Tag Archive: Christmas movies

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?



The Last Piece of Christmas

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


Image by Kevin Rosseel

This past week I noticed that there were Christmas bulbs on the new trees in our downtown area. The ornaments are in colors of green, red and gold, making our downtown look a little festive.


So does the new Christmas tree that is over by the railroad building. It is full and bushy, decorated as it should be for the holiday.


I don’t know about you but I am ready for the holidays to be over. It has been crazy busy at my house and just when I think I have a night at home another ‘holiday’ activity has found its way onto our calendar.


So while I hope for some time to clean my house from more than its usual wreck, I am also planning to watch a few movies on those nights I plan to wrap a few presents.


Once the kids go to bed, I bring out the stash of presents, paper, scissors, tape and marking pen to begin the task of making magic happen. I pick out a movie, pour out some egg nog and get to the task at hand.


Kate and Jack in "The Holiday," Image from IMDb.com.

One movie for this “me” time that I love is The Holiday starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as women trading homes during the holidays. Both have broken hearts and need new sights to help the healing process. New connections are formed as these women meet the other’s family members, neighbors and friends.


They both find love and perhaps something more important, a renewed sense of self. It doesn’t hurt that the incredible Jude Law is one of the suitors and Jack Black shows vulnerability that makes him more accessible.


If I want a good cry, the Christmas movie of choice for me is The Family Stone starring Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson. Here we follow a family who is about to meet the girlfriend of one son. She appears to be as uptight as this family is relaxed or maybe its nerves and wanting to do the right thing.


Meeting the family in "The Family Stone," Image from IMDb.com

Of course, there are things that complicate everything. A hidden medical diagnosis, a pregnancy for one sister, another who is greatly opposed to this new person. Then there are the brothers, one of whom is deaf and gay, the other a pot-smoking filmmaker. And just when it could not get worse, the sister of the girlfriend shows up and changes the game entirely for the boyfriend.


But there is a moment that changes everything for me, a food disaster that leads to a moment of bonding with the women. From that moment on I cry on and off. I have done this ever since I watched this movie for the first time.


Let me wish you and yours  a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Until next year, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Last week, I talked about great holiday movies for kids or the whole family. This week I am talking about those holiday movies that are best suited for adults. Some are on my list because, context-wise, they are made for adults.

Poster image from IMDb.com.

Others are there because they are violent and/or filled with swear words. They are simply not suitable for the younger members of the family or to watch with your parents and/or grandparents.

Here it is.

#5 This is my favorite Christmas movie and when you think about when the movie was made, it is quite shocking. In Christmas in Connecticut, Barbara Stanwyck plays a Martha Stewart-type writer who cannot do anything she writes about. However, her publisher decides he wants to have an old fashioned Christmas at her farm and eat her delicious cooking. To make matters worse, he has invited a war hero to join them.

Now Stanwyck has to find a farm, a husband and a baby. When the soldier arrives Stanwyck finds herself falling for him while pretending to be married. How shocking, a married woman with a child flirting shamelessly with a war hero. And yet, I love it. I watch it every Christmas Eve.

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

#4 What is Christmas without Bruce Willis yelling “Yippee Ki Yay, &#*@^.” Well, probably a lesser time. Who can resist an NYPD officer going to L.A. for Christmas to visit his high-powered wife. Once he gets there he has to deal with a hostage-takeover and try to save her.

This movie is filled with violence. Willis swears enough to make him an honorary British actor. Best of all, we get to watch the delicious Alan Rickman as the dapper and cunning villain. 

#3 Love Actually is a British romantic comedy set during the month leading up to Christmas. It is an ensemble cast that includes Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Liam Neesom and Kiera Knightly. The stories are about love found, love lost, love beginning, and love strained.

The writing and acting are stupendous feats, much of the emotions of the characters are raw and tangible. BUT there is a lot of swearing. And one story follows two people who are movie stand-ins at a porno movie shoot. I only watch this one with the husband or by myself.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

#2 If you like black comedy and need a break from the sweetness of the holiday, you cannot go wrong with Bad Santa. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, cynical Santa who robs the mall he works at every year with his elf partner.

This time a bullied kid from the town invites Thornton into his home, and slowly this drinking and swearing Santa opens his eyes to what is around him. It might also help that Thornton begins seeing a pretty bartender with a Santa fixation.

There is a lot of swearing, drug use, violence and sexual activity. I am not watching this movie with my parents.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

#1 You might wonder why I am putting It’s a Wonderful Life on this list. After all, what could be questionable about this movie? Let’s start with the attempted suicide by George, the heavy drinking that takes place throughout the movie, the implied sexual behavior of Violet, the cruelty of Potter at every turn. There is a lot of this that is meant for adults.

Most young kids cannot relate to the worst that can happen to a person, driving them to such a desperate act. While this movie is about how one person can affect a single community, in the end it is also about how you live your life. If only we could all be a little more like George and Mary.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Notes From Rumbly Cottage: Feasting and Shopping and Watching