It's the time of year for me to plow through my favorite Christmas movies before the big day rolls around. Here's what's playing at my place, in no particular order ….
The Sure Thing (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0090103/): John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga play college students who find love on a Christmas break road trip. Directed by Meathead and executive produced by Fonzie. I love Cusack stargazing at Cassiopeia which comes up again with him in "Serendipity" and Zuniga aspiring to be a princess in one scene which pans out for her in "Spaceballs."
Almost Famous (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181875/): OK, this one is a stretch to make this list but the action starts right around Christmas in San Diego with the Chipmunks chirping out some holiday cheer. That's as good of an excuse as any for me to plop in front of the TV to watch this flick. One of my favorite little parts of "Almost Famous" is the fact that the actor who played the principal in director Cameron Crowe's "Say Anything" also plays the principal in this Crowe film.
Serendipity (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240890/): John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale find love while Christmas shopping. I hate Christmas shopping but I'm pretty sure I could fall in love with Kate Beckinsale while shopping for the holidays. I just wish there was some way to tie the "Underworld" movies in to Christmas so I could have a good excuse to watch Beckinsale run around in tight leather for a few hours.
DOA (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094933/): Who needs a bunch of lovey dovey, sappy holiday films? I need a break from all that sweetness and watching Dennis Quaid as a burned out author/college professor run around at Christmas time trying to find out who poisoned him fits the bill.
Elf (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/): Yes, it's stupid but we own it so I have to watch it at least once a year. I can either do that or use the DVD as a coaster for my eggnog. Will Ferrell almost always cracks me up so I can handle an hour or so of him playing one of Santa's moronic elves. If you haven't seen Ferrell's misadventures on "Man vs Wild" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eEpdyPisfc) you're missing out.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0373469/): Takes place right around Christmas, it's funny, full of action and features great performances by Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr. Oh yeah, the movie also stars the lovely Michelle Monaghan. What more could you ask for?
Die Hard (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095016/): It's exciting, violent, set at Christmas and I've always enjoyed it as a holiday movie. The San Francisco Chronicle's Peter Hartlaub gives this Bruce Willis classic the love it deserves http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/parenting/detail?blogid=29&entry_id=52634.
Better Off Dead (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088794/): There sure are a lot of John Cusack movies on this list. Cut me a break, I like John Cusack and I love this movie. I'm amazed that he hates it (http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/000134.php). That must explain why he shoots a paper boy at the beginning of "Grosse Point Blank." After all these years it still cracks me up when heartbroken, suicidal Lane gets frozen dinners from his mother on Christmas.
It's a Wonderful Life (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/): Speaking of suicide, Jimmy Stewart is at his best in the darker parts of this film. I always enjoy this movie's shift from sappy to somber when Stewart jumps in the river to try and bail his family out of financial ruin by killing himself. The holidays were a lot better before NBC got its claws into this movie and turned it into a once-a-year broadcast. The Saturday Night Live's lost ending to this movie is almost as much of a classic as the film itself (http://www.hulu.com/watch/4267/saturday-night-live-its-a-wonderful-life-lost-ending).
About a Boy (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0276751/): Holiday link? The cheesy song "Santa's Super Sled" and the fact that the movie runs through two Christmases with Hugh Grant and company in this comedy about a skirt-chasing cad who finally gets some heart thanks to a dumpy looking sad sack kid with a suicidal mom. Hmmm, what's with all the suicide and death in my list of holiday films?
Love, Actually (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314331/): Honestly, I don't have a man crush on Hugh Grant. The guy actually kind of annoys me because all he ever seems to do are romantic comedies where he acts befuddled. But the man does have three movies that entertain me (No. 3 is "Music and Lyrics" just for the "Pop Goes My Heart" music video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGLXpIojJkg). Grant's just a part of the ensemble in this fun little romantic comedy that counts down to Christmas. Finally, a movie on my list where no one tries to kill themselves!
Goodfellas (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0099685/): OK, so maybe this is the biggest stretch on my list of holiday movies. But think about it, when does the Lufthansa heist go down? Right around Christmas and the mobsters celebrate with a holiday party at the bar. That's the only excuse I need to watch this personal favorite for what seems like the millionth time.
"A Christmas Story" would be on this list if TNT didn't run it all day on Christmas. Thanks to them there's no need for me to include this hilarious movie in my run-up to December 25.
I don't think I'd be able to squeeze it in with about a week left until Christmas anyway.
Time to make some popcorn and watch some movies.