this spot.
4) Scrooged - for a long time this film was woefully underappreciated by the masses but thanks to the fact that there are now 178 cable channels that need to fill air time...it is having a rebirth. This is Bill Murray playing the same character he played in pretty much every comedy he was in from 1980 to 1993....the smarmy, wise-cracking, a-hole...and man...is he GREAT. If you don't laugh at "LEE MAJORS IN - THE NIGHT...THE REINDEER DIED", "The bitch hit me with a toaster", "Oh my GOD! Does THAT suck", or "I'm sorry...you know I thought you were Richard Pryor" than some part of you has died.
Bill Murray? Carol Kane? Robert Goulet? Lee Majors? Bobcat Goldwaith AND Buster Poindexter?! NOW THAT'S A Christmas movie!
3) A Christmas Carol (1951 - Alistair Sim version) - Sanford Stadium holds 92,746 and there just as many versions of Dickens' story...however, this one takes the cake. As far as I'm concerned there has been and never will be another Ebeneezer Scrooge like Alistair Sim. This film transitions from creepy (a scene with tortured souls writhing and lamenting around a street child and woman) and dark (it looks fantastic in black and white) to joyous with remarkable ease. And as for Sim...if you've seen it - you know what I'm talking about...he is the King of Scrooge - he makes George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart his Srooge bit*h.
Now THAT'S a Scrooge...the look almost screams "George C. Scott...I OWN you!"
2) Holiday Inn - Bing Crosby and Irving Berlin make their second appearance in the top 5. This is the film that introduced the world...for the very first time...to the song "White Christmas". However, it is quite a remarkable piece of cinematic gold aside from that famous bit of trivia. Bing opens up an inn in "Coh-nech-tuh-cit" that is only open on Holidays and starts a rivalry over a lady with fellow entertainer Fred Astaire. This movie is top notch old school Hollywood musical...and contains one of the most jaw-droppingly racist songs/dance routines during a musical number on Lincoln's Birthday (but hey, it was 1940...look at it is as a bit of American history).
Got to love old movies - where the answer to any of life's problems was to get slam damn hammered.
1) It's a Wonderful Life - Could it really be anything else. Jimmy Stewart was a classic...he just oozes Americana and this film is right in his wheelhouse. The person that looks me in the eye and says they don't get the least bit choked up when George reachese for Zuzu's petals or when Harry Bailey bursts in and says "To my big brother George, the richest man in town!"...is the person that had their soul sold at auction for a nickel.
I know Uncle Billy didn't really wind up in the mental institution thanks to George...but the booze...all those wild animals he lives with...the obvious dementia...I'm just saying it's something the Bailey family might want to look into.