Over the years, Christmas has been the backdrop of classics and contemporary favorites for warm and fuzzy cheer. Here, Bulletin Entertainment maps out your Christmas movie mega-marathon two days shy of the big one.
This Christmas smash hit is directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. It stars Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Edward Asner, and Bob Newhart.
The story is about one of Santa’s elves (Ferrell) who learns of his true identity as a human and goes to New York City to meet his biological father (Caan), spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics as he goes.
“Elf” received positive reviews from critics and earned $220.4 million worldwide on a $33 million budget. It also inspired the 2010 Broadway musical “Elf: The Musical” and NBC’s 2014 stop-motion animated television special “Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas.”
‘Home Alone (1990)’
“Home Alone” is about Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), a boy who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation.
As the story goes along, Kevin initially relishes being home alone but soon has to contend with the two would-be burglars played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. The film also features Catherine O’ Hara and John Heard as Kevin’s parents.
After its release in 1990, “Home Alone” became the highest-grossing live action comedy film of all time in the United States. It is also the highest-grossing Christmas movie of all time at the North American box office.
Culkin, himself, was even nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy.
Written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus, “Home Alone” spawned a successful film franchise with four sequels, including the 1992 film “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” the only “Home Alone” sequel to have the original cast reprising their roles.
‘Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992)’
Speaking of sequels, “Home Alone 2” was also successful like its predecessor. The film opened to $31.1 million from 2,222 theaters, averaging $14,008 per site.
“Home Alone 2” is about the time Kevin and his family decide to take a trip to Florida, but Kevin takes the wrong plane and ends up in New York City. He tries to make do with what he has, such as using his father’s credit card to stay at the Plaza Hotel, but is soon confronted by the Wet Bandits and must outrun and out-prank them again.
‘The Polar Express (2004)’
Based on the 1985 children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, “The Polar Express” is a coming-of-age story that unfolds on a train ride to the North Pole.
Written, produced and directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film features human characters animated using live action motion capture animation. The film stars Daryl Sabara, Nona Gaye, Jimmy Bennett, and Eddie Deezen, with Tom Hanks in six distinct roles.
“The Polar Express” was made with a budget of $165 million, a record-breaking sum for an animated feature at the time. The film was released in both conventional and IMAX 3D theaters on Nov. 10, 2004. It grossed $309 million worldwide, and was later listed in the 2006 Guinness World Book of Records as the first all-digital capture film.
The film also marks Michael Jete’s last acting role before his death, and the film was thus dedicated to his memory.
‘A Christmas Tale (2008)’
French director Arnaud Desplechin’s “A Christmas Tale” explores family relationships, how some conflicts are resolved, and how relationship constantly evolve between mother and children, lovers, spouses, and siblings in the context of a Christmas family gathering. There are philosophical insights into the complexity of life, and people gain a deeper understanding of each person in the family, the dynamics of the Vuillard family, and how they deal with adversity.
The film is about Catherine Deneuve, who plays imperious matriarch of a French Family. When she is diagnosed with leukemia, the family gathers – including black sheep Henri (Mathieu Amalric) – to spend the holidays together.
“A Christmas Tale” was in competition for the Palme d’Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.
‘Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)’
There’s good news in this film: Santa Claus exists. However, he’s much more concerned about punishing naughty children in nasty ways than with providing rewards for those who have been good.
The film stars Per Christian Ellefsen, Peeter Jakobi, Jorma Tommila, Tommi Korpela, and Onni Tommila, among others.
In the US, “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” earned $236,347, while abroad it fared much better at $3,778,786, with total worldwide sales at $4,015,133.
The film won numerous awards such as the Locarno International Film Festival’s Variety Piazza Grande Award and Best Motion Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Director – as well as a “Special Mention” for the Silver Méliès for Best European Motion Picture Award – at the 43rd Sitges Film Festival in 2010. In 2011, director Jalmari Helander and producer Petri Jokiranta received the Finnish Film State Award for their collaboration.
‘The Best Man Holiday (2013)’
If you’re looking for a holiday tearjerker with solid performance and plenty of eye candy, then “The Best Man Holiday” is for you.
The film is about a group of friends who stage a Big Chill-style reunion to celebrate Christmas together will all the trimmings: Food, fights, football, and tragedy.
The ensemble cast includes Morris Chestnut, Monica Calhoun, Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, and Terrence Howard. The film received positive reviews and grossed $71 million worldwide.
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