Movie Trip 12/17

Paul McGuire Grimes from Paul’s Trip to the Movies shares a roundup of Christmas movies worth watching this season.

MIRACLE ON THE 34th STREET (1947, Classic Christmas Movie)

It’s the day of the big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and head organizer Doris Walker (Maureen O’Hara) finds herself in a pickle when her Santa is completely inebriated. She quickly hires a man named Kris Kringle to fill his spot. He bears a striking resemblance to Santa Claus with the white beard, hair, and belly. Her young daughter, Susan (Natalie Wood), is wiser than her years and no longer believes in Santa. That all changes when she’s convinced that Kris Kingle is the actual Santa Claus. His appearances in the parade and around town become the talk of town until he’s proclaimed psychologically insane for claiming he’s Santa.

-Starring: Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara, John Mayne

-Edmund Gwenn makes for a wonderful Kris Kringle. He’s jolly and positive despite the cynical naysayers around him. His overall tenor in the film makes this inspirational for even the most jaded at Christmas time.

-Winner of three Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actor for Edmund Gwenn

-Carefully filmed while the actual 1946 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day was going on in the background

-Helps you believe in the spirit of the Christmas, looking beyond the stress and family drama to enjoy the magic and wonder of the season. It’s a time for giving thanks for the blessings we’re given in life.

-The 1994 remake with Elizabeth Perkins, Mara Wilson, and Richard Attenborough is equally enjoyable


BATMAN RETURNS (1992, Non-Traditional Christmas Movie)

Christmastime should be a celebration for Gotham City. The tree is lit, people are out shopping, and there’s hustle and bustle in the town square. That is until the Penguin and his troop from The Red Triangle Circus pop up crashing a big announcement by businessman Max Shreck. His gang terrorizes the citizens of Gotham threatening Shreck and his “plan” for Gotham. He goes on to declare his candidacy for mayor and wants to find the identity of his parents who abandoned him when he was a baby. Bruce Wayne/Batman is ready to save the day, but The Penguin isn’t the only nemesis for Batman when Catwoman leaves her mark. After Selina Kyle was pushed from a window by her boss, Max Shreck, she’s re-born transforming herself into the infamous villain and debates whether a partnership with the Penguin is what it will take to bring down Batman.

-Starring: Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken

-Director Tim Burton’s second Batman film and noticeably darker in tone and moodiness than the first film.  The only bright light come from the festive seasonal decorations in Gotham. From the gothic design elements to Danny Elfman’s score, this is 100% a Tim Burton film. His style is all over this film.

-Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on Catwoman has become iconic, and in my opinion, no actress since her could top what she brought to the role. She’s nerdy and socially awkward as Selina Kyle and turns into the sexy and dangerous Catwoman. To me, it is one of the greatest comic book villain performances we’ve ever had on screen.

-Pfeiffer did all her stunt work with the bullwhip surprising everyone on set.

-Danny DeVito is equally brilliant with his ghoulish and greasy take on the Penguin. He’s 100% committed disappearing into the Penguin.

-The penguin army is a mix of CGI penguins, animatronics, men in suits, and real penguins

-It’s the perfect non-traditional Christmas film because it takes place at Christmas, yet it’s terrifying, bleak, violent, and made to perfection.

-Now streaming on HBO Max. It looks so clean, crisp, and I’m just in awe over all of the creative elements of the film from the costumes, the score, and iconic performances.

-Michael Keaton will return to the role of Batman in The Flash coming November 2022


THE FAMILY STONE (2005, Contemporary Christmas Classic)

Sarah Jessica Parker stars as the uptight Meredith, a conservative businesswoman always glued to her phone. She’s set to spend Christmas with her boyfriend Everett’s family. The Stone Family are a close-knit bunch leaning on the more liberal, free-spirited side. They’re guarded over brother Everett believing Meredith isn’t the right one for him despite the fact he wants to purpose to her. It comes at a somber time for the Family Stone as matriarch Sybil is dying of cancer and knows her time with the family is limited.

-Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker, Dermot Mulroney, Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Elisabeth Reaser, and Claire Danes

-There’s so much to love about this film from its all-star cast to its relatable characters.

-All the hallmarks of a fun Christmas movie: awkward conversations with in-laws around the table, Christmas traditions, kitchen disasters, and family hijinks.

-The film features a deaf, gay character and there’s a pivotal scene regarding the acceptance and love the Stones have for Thaddeus standing up for him over Meredith.

-Heartwarming, funny, and may just make you cry as you think about your own close-knit family and what these cherished family times around the holidays mean to you.

-Streaming on Peacock

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