Christmas Classics

Christmas Flick’s Nightly Movie Picks (Dec 15 through December 18, 2010)


December 15, 2010 – FX – 10pm EST

Good neighbors can be hard to come by and when the flighty Buddy Hall (Danny Devito) moves in across the street from the conservative Dr. Steve Finch (Matthew Broderick), it quickly becomes apparent that the two men are complete opposites. While Finch methodically plans out every minute of the coming Christmas season for his family, Buddy craves freshness and excitement and is seized by an impulsive desire to decorate his house so brightly that it can be seen from space. While the men’s wives Kelly (Kristin Davis) and Tia (Kristin Chenoweth) and their children revel in one another’s differences and form solid friendships, a rivalry of personalities and Christmas spirit ensues between the two men that will wind up testing the patience and love of every member of both families. This is fun, comical holiday entertainment for the entire family ages 9 and older. –Tami Horiuchi

December 16, 2010 – AMC – 1045pm Est

This semi-remake of Holiday Inn (the first movie in which Irving Berlin’s perennial, Oscar-winning holiday anthem was featured) doesn’t have much of a story, but what it does have is choice: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, an all-Irving Berlin song score, classy direction by Hollywood vet Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood), VistaVision (the very first feature ever shot in that widescreen format), and ultrafestive Technicolor! Crosby and Kaye are song-and-dance men who hook up, romantically and professionally, with a “sister” act (Clooney and Vera-Ellen) to put on a Big Show to benefit the struggling ski-resort lodge run by the beloved old retired general (Dean Jagger) of their WWII Army outfit. Crosby is cool, Clooney is warm, Kaye is goofy, and Vera-Ellen is leggy. Songs include: “Sisters” (Crosby and Kaye do their own drag version, too), “Snow,” “We’ll Follow the Old Man,” “Mandy,” “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” and more. Christmas would be unthinkable without White Christmas. –Jim Emerson

December 17, 2010 – USA – 9pm Est

Elf is genuinely good. Not just Saturday Night Live-movie good, when the movie has some funny bits but is basically an insult to humanity; Elf is a smartly written, skillfully directed, and deftly acted story of a human being adopted by Christmas elves who returns to the human world to find his father. And because the writing, directing, and acting are all genuinely good, Elf is also genuinely funny. Will Ferrell, as Buddy the adopted elf, is hysterically sincere. James Caan, as his rediscovered father, executes his surly dumbfoundedness with perfect aplomb. Zooey Deschanel, as a department store worker with whom Buddy falls in love, is adorably sardonic. Director Jon Favreau (Swingers) shepherds the movie through all the obligatory Christmas cliches and focuses on material that’s sometimes subtle and consistently surprising. Frankly, Elf feels miraculous. Also featuring Mary Steenburgen, Bob Newhart, Peter Dinklage, and Ed Asner as Santa Claus. –Bret Fetzer

December 18, 2010 – AMC – 8pm Est

Six year old Susan has doubts childhood’s most enduring miracle Santa Clause. Her mother told her the “secret” about Santa a long time ago, so Susan doesn’t expect to receive the most important gifts on her Christmas list. But after meeting a special departement stare Santa who’s convinced he’s the real thing, Susan is given the most precious gift of all – something to believe in.

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