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Favourite Christmas Film?

Elf has recently been voted the number one Christmas film, according to myvouchercodes.co.uk.
In a survery conducted on the website, the 2003 film was voted the favourite with Miracle on 34th Street coming in second and Home Alone coming in third.
So… is Elf really the best Christmas film of all time? It is definitely one of my favourites along with three others.
So here’s a run down of my four favourite Christmas films and why they are my favourite things to watch over the festive period.

Elf
Starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who as a baby crawls in to Santa’s sack and is brought up as an Elf. When he discovers that he is infact human, Buddy goes to New York in search of his father, Walter Hobbs, who is on the naughty list. Walter did not know that Buddy had been born and at first rejects his son. Buddy discovers the wonders of New York City and tries to adapt to human life… with hilarious consequences. Walter and Buddy soon form a relationship but it is put to the test when Buddy inteferes with Walter’s work.
Elf is a fantastic family film, with hilarious one liners and scenes brilliantly played out by Will Ferrell and the supporting cast. My favourite scene is when Buddy first goes exploring in the City and we see him eating chewing gum from the street, jumping across the zebra crossings, spinning around in revolving doors and being knocked over by a yellow taxi.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppet’s give their own tale of Charles Dickens classic story, with popular Muppet characters potraying different characters. Michael Caine stars in the film as Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserable lead character who is visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
I really love this adaptation as the Muppet characters provide comedy to the heartwarming tale. With Gonzo the Great acting as Charles Dickens narrating the story as it happens we have comedic relief throughout as he tries to convince Rizzo the Rat that he is the great novelist. My favourite parts of the film are the Ghost of Christmas Present and a number of the songs featured in the film.

Love Actually
The film follows numerous different storylines in the run up to Christmas. We see the new Prime Minister fall for one of his staff, two film stand-ins get to know each other in very close proximity, a married man flirting with his secretary, a young man in love with his best friend’s new wife, a woman in love with her co-worker, a 10-year-old boy in love with a girl in his class and an Englishman fall for his Portugese maid amonst other plotlines.
I love Love Actually. I like that it’s a Christmas film as well as a romantic comedy. It comes from one of my favourite writers, Richard Curtis, the man behind Vicar of Dibley and Notting Hill. I love every story told in Love Actually including the heartwrenching story of Sarah, the American editor who is in love with Karl, the creative director whom she works with, whose relationship is interrupted and consequently ended by Sarah’s mentally ill brother. I also particularly enjoy the story of Mark, Juliet and Peter. Juliet and Peter get married at the start of the film, where we see Peter’s best friend Mark videotaping the celebrations. We believe that Mark does not like Juliet very much, however we soon discover that he is in love with Juliet. A beautiful scene shows Mark tell Juliet through flashcards that he loves her but that he will keep his love a secret for the sake of his best friend.

The Holiday
Amanda is an American film trailer maker who has just broken up with her boyfriend in Los Angeles. Iris is a British editor who has just found out that the man she is seeing has just become engaged. Both wanting to escape from their lives over the Christmas period, they decide to trade homes for two weeks. Amanda moves in to Iris’s home and soon become acquainted with Iris’s older brother, Graham. Thinking that they can have a simple one night stand, the pair sleep together but soon find that a relationship has begun. Whilst Iris is living in Los Angeles in Amanda’s home, she becomes friends with Miles, a composer, and Arthur, an elderly man who used to be a screenwriter in Hollywood during the Golden Age.
Although not necessarily a Christmas film, it is set over the Christmas holiday and although I can watch it at any time of year it, to me, provides the warm, cosy feeling that is associated Christmas. I love this film because I enjoy the twists of Kate Winslet’s storyline. Iris has travelled to LA in order to get over a man that she loves, but instead of instantly meeting and falling in love with another man (like Amanda’s storyline) we see her befriend an elderly man instead, with a love story progressing later with Miles. I really enjoy the scene where Arthur’s work is celebrated as it provides a warm, heartfelt feeling where the audience can feel proud of Arthur’s achievements. Another part I really like is where we discover that Graham has two daughters. The scene is completely heartwrenching and heartwarming at the same time. Throughout the film we believe that Graham might be a bit of a ‘player’ but he is infact a loving single father/widower. Once again, the scene is so warm and loving that, for me, it echoes exactly what Christmas is all about.

So, what is your favourite Christmas film? Is it the same as one of mine? Or something entirely different? Please take the poll to cast your vote and leave comments about your favourite Christmas film!

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John Hughes

“Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies? I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.”
– Olive Penderghast, Easy A (2010)

The above is taken from the recent teen film, Easy A.  This is just one of several films who have made reference to the late, great John Hughes.  In recent years, many films (and some television shows) have paid tribute to the writer, director and producer; either referencing his work or echoing the themes and characters portrayed. It could be argued that the teen/high school films of today would not be the way that they are if it was not for the films from John Hughes, for example, the popular ‘nerd’ character, seen in films such as Superbad, are clear reflections of the Anthony Michael Hall characters from the Hughes films.

Since his untimely death in 2009, Hughes’s work has been used as a theme for a recent episode of One Tree Hill, dedicating the episode to the director. The episode saw the characters face various situations that featured in Sixteen Candles, Home Alone and Pretty in Pink.

Molly Ringwald & Michael Schoeffling as Sam Baker & Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles and Bethany Joy Galeotti & James Lafferty as Haley James Scott & Nathan Scott in One Tree Hill.

His films are were a huge success in the mid 1980s and still remain popular today. His films were so relatable to teenagers, creating likeable, true characters and creating storylines that echo the thoughts and feelings of teenagers. After all, it’s every girl’s nightmare to have her parents forget her 16th birthday!

The Breakfast Club is a particular stand out amongst the John Hughes collection. Telling the story of five students in detention, who have nothing in common and who simply see each other as the stereotypes in which they have been labelled; “The Criminal”, “The Princess”, “The Athlete”, “The Brain” and “The Basket Case”. The group were assigned an essay by the school’s principle detailing “who you think you are”. Forced to spend time together, they end up discussing their deepest secrets; realising that they all have poor relationships with their parents and how they worry that, having become friends, after the detention they will all continue to ignore each other and return to their own individual cliques.

“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete… and a basket case… a princess… and a criminal… Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy & Judd Nelson as Claire Standish, Brian Johnson, Andrew Clark, Allison Reynolds & John Bender in The Breakfast Club.

Also known as the “Brat Pack”, the cast of the popular 1980s films, including many of Hughes’ films; Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson became household names during the decade. However, not all went on to outstanding Hollywood careers, but will be remembered for bringing to life some of the most inspiring and true characters featured in movies aimed at teenagers.

Andrew McCarthy, Molly Ringwald & Jon Cryer as Blane McDonnagh, Andie Walsh & Duckie in Pretty in Pink

 

John Hughes died on Auguest 6 2009, following a heart attack whilst he was out walking and was the subject of a tribute at the 2010 Academy Awards where the stars of several of his films came together to celebrate his work. I think John Hughes’s work will remain hugely successful and popular with his characters and plotlines continuing to inspire and influence future high school films. Hopefully generations to come will still enjoy the classic 80s teen movies and recognise the influence John Hughes has had upon teen films and popular culture since their release.

Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
– Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

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