24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 12-A Charlie Brown Christmas

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This is an oldie but a goodie. While my sister and I never really watched the Peanut cartoons when we were little (I preferred the comics), my mother used to love them and it was a love she used to try to pass on by encouraging us to watch this every year.

With imaginative, relatable characters and iconic music it’s not surprising that A Charlie Brown Christmas is something that still manages to compel children, long after they’ve transitioned into adulthood. It’s surprising re-watching it as an adult how profound the message is behind this short film, as when I was little all I noticed was the Charlie Brown was sad about Christmas. But as an adult I realised that it’s actually the widespread of commercialism that’s got Charlie down, and is the cause as to why he throws himself into directing the Christmas play, although alas to no avail. As Charlie’s friends come together and we see Charlie realise that there is still more to Christmas than shopping and presents, it’s not just Charlie’s spirits who are raised. Whilst Linus’ recitation of Luke 2:8-14 highlights the simple intentions of what Christmas should really be about, peace and goodwill to all men.  Whether you’re religious or not it’ll have a different impact for you, but as someone who is the latter I love this reference as it brings me back to my childhood performing the Nativity, and the genuine joy and promise that Christmas would bring every year.

At its core that is what a Charlie Brown Christmas is all about, characters coming together in a touching and sentimental way to remind us what should be most important at Christmastime, and that is something that I think we sometimes need to be reminded of.

 

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 7- The Snowman/Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer

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We are now officially 18 sleeps away from Christmas so it’s time that this list starts kicking it up a gear in terms of the Christmassy factor of these films and what better way to start than with two children’s classics.

I did slightly cheat today by including two films but it’s because I think that with these two depending on your family, the preference tends to lean either way. Whereas some of my friends swear by Rudolph as their childhood favourite and the one that they watch every year, but for my family it was without a doubt The Snowman.

On the surface both films are very different as one is a wordless animated short with a complex hidden narrative, whilst the other is an all singing and dancing holiday TV special of the world’s most famous reindeer. But they both share similar qualities that are the reason they have transcended the films of their time into Christmas classics.

Both like most Christmas films have great songs, whilst The Snowman has the iconic ‘Walking In The Air’ which always makes me tear up a little bit, Rudolph has a original soundtrack which when being sung by adorable elves and reindeers will give you a serious case of the Christmas warm and fuzzies.

They’ve also both got incredible heart at the centre of their stories; in The Snowman we witness one boy create a companion who takes him on a wondrous adventure through the skies and how he learns that eventually everything must come to an end. On the other hand with Ruldolph we learn the story of the most famous of reindeer of all, and how he transforms from an unwanted outcast to a beloved hero who saves Christmas. Both have moments that will have even the hardened of viewers remarking that they have something in their eyes.

There’s always a special place in a persons heart for the things that we have experienced as children,  but having re-watched these at the grand old age of 23 I can testify that they still stand the test of time and are still beautiful to watch. Plus if there was ever a time to embrace your inner child, it’s Christmas.

 

 

 

24 Days of Christmas Films: Day 3- Sleepless In Seattle

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Day three and whether you’re one of the people that still haven’t quite got round to putting up your decorations and are still easing yourselves into the festivities, or whether you’ve had them up from day one and maybe even before, I think you’ll enjoy today’s film.

From the opening of the film you are thrown into Christmas as we meet Tom Hanks as a recent widower as he struggles with the holiday season with his young son and Meg Ryan and her fiance as they tackle their first Christmas as an engaged couple. As Meg Ryan drives home she tunes into the radio and hears Tom Hanks’s young son plea for a new mum and a partner for his dad. She’s so taken with their story and becomes so enamored with this man and his son that she sets about tracking them down.

It’s the Christmas framing of the film that stays with you throughout especially with the cumulative scene taking place on the Empire State Building in New York, which to me is a city that exemplifies Christmas. The heartfelt story of this little boy’s search for a new mum combined with the undeniable chemistry between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan makes it a rom-com for the ages. It’s the perfect film to snuggle up with during the cold Winter evenings and again it has a beautiful soundtrack which is perfect to leave you feeling festive.

24 Days of Christmas Film: Day 2-Die Hard

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Well now we can officially kick off the Christmas preparations off with a bang (pun very much intended). Now I know this another slightly controversial choice as although Die Hard is set on Christmas Eve-a fact we are repeatedly reminded of, it’s not technically a Christmas film, but it’s my list and what says Christmas more than a dead terrorist with HO HO HO on his jumper?

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But in all seriousness considering Die Hard was made 28 years ago I can honestly say it remarkably withstands the test of time as just a really great action movie. Alan Rickman arguably create the modern archetypal British villain in his role as the malevolent Hans Gruber, while Bruce Willis is nothing short of iconic and for good reason. I became obsessed watching it 28 years later, so I can only imagine the impact this film had when it originally came out and before the majority of its best bits became what we now recognise as well know cliches of the genre.

Yippee Ki Yay, motherfucker” lives on as one of the most famous film quotes ever, and it is truly a testament to how smart and ingenious the script is. It features a lot of the most common Christmas film tropes such as a villain receiving his comeuppance, a love story with the bonus of a family’s reconciliation, not to mention what will probably go down in history as the worlds worst Christmas office party. Combined with a soundtrack of Christmas classics such as ‘Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’, it’s the perfect choice for Day 2 as it has the dual bonus of just being a really great film that is also inherently Christmassy, and that’s why I think it deserves its place on this list.

Why I Will Forever Be A Gilmore Girl

gilmoreOn October 5th 2000 the world was introduced to the fast talking world of the Gilmore Girls and their little New England town of Stars Hollow. They were welcomed with critical acclaim as the world fell in love with these two extraordinary women, and the colourful characters who inhabited their lives. The show was a pop culture  junkie’s dream (with 454 Film and TV references alone), but as the show developed it was the depth and heart of the characters that was responsible for its mass appeal, and over the course of seven seasons audiences watched enraptured as the Gilmore Girls dealt with issues of class, family, money, love, education and friendship.

The series was cancelled in 2007 after a troubled final season, but it wasn’t until 2008 that I stumbled across it when my mother by off chance started recording the series after she seen the advert on E4, and thought it might be something that would appeal to the both of us. Now most 15 year old girls and their mothers have troubled relationships at the best of times and we were no exception, so the irony is still not lost after all these years that it would be Gilmore Girls that would be the show that would help remedy our relationship.

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Everyday I’d come home from school and we’d watch it together, and soon enough as we moved through the seasons it felt as though as the show began to bookmark some of the most important moments in my life as well. The parallels of attending a highly competitive all girls school whilst struggling with exams and boys was impossible to ignore, and the show became my guiding light proving that it was fine to make mistakes whilst reassuring me that it would all be alright in the end. While Rory struggled with Dean and Jess I had my first serious relationship, and while none of my blow outs with my mother were quite as bad as that in Season 5, it emphasised to me that no matter what, family is there regardless and even the worst fights can be resolved. Gossip Girl was the other show that vied for my affection at this time, but while that show portrayed the unattainable high life of luxury, fashion and wealth, Gilmore Girls assured me that some of the best times could be spent home at the weekend with movies and pizza and crucially for a teenage girl, that you didn’t need to be invited to all the coolest parties.

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The heart-felt nature of the show is something that stayed with me as I went to university, and although the show had long since ended it continued to act as a comfort blanket for me through stressful times. I would watch it every year during my exams, and being able to watch Rory navigate her way through college and beyond cemented its place in my heart and provided with the guidance to aid me in my final stages of transition to adulthood. Still to this day I am able to identify new ways in which the show has affected me, and even the timing of the revival being announced as I was (and still am) at somewhat of a crossroads in life, to watch the trailer and see the characters I’ve grown up with feel the same way makes me feel that maybe there’s a little more guidance to be given.

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I think ultimately that’s largely the reason behind the show’s continued success and the reason why the following has continuously increased in the run up to the release of the new Netflix miniseries, everyone has their own connection to the show and can see something of themselves in the citizens of Stars Hollow. The show allows us to see the best in ourselves as well as allowing us to relish in our mistakes, but ultimately emphasising that it’s our family that is most important in whatever form that takes.

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One thing’s for sure, no matter what happens this Friday when the miniseries is released I know I’ll be sat right next to the woman who started it all for me and although everything and nothing has changed I know I still and will forever be a Gilmore Girl.