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6B - The chigan Daily - Weekenietc. Magazine - ThursdayOcember 7, 2000

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The Michigan Daily -w eekend, etc. Magz

Top ten seasonal films spread jolly christmas cheer.

By Andy Taylor-Fabe
Daily Arts Writer
As the holiday season approaches,
students have begun to think about
their impending doom in the form of
painful final exams, parents have
been getting into knife fights and
trading their first born children on
ebay to get hold of Playstation 2's,
and young children have been crank-
ing out the latest volumes of their
Christmas lists.
But what is Christmas really
about? The birth of Christ? Yeah,
right. Presents'? Guess again. The
real spirit of Christmas comes in the
form of holiday movies and TV spe-
cials.
For as long as we've all known that

beloved third parent known as TV, it
has taught us the true meaning of
Christmas: Jesus who? To get you in
that holiday spirit, here is a list of
some of the best holiday films out
there.
10. The Ref (1994) - Okay,
this isn't your typical holiday movie,
and by no stretch of the imagination
is it a classic, but for a holiday film
about family dysfunction, burglary
and kidnapping, it's damn funny.
After a botched Christmas Eve
heist, cat burglar Denis Leary tries to
hide by taking Kevin Spacey and
Judy Davis hostage in their home,
but he is shocked to find that their
nightmare of a family is coming over

for Christmas dinner.
The rest is pretty predictable.
Leary to Spacey's mother: "Jesus
lady, I know loansharks that are more
forgiving than you."
9. Tim Burton's The
Night m are\Before
Christmas (1993) - This stop
animation film is a commendable
effort by Tim Burton. Jack
Skellington, Pumpkin King and
leader of Halloweentown, has grown
restless and bored with his holiday,
and when he stumbles upon
Christmastown, he decides to try his
hand at playing Santa Claus.
With a devilish grin on his
face/skull, he says to the deposed

Santa, "Consider
this a vacation."
The movie is com-
pleted by a classic
Danny Elfman
score on the level
of the music from
"Beet lej u ice,"
"Pee-Wee's Big
Adventure" and
"Army of
Darkness."

TOP TEN
Continued from Page 6B
classic action flick has become the
basis for comparison for all other
movies of the genre, (e.g. Speed = Die
Hard on a bus). To anyone who would
contest the selection of "Die Hard" as
a holiday film: remember when the
elevator opens and there's a dead
German wearing a Santa hat with
"Now I have a machine gun, Ho ho ho"
painted on his chest? I rest my case.
5. A Charlie Brown
Christmas (1965) - This staple
of Christmas TV viewing centers
around Charlie Brown's search for the
true meaning of Christmas.

Disillusioned with the comrnmercializa-
tion of the holiday season, he attempts
to rediscover the spirit of Christmas
through a variety of activities, includ-
ing directing the school pageant and
trying to use a lonely and frail fir tree
as his Christmas tree. When his efforts
'fail, Linus steps in to help him out,
which is when he gives his classic and
earnest speech about the birth of Christ
(which to this day is where I draw my
knowledge of Christmas from).
Although the other Charlie Brown hol-
iday specials are excellent, (e.g., The
Great Pumpkin in the Halloween
episode and Snoopy's and Woodstock's
popcorn and toast Thanksgiving din-
ner), the Christmas special stands out
above them as a true classic.
4. National Lampoon's
Christmas Vacation (1989)-
If you're going to protest and say that
this movie is stupid, save your breath.
Between Chevy Chase (pre-late night
talk show debacle) as Clark Griswold
and Randy Quaid as everyone's
favorite trashy, leisure suit wearing
cousin, the movie packs in enough
laughs to make up for the fact that it is,
well, really dumb. There's nothing like

other peoples' problems to make you
feel good about your own life. A
classic Chevy Chase scene: Clark's
numerous Freudian slips at a depart-
ment store while ogling the clerk,
e.g. "It's a tit bit nipply out."
3. How the Grinch Stole
Christmas! (1966) - As much
as I love Jim Carrey and Ron
Howard, the new Grinch movie can't
stand up to the original animated TV
special. This fantasy tale about the
bitter and lonely Grinch and his plot
to steal Christmas from the peaceful
Whos of Whoville should be
required viewing for everyone,
regardless of whether they celebrate
Christmas. Boris Karloff gives a bril-
liant performance as both the voice
of the Grinch and the narrator, and it
has one of the greatest songs in his-
tory, "You're a Mean One, Mr..
Grinch," sung by Thurl Ravenscroft.
Everything about this show is simul-
taneously eerie and surreal and
strangely comforting, and it wil
always be a staple of Christmas
viewing.
2. Scrooged (1988) -- This

modern adaptation of Dicken
Christmas Carol is one of Bi
Murray's funniest movie
Murray plays a bitter TV execi
tive who has an intense apath
for the holiday season. Durir
the Christmas Eve broadcast o
his network's new and trash
version of Dickens' class
Christmas tale (which include
showgirls with partially expose
nipples), he is visited by thre
ghosts who make him see ho
he messed up his life. The mov
has a stellar supporting ca
including Carol Kane as th
ghost of Christmas present ar
Bobcat Goldthwait as a disgrui
tied employee (extremely loose
ly based on Bob Cratchit).
1. A Christmas S
(1983) - This is a truly
Christmas movie. It follows the
day adventures of Ralphie, a p
blond kid in the late 1940's wh
has one thing on his Christmas
Red Ryder BB gun. Discourag
cries of "You'll shoot your eye
from parents, teachers, and e
mall Santa, he plots and scher

«.... ..

An all-American boy is overwhelmed by unacceptable sexu-
al impulses. To compound the problem, he's starting his
first day at the University of Michigan! But-those damned
perverse urges! What's he to do?
Unspeakable
an illustrated novel by Moises lido
A comic, literary novel about a U-M student struggling
with his sexual identity, set on the Ann Arbor campus,r
written by U-M graduate Moises Pulido
Order from major bookstores inc. Borders, Bames&Noble, or online at www.bn.com

U of M consciously
intended to destroy the
student community in
Ann Arbor. But it
feeds off the
result and
needs student
anomie to be successful.
www.universitysecrets.com

8 . M r.J ,
M a goo ' s
C h r is t m a s Mr. Magoo experie
Carol (1962) - Yet another ver-
sion of Charles Dickens' story of
redemption. Mr. Magoo, near-sighted
as ever, stars in this cartoon that stays
remarkably faithful to the original
text in setting and dialogue.
Part of what makes this version so
great, beside Mr. Magoo himself, is
the music. This special has great
musical numbers that are still funny.
7. It's A Wonderful Life
(1946) -- Considered to be the
quintessential Christmas movie, this
Frank Capra classic is still a must see
for the holiday season.
Jimmy Stewart plays George
Bailey, a modest and generous busi-
nessman in the small town of New
Bedford. WX'hen a series of unfortu-
nate ecents on Christmas Eve make
Gcorge contemplate suicide and wish
that he was never born, he is shown
w\hat the world would be like w\ ithout

courtesy ofUPAr
nces the joy of x-mas
him.
Leave all your cynicism at the door,
because the movie can be sappy at
times, but it's worth it. C'mon, every-
one say it with me: "Daddy, teacher
says every time a bell rings an angel
gets its wings."
6. Die Hard (1988) -- Bruce
Willis's first and greatest action film
is still one that I watch every year
right along with that weird oI stop-
animation "Rudolph the Red Nosed
Reindeer"TV special (with the land of
misfit toys and the Abominable
Snowman).
NYPD officer John McClane is vis-
iting his estranged wife in L.A. at her
office building when a group of
German terrorists take everyone in the
building hostage, forcing McClane to
fight them alone, unarmed and bare-
foot (ain't Christmas great?) This
See TOP TEN, Page 11B

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