Buddy and Jovie in elf clothing in the movie Elf


Will Ferrell has always been really hit-or-miss for me; so have Christmas movies. Thankfully, Elf, a 2003 Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell, is a huge hit. Directed by Jon Favreau (About a Boy, Iron Man) and starring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, and James Caan, this Christmas film is just the right amount of goofiness and sentiment to make it special without making it so sugary sweet that I need to watch Fight Club afterwards. I debated whether it belongs on my list of classic and essential films, but after watching it again this holiday season, I have to admit: this is a great film that’s fun to watch and will be around for decades, much like A Christmas Story. Even after watching this virtually every Christmas for the last ten years or so, it’s still a joy to watch. It’s a fun holiday film that can make any dreary December a little more merry.

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A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

There have been a lot of Christmas movies over the years, but few that have really stood the test of time to be remembered long after they come out, and even fewer that are as fun to watch as A Christmas Story. Directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s) and starring Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, and Darren McGavin, this might just be the perfect Christmas movie. It’s wholesome and nostalgic without being sappy or boring. It’s witty and hilarious and these things seem to get better as the movie ages. And it’s uplifting without being preachy or puritanical. I didn’t watch a lot of movies growing up and I still don’t watch a lot of television, so I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I didn’t discover this movie until just a few years ago. I’m glad I did, though. This movie is a joy to watch, and it’s become one that really rings in Christmas for my family.

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Die Hard


“You can walk out of here or be carried out, but have no illusions. We are in charge. So, decide now, each of you. And please remember: we have left nothing to chance.”

Die Hard, directed by John McTiernan (Predator, The Hunt for Red October) and starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and Bonnie Bedelia, is the quintessential action movie. I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the action genre, which is known for its contrived plots, shallow characters, and excessive fan service. Die Hard stands out for being a bit different. The imperfect and realistic character of John McClane keeps this movie tethered to reality much more than other action movies of that time, or since. That grounding is a big reason why the movie has stood the test of time and remains great even to this day.

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