As most people know, the holidays are all about the big f-words: family, friends, festivities, fruitcakes, fun, and food (I’ll leave all the other options to your imagination in the good-nature of the holiday spirit).
However, it’s also about film on the big and small screens, and despite being a member of the Hanukkah tribe, I love me some Christmas spirit as much as anyone else. Thus, I’ve put together a Top 10 list of holiday entertainment that Geek Outlaw loves to geek out on every yuletide season.
Remember these are just my personal favorites and this is not some fancy inaccurate scientific study, so if you disagree, don’t hesitate to let me have it in the comments section and list your own favorites as well.
Of the entire list, I may take the most heat for this one and I’m fairly certain I’m in the minority. Nevertheless, if anyone can mimic the facial expressions of a cartoon, I can’t think of anyone else to do it but the rubber-faced Carrey himself. He is one of those guys you either love or hate, and as far as this geek is concerned, Carrey can do little wrong.
While the original will always be the ‘true’ classic, I actually prefer this live-action version as the live actors – most notably Carrey – give this rendition of the Grinch its real heart.
9: “The O.C. – The Best Chrismukkuh Ever” – 2003
I’m sure I will get more than a few fits of laughter and pointing fingers for this choice, but I guess I better come out and just disclose it now; The. O.C. used to be one of the Outlaw’s favorite shows.
Now that I’ve outed myself out of the teen-dramedy closet, I can proudly confess that some my favorite entries of the series were that of the Chrismukkah holiday, which was invented by Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) in a grand idea to bring the multi-denominational family together. The best of them was simply titled, well, “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”.
8: “Seinfeld – Festivus (The Strike)” – 1997
Keeping on the newly invented holiday theme, what Seinfeld fan can forget the festive episode where George Costanza (Jason Alexander) introduces his friends – and the rest of the TV-viewing world – to Festivus.
Created by George’s dad, Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller), to buck the commercial spirit of the holidays, it brings with it the feats of strength, airing of grievances, a Festivus pole and Festivus miracles. For those that didn’t like to celebrate the usual variety of holiday choices, it was lovingly referred to as “Festivus for the rest of us.”
(Fun Fact: It was actually based on a real tradition invented by the father of Seinfeld writer Daniel O’Keefe.)
7: “The Simpsons – Roasting on an Open Fire” – 1989
Through the years, The Simpsons have had some very memorable holiday classics. (After 23 seasons, there has to be at least one or two, right?) For myself, the holiday special that springs to mind is the Christmas-themed episode from the very first season back in 1989.
The special introduced the world to Springfield’s most lovable (and absent-minded) canine, Santa’s Little Helper. As a Simpsons loyalist, the first season in general was never my favorite, but this episode was the true gem to me as it showed The Simpsons were not only truly dysfunctional during the holidays, but truly had heart as well.
6: “Scrooged” – 1988
Much like Mr. Carrey, in my eyes, Bill Murray is one of those actors that does almost everything right. Scrooged is one of those rare remakes with a twist that really utilizes some of Murray’s best comedic talents.
While there are other Murray movies I do enjoy better in general (Ghostbusters obviously being #1… as if I had to make that known), Scrooged lands within the Top 5, and one of my favorite holiday flicks as well.
5: “The Santa Clause” – 1994
Probably one of the few surprises on my list for those that know my kosher upbringing, this family comedy about what happens to old St. Nick after he suffers a fatal slip, is one of Tim Allen’s best live-action movies on recorded film (if not one of the best Christmas movies of the past 20 years).
In conjunction with Allen’s humor, the film tells a very unique story and delivers a balanced amount of the non-cheesy type of heart in comparison to some other holiday fare. The fact it also keeps some realistic grounding makes the film that much funnier (unlike the following two sequels that were basically just cash-cows that went way over-the-top).
4: “Frosty the Snowman” – 1969
Despite being well before my time, the original cartoon classic became an instant classic for myself from the very first moment I watched it. I loved it so much in fact, I remember burning holes in the VHS recording of it, because I would watch it over and over again. Frosty was one of those rare treats that actually made me look forward to the holidays almost more than the gifts… almost.
While the animation was fairly basic, Frosty’s kind and gentle demeanor, along with his desire to have fun, made him like a big wise snowy grandpa type figure. (FUN FACT THAT DOESN’T LEAVE THIS BLOG: To this day I still get teary icicles in my eyes when Frosty melts away.)
3: “Love Actually” – 2003
This one even surprised me. The multi-dimensional relationship collage flick has slowly climbed the ranks throughout the years as my favorite holiday film indulgence. It most likely has to do with the fact that I’m maturing as I get older (GASP!), but more so because I’m a hopeless romantic at heart (Also not to leave this page).
However, what may also be of surprise to many of my fellow male outlaw followers is that this isn’t by any means a pure ‘chick-flick’ (as we manly men like to call such overly sappy rom-cons). Love Actually covers a multitude of different relationship types among a wide demographic of people in order to demonstrate what the holiday season is truly all about: family, friendship, and love.
2: “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – 1965
While the rest of my list could be considered entirely subjective, anyone who doesn’t have this Peanuts classic in their Top 3 probably needs a visit from three well-known spirits (and I don’t mean Jack, Rum, and Jim Beam).
Another animated classic from the 60’s, a Charlie Brown Christmas extolled onto us that the true meaning of Christmas had nothing to do with the presents under the tree (or the tree itself), but rather, ‘Good will toward all men (and women)’.
If you haven’t seen this classic, ‘Good Grief,’ go and make it so.
I know exactly what you’re thinking… “Huh?” If so, I don’t blame you. This is a #1 pick only a true X-Phile could make. That’s because as a standalone episode for a newbie, it’s most likely just entertaining at best. Conversely, if you are a die-hard fan of Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) adventures, the episode is pure magic.
Unfortunately, it takes over five seasons of tenure and growth with the characters to appreciate the ultimate payout of this rare X-File holiday-themed episode. The humor is top-notch with Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin guest starring, the twists are actually deceiving, and the end is Chris Carter at his best.
If one is invested in the ‘what-kind-of-relationship-is-it’ mystery of the dynamic FBI duo, then the site of them exchanging gifts in the final scene to the tune of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ extracts more than a few happy tears from the ol’ water ducts.
Think I’m kidding? You’ll just have to find out on your own because ‘The Truth is Out There’…
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2012 fellow Outlaws!