Thursday, December 11, 2014

Guest Post by Spencer Blohm - Christmas stories.

The holiday season is upon us, and it's time to dust off the covers of those classic holiday books and dig in. Some of those cherished classics are now not only great reads, but also great holiday films. Hollywood has been known to turn great classic books into movies, but some of these more modern films will surprise you that they are actually derived from books. So sit back and read on to find out some good, unique holiday films to start your season.

This 2004 movie stars Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis as a couple whose daughter won't be home for the holidays. They usually celebrate it, but decide to take a Caribbean cruise instead. This puts a damper in their neighborhood, who celebrates Christmas as a community. They are harassed by their neighbors, one of which is played by Dan Aykroyd beautifully. Their tone changes when their daughter decides at the last minute to return home for Christmas. The Kranks and the whole community pull together to create the best Christmas ever. The movie is a comedic masterpiece that is actually based on a book called Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. Grisham is usually known for his suspense and legal thrillers, so this may come as a surprise to a lot of people.

This 1983 gem is the epitome of Christmas. The movie follows Ralphie on his quest for that (now infamous) Red Rider BB Gun. It shows his trials and tribulations as he tries to get the present despite his parent’s reservations. There are so many images and lines that are memorable from the leg lamp to the line, “You’ll shoot your eye out!" This movie is based on a book by Jean Shepherd called In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. Jean Shepherd also narrates the whole movie as the voice of grown up Ralphie. Despite being a box office disappointment, the film has gone on to become a Christmas classic thanks to heavy reruns through national and local television providers.

The Polar Express
This 2004 film was based on the book written by Chris Van Allsburg. It takes you on a fantastic journey on a train with a boy who has lost his belief in the magic of Christmas. As he travels to the North Pole, he is met with musical interludes to make this computer animated movie unique in its own right. Top that off with Tom Hanks voicing multiple characters as well as a cameo by Steven Tyler and this is quickly becoming a favorite holiday movie.

This movie stars Bill Murray in a 1988 modernization of Charles Dickens' classic book A Christmas Carol. The story follows a selfish TV executive on Christmas Eve as he's visited by three ghosts. This movie also has appearances by many of the comedic geniuses of the 80s such as Bobcat Goldthwait and Carol Kane.

Here's another version of this Charles Dickens' classic, this time catered to children through the excellent puppeteering of Jim Henson's Muppets. Kermit portrays Bob Cratchit the forlorn employee who works for Ebenezer Scrooge. It sticks pretty close to the classic story with the usual Muppet shenanigans intermixed.

A lesser known holiday movie, this is based on the 20th novel in the British comic fantasy book series Discworld by Terry Pratchett. The story is about the missing Hogfather (who is the Santa of that realm). If follows the search for what happened to the Hogfather and brings you into this unique fantasy world.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
There are two versions of this classic Dr. Seuss book. The one most remembered is the cartoon version, which follows the classic book. Then in 2000, Ron Howard directed a live action version which starred Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Of course, the special effects and pitch perfect comedy provided by Carrey has now made this just as memorable as the cartoon version.

Overall, holiday movies have become a huge part of pop culture. A Christmas Story has spawned merchandise, such as the leg lamp, and The Polar Express has created magical vacation getaways for families. Even though these books have been around, the movies are what brought it to life in the eyes of pop culture today.

Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, culture, and lifestyle blogger. He lives and works in Chicago. When not working he can be found camped out in his apartment watching the latest films and newest television shows.


Karen said...

I saw a Christmas Story when it first came out and I HATED it but now it's my favorite holiday movie. I also love Elf.

Midnyte Reader said...

Karen, I was the same. I actually think it's a kind of dark movie...but now there are certain parts I like and I think it's well done. I do like Elf a lot.

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