05. A Christmas Tale (2008, Arnaud Desplechin)
For arthouse film lovers and people who are a little less than enthused about the holidays than most people (or both), this is the film for you. It's about a dysfunctional family who gather together for the Christmas celebration as one of their members (Catherine Deneuve, wonderful as always) gets a cancer diagnosis and is looking for a bone marrow match. Make no mistake: This is no manipulative tear-jerker of a film. It does go into all sorts of unpredictable, at times even dark and sometimes rather funny directions. It's a wonderful little film that can be viewed any day of the year.
04. Scrooged (1988, Richard Donner)
Not all critics and film buffs agree with this one but this is a personal favorite of mine. It also reminds me that Bill Murray is such a wonderful actor. It's basically the retelling of the classic A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens story in the modern setting and this time Scrooge is a TV executive. It's not a perfect film but it's got plenty of good holiday cheer coupled with Bill Murray's brand of humor.
03. The Shop Around The Corner (1940, Ernst Lubitsch)
Bickering co-workers fall in love with people they correspond with via mail, not knowing they're actually writing to each other. This is a classic Hollywood romantic comedy from its Golden Age. It features a strong ensemble cast led by Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan. Christmas does not actually figure into it until the third act but I still consider it a Christmas movie anyway. Beware the inferior 1998 remake, You've Got Mail.
02. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, Henry Selick)
There are lots of Christmas animated films from all sorts: Hand-drawn, stop-motion, CGI. But out of those which I've seen over the years, few have equaled but none have topped Henry Selick's and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas. From Danny Elfman's great score to the astounding visuals which ingeniously blends dark, creepy images with holiday cheer with equal glee.
01. The Bells of St. Mary's (1945, Leo McCarey)
Like The Shop Around The Corner, Christmas does not actually figure into this film in its entirety but it's one of the major plot arcs in it. Nevertheless, I say that's good enough for me to qualify it as a Christmas film. This is actually a sequel to the Best Picture Oscar winner Going My Way however, I consider this film superior in every respect. It's about a priest who helps out a group of nuns run a parochial school. It's a sweet, humane, heartfelt film. It's A Wonderful Life is often credited as the feel-good holiday movie of all time. However, I felt that more strongly in this film than in that film. If any of you are sick of It's a Wonderful Life, I strongly suggest this as an alternative. You won't regret it.
Well, that's it. Just five since it's a "bonus" one. And again, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!