The fall finales have come and gone. The TiVo's to-do list is blissfully empty. I loves me some TV, but I'm as ready for a break as anyone, not leastly because I have a lot of writing to do.
I'm signing off here until the New Year. Enjoy some holiday flicks, why dontcha? Here's a list to get you started, reprinted from last year.
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE - Darker and wittier than you remember.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS - WARNING! VERY IMPORTANT!! I mean the ANIMATED version, with charming Chuck Jones art and plummy voice work by Boris Karloff. Not the Jim Carrey redundancy, for the love of Fah who for-aze.
WHEN HARRY MET SALLY - Not strictly speaking a Christmas movie, but many of the story's key moments happen at the holidays. The season of groveling, revelatory Mallomars.
MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL - I'm serious. Michael Caine gives excellent deadpan as Scrooge in the face of adorableness (Fozziwig!) and catchy songs, but the movie gets scary and sad right when it's supposed to. All that and mini Miss Piggies. Get over yourself and rent it.
THE THIN MAN - Another not-quite-Christmas movie, but who cares when you have William Powell shooting ornaments off the tree with a BB gun while Myrna Loy watches, amused, in a new fur coat? In a movie that glimmers with champagne dialogue, this wordless moment is a standout.
THE GODFATHER - Okay, okay, I'll stop cheating, but the Godfather saga is framed around moments rich with ritual and family significance: weddings, baptisms, the holidays. I love Al Pacino's tense and terrifying vigil at the creepy, Christmas-quiet hospital.
A CHRISTMAS STORY - Some time ago I came across a rant against this movie, which I just don't get. So it's faux nostalgic. Nostalgia is false almost by definition. A CHRISTMAS STORY is funny, sweet, just arch enough, and yes, authentic, capturing the tribulations and joy of being a kid at yuletide. Plus Peter Billingsley now is poker buddies with Vince Vaughn, so there's that.
BAD SANTA - Christmastime sucks for a lot of people. BAD SANTA is bleak and funny and has heart without dipping into sentimentality. Co-stars Lauren Graham as a Santa fetishist. Oh, Lorelai!