When the temperature gets low and the malls are crowded, nothing beats staying home and snuggling up for a great holiday movie. But letís face it, how many times can you watch Itís a Wonderful Life before itís just not all that wonderful anymore? Luckily, the past 10 years have brought around a new batch of holiday classics.
A human raised by Santaís elves seeks out his real father who just happens to be on the naughty list. A simple enough concept. However, in the hands of comedy provocateur Will Ferrell, that simple concept is turned into an epically funny Christmas spectacle.
Since the filmís release, Buddy the Elf has become Gen-Yís answer to Tiny Tim, an effervescent, albeit slightly naive, reminder of how Christmas can make us feel if we just believe. So, donít be a Cotton-Headed Ninnymuggins; make sure this is the Christmas that you finally get to know Buddy!
Elf stars Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Edward Asner and Bob Newhart. (Rated PG)
Love Actually (2003)
Whatís better than a star-studded romantic comedy? Why, a star-studded romantic comedy set at Christmastime, of course! Love Actually, by Oscar-nominated writer/director Richard Curtis, features a whoís who of British thespians including Kiera Knightly, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Hugh Grant.
With more than a dozen interweaving love stories that will turn your cold heart to warm Christmas pudding, Love Actually proves once and for all that love actually is all around.
Love Actually also stars Laura Linney, Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman. (Rated R)
The Polar Express (2004)
Based on Chris Van Allsburgís book of the same name, The Polar Express tells the story of a boy who, after family and friends insist that the North Pole, Santa and elves are the things of legend, teeters on the cusp of losing his belief in Santa Claus.
However, that lasting faith is rewarded on Christmas Eve when a mysterious train pulls up to his door, promising a visit to the North Pole. For Billy and his fellow passengers, what occurs is magical indeed Ė a journey of self-discovery and faith.
The Polar Express features the voices of Tom Hanks, Hayden McFarland, Peter Scolari and Non Gaye. (Rated PG)
Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) (2006)
This Academy Award-winning German film tells the true story of four soldiers Ė a French lieutenant, a Scottish priest, a German tenor and a Danish soprano Ė who, while entrenched in the perils of war, laid down their arms one Christmas Eve.
After Christmas care packages were distributed, the soldiers sat huddled in the trenches, desperately seeking the comfort of home. The devastation, sadness and fear palpable, the men find the true spirit of Christmas over a single cigarette and small morsel of chocolate.
Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas) stars Diane Kruger, Benno FŁrmann and Dany Boon. German with English subtitles. (Rated PG-13)
There we have it, the best and brightest holiday movies of the past 10 years. So, make some hot chocolate and get ready to feel the jingle jangle of the holiday season without ever having to leave the comfort of your couch.