Holiday Christmas Movies + The 80′s= Totally Awesome Santa! By Erik Gratton Reviewed by Momizat on .     I submitted a review of a violent, dark, angry character-study as my first column, but maybe it’s just not the right day for that. (later this w     I submitted a review of a violent, dark, angry character-study as my first column, but maybe it’s just not the right day for that. (later this w Rating: 0
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Holiday Christmas Movies + The 80′s= Totally Awesome Santa! By Erik Gratton

Holiday Christmas Movies + The 80′s= Totally Awesome Santa! By Erik Gratton

 

 

I submitted a review of a violent, dark, angry character-study as my first column, but maybe it’s just not the right day for that. (later this week) Much as I hate this to be our formal introduction, I’m going to write a bit about Christmas movies. Holiday specials, if you will. There have been some amazing ones over the years, but I’m honestly less interested in parsing the whole genre than narrowing the list to a manageable few gems. Seems to me the year’s end is a time for memories leading to nostalgia and arriving finally at scotch. There is, in my opinion, a go-to time-frame for Christmas movies; a magical and forgotten decade of films terrific, unbelievable and oh-so-terrible. It was a mysterious time that remains mocked and horrifying, perhaps best forgotten. But you and I can’t forget. We’re Royals fans. For better or worse, we will always remember the ‘80s.

In 1983 Hollywood, muscles and a cleft chin seemed to matter less than talent and likeability. Names like Dabney Coleman, John Ritter, Danny Glover, Molly Ringwald and Steve Guttenberg could headline mainstream action/romance/comedy hits. And oh sweet baby Jesus, the Christmas movies were everywhere. The following is a short-but-handy guide to navigating the next two days over basic cable and your own collection while avoiding some of the clichéd pitfalls of the season.

Die Hard. Duh. Bestest Christmas actioner ever. “Now I heff a mah-shin-gun. Ho ho ho.”

A Christmas Story. Peter Billingsley gave the performance of a generation. Now he produces and directs some pretty ok stuff. Haven’t seen this one? The Superstation shows nothing else all month, I’m pretty sure.

Scrooged—Bobscratch Goldfarb, Karen Allen, the always-brilliant Alfre Woodard and the best rock-star-actor of all time (a bold statement, but defensible, I think). Also, it contains a trailer of what would have been the best Christmas actioner of all time.

Silent Night, Deadly Night—Best Christmas Horror Movie (a surprisingly rich genre).

Lethal Weapon—Barely qualifies as Christmas fare, but this is a really just a present to me. The final fight between Riggs and Joshua is even more fun when one recasts the actors with their future insane selves. Seriously, even Glenn Beck thinks Mel Gibson is nuts. That’s a lot of crazy, right there. (That last link contains words I like but which may offend your delicate sensibilities. What the heck, it’s about Busey: caveat emptor.)

Santa Claus: The Movie—Really not a great flick. However: nobody but nobody does over-the-top like the Lithgow. Worth a watch, as is everything with Dudley Moore as an elf and The Big Lebowski as Santa.

Better Off Dead…—”I could be home right now drinking this MONSTER egg nog my brother makes with lighter fluid.” Also: Curtis Freaking Armstrong

Gremlins/Child’s Play—Though both have scary moments (and bad sequelsreally bad sequels), they’re best enjoyed as campy gory well-executed (I’m so sorry) comedy.

Trading Places—The story goes something like this: Ralph Bellamy says “I’ve been in 99 movies.” Don Ameche replies “I’ve been in 49.” They look at Eddie Murphy. “Wow, between the three of us we’ve been in 150 movies!”

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol—For those who disagree with me that Mr. Bean is one of the great comedic creations of the last 40 years, can we at least agree that The Black Adder is up near the top?

Mickey’s Christmas Carol—I saw this one with my dad at a tiny movie theatre in downtown Olathe. Or maybe my lizard brain is messing with me.

And, finally, my Holiday Recommendation: Christmas Vacation—What can you say about this one. It’s perfect. That rarest of Hollywood finds: the satisfying PG-13 comedy. Watch with the whole family. But not on basic cable. Splurge a little.

Special Netflix Streaming Bonus: You’re welcome.

About The Author

Grew up on the streets of Overland Park...played my high school ball at Shawnee Mission North before playing college ball in Riverside, CA. I graduated from an original Big 8 school and love this great city. My favorite player as a kid was Frank Tanana and I thought U.L Washington was a cool MOFO

Number of Entries : 446

Comments (3)

  • Erik Gratton

    Yeah, Gymkata has a special place in my heart, too, but you know: it ain’t a good movie. Glad to hear that (and unsurprised) about Billingsley. My only LA softball experience was a very brief stint at 2B for the NASA JPL team. Those guys were serious about their softball.

  • Greg Schaum

    I got to know Billingsley when I was in LA. He is a pretty bad athlete and I picked on him in RF …one time I hit a sinking liner his way and he made an amazing catch…we went out (a group of us) for drinks later and he told me it was one of the best feelings he has had…the smile he made after making the catch I can still vividly see in my mind.

    He is a really nice guy

  • Greg Schaum

    First off….welcome to the site….this was a FUN , RAD! TOTALLY TUBULAR read…..as a child who grew up in the 80′s…wow

    Gymkata…..come on man…if that was on cable I was watching it

    Wife and I watched Scrooged last night and a future article I want to work on with you has to be the 10 hottest girls of the 80.s….in which the lingerie girl from Christmas Vacation will be in my list

    Babb and I were just talking about Die Hard Friday as a great Christmas Movie

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