‘Tis the Season for Awesome Holiday Movies

‘Tis the season for awesome movies! I am a big fan of movies in general but I have a special place for holiday movies. Cold weather, hot cocoa and a good Christmas movie can be just the ticket to get in the holiday spirit this time of year.

Here is a list of my top 5 favorite holiday movies.

Frosty the Snowman
Frosty appears and helps a little girl escape from the greedy magician. This animated film is a favorite of mine due to the fact that a snowman comes to life and dances around the town.  Who wouldn’t love that?!

This movie came out in 1989 but I didn’t see it until the mid-90s because I wasn’t old enough until then to see it. A young girl discovers a hurt reindeer and nurses him back to health with the help of the town veterinarian. Over time the girl becomes convinced that the reindeer is actually one of Santa’s reindeer, Prancer to be exact. I won’t give away the ending but it is heartwarming for sure.

A child named Buddy finds his way in Santa’s sack back to the North Pole where he grows up and becomes one of Santa’s elves. When Buddy discovers that he is actually human and not and elf he sets off on an adventure to New York City to find his father. The humor in this movie is beyond fabulous in my opinion – Will Ferrell (who plays Buddy) is a 10.

Home Alone
Home Alone is my generation’s classic Christmas movie as it came out in 1990 when I was about 6 years old. Kevin is a young boy accidentally left at home alone when his family takes a vacation to France for the holidays. Two robbers, the Wet Bandits, are on the prowl to burgle Kevin’s home while the family is away. Once Kevin figures out what they are up to he comes up with a plan and chaos ensues.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
I didn’t see this movie until last year, but I must say I really enjoyed it when I finally did! The Griswald’s are a kooky American family just enjoying the festivities of the season. There are a lot of quirky moments (driving under a semi trailer, speed-sledding through town, and a totally toasted turkey) that make this movie an awesome addition to your holiday movie line-up.

Grumpy Old Men
I am not sure there is anything funnier than watching a couple of self-proclaimed “old farts” fooling around ice fishing on a frozen lake. When an attractive single woman moves into the neighborhood the two men chase after her and do ridiculous things to gain her favor. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau have the bickering banter down to a T as this dynamic duo starred together in the 1968 film classic The Odd Couple.

It’s too hard to narrow down my favorite holiday movies so I’ll add in a few more of my favorites for good measure!

  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • Love Actually
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Holiday

Happy Holidays to all!


Mary’s 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die

Documentaries are my favorite films.  When I was a student at IU, I was lucky enough to take a class that focused entirely on the documentary style.  It opened me up to a whole new world of entertainment!  Last fall, one of my favorite filmmakers, Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), hosted a show on Current TV called 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die.  I was very proud to say that I had seen well over three fourths of the list, and over the past few months have been watching the rest.  There were several documentaries that I love that didn’t make the Spurlock list…….so I decided to compile my own “50 Documentaries to See Before You Die” list.  And, the great thing is, the library actually has them all! 

Check them out!!
Click the links to place things on hold. We’ll pull the DVD and have it ready and waiting for you!

  1. Hoop Dreams: I agree with Morgan Spurlock- it deserved to be #1.
  2. The Fog of War: Errol Morris is my favorite director- he is amazing.
  3. American Movie: didn’t make his list- but I LOVE this hilarious film.
  4. Grizzly Man: hilarious and sad all at once.
  5. Dark Days: this was one that I watched in my documentary class- fascinating.
  6. Exit Through The Gift Shop: all about the amazing graffiti artist Banksy.
  7. Tarnation: disturbing….but very original.
  8. When We Were Kings: the best account of the famous “Rumble in the Jungle.”
  9. King of Kong: so great- and funny.
  10. Catfish: wow.  a strange, strange, story.
  11. When the Levees Broke: the most personal viewpoint of Hurricane Katrina I’ve seen.
  12. Man on Wire: who walks a tight-rope between the World Trade Center towers?!?!?!  Crazy)
  13. Vernon, Florida: Errol Morris’ first documentary.  It’s hilarious, and very quotable.
  14. Garbage Warrior: about a very interesting man who builds sustainable housing from garbage.
  15. I Like Killing Flies: a quirky man and his restaurant in Greenwich Village.
  16. Devil’s Playground: about the Amish tradition of Rumspringa- much of it takes place in northern Indiana.
  17. Capturing the Friedmans (hitting our shelves soon… be the first to check it out, then let us know what you think!): crazy story…..another one that was featured in my documentary class.
  18. Street Fight: the mayoral race for Newark- fascinating, and somewhat troubling.
  19. Waiting for “Superman”: raises some interesting points concerning the state of the education system.
  20. It Might Get Loud: Jimmy Page, Jack White, and The Edge…..jamming.  What could be better?
  21. Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?: I first heard about this woman on 60 minutes- she’s very entertaining!
  22. Bowling for Columbine: the always controversial Michael Moore. 
  23. Fahrenheit 9/11: I’ll just name that one too…..sorry to those who hate him.
  24. Marwencol: wow.  Just have to see it to believe it- a man and a world he created.
  25. War Dance: a beautiful film about a dance competition in Uganda.
  26. Young @ Heart: what is better than a group of 80 + year olds singing Radiohead??
  27. Tabloid: Errol Morris’ latest film…..very, very quirky.
  28. Spellbound: who knew a spelling bee could be so intense?
  29. Word Wars: and who knew that scrabble was so involved!
  30. Jesus Camp: I learned a lot from this one…..it was also on Morgan Spurlock’s list.
  31. Gasland: Can You Light Your Water on Fire?: lighting tap water on fire!!  Scary stuff….
  32. Crumb: about the comic book writer Robert Crumb.
  33. Food, Inc.: somewhat disturbing, but I really learned a lot.
  34. Rip!: A Remix Manifesto: about the remix musician Girl Talk- very cool.
  35. The Hobart Shakespeareans: inspirational story about Rafe Esquith, a revolutionary teacher in L.A.
  36. Anvil: The Story of Anvil: like Spinal Tap- only real.
  37. Dancing Outlaw: wow.  Also, check out the recent follow up film The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.
  38. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills: this story was recently in the headlines again- and there are two follow-up documentaries.
  39. The Devil and Daniel Johnston: a genius songwriter who was respected by many- including Kurt Cobain.
  40. Stevie: by the same director as Hoop Dreams.
  41. Trouble the Water: a very personal documentary shot DURING Hurricane Katrina.
  42. Dogtown and Z-Boys: the beginning of skateboarding.
  43. Super Size Me: Morgan Spurlock’s often funny, but disturbing film.
  44. This Film Is Not Yet Rated: a look inside the movie ratings system- surprisingly interesting.
  45. The Eyes of Tammy Faye: I never realized that her story was so complex.
  46. Best Worst Movie: Have you seen Troll 2?  It’s the Best Worst Movie ever!
  47. Shut Up and Sing: about the Dixie Chicks and their controversy following 9/11.
  48. Little Dieter Needs to Fly: this is the story that the Christian Bale film Rescue Dawn was based on.
  49. Shut Up Little Man: this is a new one….the first half of it was very, very funny.
  50. The Natural History of the Chicken: trust me on this one- it’s hilarious.

So, yes- that’s my list.  I highly recommend each of these titles.  Let me know if there are any that you feel should be included…..I always love to discover a new great documentary!

~Mary Glaser (film nerd)