Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Popcorn - Contemporary Christmas

This week I thought I'd share some more reviewlettes about contemporary Christmas films. I've picked three of my favourite films to write on and like my Snack Size reviews, each is around 100 words a piece. Enjoy!

Elf (2003)
Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Will Farrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Cann

Ok, so I feel like I have to come clean and admit that I’m not really a Will Ferrell fan, but I think it’s hard to really dislike Elf – one of the best Christmas-themed films released in the last few years. Elf is the story of Buddy, a boy raised amongst North Pole elves, only to be sent to New York City one Christmas to track down his real father. So it’s kind of silly, but it’s also very sweet. If even you are not a Will Ferrell fan, watch it for Zooey Deschanel (my number one girl-crush) and my personal favourite scene where Buddy decorates a department store for Santa’s arrival (did I ever mention that being some kind of Christmas decorating co-ordinator is my dream job? No? Well it is!)
Trivia: Terry Zwigoff was offered a chance to direct the film, but turned it down (he directed Bad Santa instead)

Home Alone (1990)
Director: Chris Columbus
Starring: Macaulay Culkin

Kevin McAllister is left home alone during a family Christmas holiday to France, only to discover that his neighbourhood is being targeted by a duo of burglars, the Wet Bandits. Hijinks, of course, ensue as Kevin attempts to protect his family home whilst his mother tries to get back home before Christmas day. It’s a film full of physical comedy and unashamedly utilises it’s ‘kid-cuteness’ factor and I think has that right mix of fun and holiday schmaltz (lord, anything with the old man Marley makes me teary because lonely old people at Christmas makes me cry). Also, did this film cause anyone else to try and make their own burglar traps at home?
(Ok so after writing this review, I realised that Home Alone is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year, which makes me feel really old and realise that it's not really a 'contemporary' Christmas film, but I wanted to include it anyway).

Trivia: The role of Uncle Frank was written for Kelsey Grammer.

Love Actually (2003)
Director: Richard Curtis
Starring: Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy

This, oddly, is my dad’s favourite holiday film, and in my opinion, the best Christmas film of the noughties. The story is made up of a number of interconnected relationships and set over the holiday season. Some storylines are stronger than others (Laura Linney’s failed romance with the delicious Carl always makes me cry) and some are just silly (Colin Frissell and his All-American foursome) but it’s certainly an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours this December (preferably cuddled up with a blanket and hot drink). Watch it for the beautiful closing montage filmed at Heathrow, showing real reunions, for Hugh Grant daggy dancing and an abundance of celebrity cameos.  

Trivia: Kris Marshall returned his pay check for the scene where the three American girls undress him. He said he had such a great time having three girls undress him for 21 takes, that he was willing to do it for free, and thus returned his check for that day.

What are your favourite festive films from the past decade? Which ones make you want to choke on tinsel/drink spiked eggnog?


Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Great picks especially Love Actually although my husband dislikes it. We always end up watching the Muppets on TV at Christmas. They always seem to be on!

kate.o.d said...

'elf' is possibly one of my favourite films of all time. not just christmas films. but i'm a fan of will ferrell ('dick' being one of my other favourite films of all time, also 'stranger than fiction') and i wish i were zooey most of the time anyways (ooh, check out my friends jenny and krissa's site for 'she and him' xmas-style: i love when he makes the pasta. and "I'M IN A STORE AND I'M SIIIINGING!" heheehehe.

excellent trivia about colin frissell giving back his pay cheque.

Girl Friday said...

Nic - hahaha, awww I love the Muppets! As yes, they are always ALWAYS on at Christmas!

Kate - Oh my goodness - that She and Him and Conan = amazing! Thank you! Haha, I love that bit (the singing) and when he sings to James Caan "I was adopted, but you didn't know I was born ... and guess what? I love you, I love you"

kate.o.d said...

yes yes! so hilarious!

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