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Your VodkaPundit Christmas Movie Guide

Yes, I have two Hugh Grant movies in my list. I'm not proud of that, but there it is.

by
Stephen Green

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December 23, 2013 - 2:00 pm
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Tis almost the night before Christmas — but there’s still plenty of time to load up the DVD player or stream from Netflix. So make lovely adult beverages for you and yours, and mugs of hot cocoa for the kids.

I should also mention that I’ve never once been able to sit through all of It’s a Wonderful Life, so there’s a good chance I’m a terrible person with retrograde taste in holiday entertainment. So with that out of the way, let’s look at what we do watch every year here at Casa Verde.

Love Actually

Apparently there’s some kind of bitter feud amongst the Love Actually-haters and the Love Actually-lovers, but I’m here to resolve those differences by gently reminding you that the Love Actually-haters are possibly less than human, almost certainly dead inside, and at the very least are incapable of simple human emotion.

Here we have every love story crammed into one breezy and perfectly paced gem of a movie. There’s romantic love, new love, young love, lost love, love that bridges the language barrier, brotherly love, lustful love, the love between a sister and her institutionalized brother, and perhaps the most touching of all, the love between a step-father and the son he finds himself caring for alone. The scenes between Liam Neeson and young Thomas Sangster are by themselves worth the price of admission. And every Anglophile will love Rowan Atkinson’s two pitch-perfect cameos.

There’s some language and some comical nudity, so this one might not be for the kiddos — but prove to me you aren’t dead inside and learn to love Love Actually.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
For anyone looking for well-done Christmas movies that somehow are overlooked, the original Cary Grant version of 'The Bishop's Wife' is one to watch. Another good one is the Humphrey Bogart version of 'We're No Angels'. Also one of my favorites is 'Holiday Inn', which actually introduced the song 'White Christmas'. And finally a great movie also overlooked as a Christmas movie is 'The Apartment'.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (34)
All Comments   (34)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
How can you call 'Love, Actually' a Hugh Grant movie when it should be called a Colin Firth, Alan Rickman or Liam Neeson movie?
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
No Star Wars Christmas Special? Shame!

If someone rained untraceable bearer bonds on me, I would have no idea what to do with them. I might not even realize their value as I've never seen one before.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think Mark Steyn said it best: "Love Actually is crap actually."

Now, About a Boy is a gem of a movie and the best Hugh Grant's ever done.

I prefer Holiday Inn to White Christmas.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Steyn is an interesting cultural critic, but he has big problems with anything that's too successful.

By the way, there's a Mr. MacHeath asking for you in the lobby. Dodgy looking bloke.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hugh Grant has a 'best of'?

Oh brother..

To each his/ her own I suppose.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, I know what you mean, but this one's quite good. He plays a bit against type.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know I'll have to ask my wife about it.

Vodka Pundit referring to Hugh Grant as a '..man-child..' in a particular movie - has Hugh Grant played any other type but a girly-man/ man-child.. ever? I don't believe he's capable.

For me the guy personifies wimpy, metrosexual to the nth degree.

Merry Christmas.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ditto!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Love Actually.. seriously?

Jesus of Nazareth, Life of Brian for me.

Merry Christmas.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great list. And you're right about Love Actually - it has more lump-in-throat, blink back man-tears moments than any other modern comedy I can think of, without betraying its characters integrity for cheap laughs or easy resolutions (I'm thinking the bittersweet Emma Thompson-Alan Rickman thread).

Having said that, I'm going to hesitantly propose an unlikely addition to the Canon - Bad Santa.

At first glance it's not very Christmassy, and I suppose if the criterion is a film you can sit down with and enjoy on Christmas Eve with the wife and kiddies, then forget it. However, since your list includes both serious mayhem and quite a bit of good hearted sexual innuendo, I am emboldened to defend Bad Santa because:

- It follows the Dickensian story arc perfectly - the damned protagonist, the mysterious intervention, resistance, crisis, revelation, and redemption. It's all tongue in cheek, but it's sincere.
- The characters are grotesques, but oddly endearing - especially the peculiar kid (never named) who's the agent of Billy Bob Thornton's transformation.
- The performances are quirky and note-perfect throughout, from the leads (especially John Ritter) to the cameos.
- The gags are beautifully set up in the script. Some are sprung immediately, and some (the elephant Christmas present) unfold over the course of the film. Great writing, great lines.

It does require a high level of tolerance for obscenity, scatology, and what the censors would call "adult situations", and that may take it out of the running for some folks. But at its heart, it's an affirmation - NOT a mockery - of classic Christmas film themes.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Die Hard also owns possibly the greatest douche-bag in cinematic history in Harry Ellis. "Hans. Bubby." I want to shoot him in the face right now. :) I'll settle for watching Alan Rickman do it.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Forget Love, Actually (hate it), but love the others and want to put in an extra plug for We're No Angels, with Bogart, Aldo Rey and Peter Ustinov. Wonderful!
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
I did like We're No Angels, though I kept thinking the entire time while watching that it must have originally been written for the Three Stooges.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
For anyone looking for well-done Christmas movies that somehow are overlooked, the original Cary Grant version of 'The Bishop's Wife' is one to watch. Another good one is the Humphrey Bogart version of 'We're No Angels'. Also one of my favorites is 'Holiday Inn', which actually introduced the song 'White Christmas'. And finally a great movie also overlooked as a Christmas movie is 'The Apartment'.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good picks particularly, Were No Angels.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
All good choices! Here's my fave: "The Christmas Tree," 1969, William Holden, Virna Lisi, and the inimitable Bourvil.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
As a (former) Milwaukeean, there is a special level of appreciation of "Love Actually." The double layering of misperceptions are especially funny: you have filmmakers with a very strange idea of Milwaukee creating a character with even stranger ideas of Milwaukee.

Go Pack!
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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