Chris Gay’s Top 15 Christmas Movies

By Chris Gay388982_3377538558968_401329802_n

Typically the movie reviews I write for those particular columns on my blog are rife with sarcasm and humor. However this is the season of charity, and as such I’ll go fairly light on the satire here. (Though me being me; count on some) So here, in descending order, are my Top 15 Christmas movies of all time.

Oh by the way, to preemptively answer your two most obvious questions at the outset: the movies listed here are just that, movies; so you won’t see such obvious TV classics as ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, or ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’.

Also, Elf is not on this list because it’s hard to understand how Will Farrell makes more than $2.99 an hour as a comedian. He’s not funny at all whatsoever.

Now, as Casey Kasem might say were he still with us…on with the countdown:

15) DVD of a Burning Yule Log. (4 Billion B.C.) You know, I’d bet you didn’t see this one coming. For those with a big screen TV but no fireplace, this is an awesome flick (or flicker, as the case may be) to behold. You just pop in the DVD, and then read or whatever else by the light of the TV fire and Christmas tree. Some go for as little as a dollar, and come with a flame level setting and optional Christmas music. What sounds like a joke is, in reality, a winner. And no logs to chop or mess to clean up after. You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you? Don’t even try to tell me you’re not.14.

14) Bad Santa. (2003) I’m not all that big into comedy based on vulgarities. It’s not that I’m offended in any way; it’s just that as a humor writer I find it to be mostly lazy and unfunny writing. This movie however, is the exception. It’s funny nearly from stem to stern. Billy Bob Thornton shines as a Phoenix, Arizona department store Santa who uses his job as a cover to scope it out to later rob. He spends most of his off time- as well as his on time- drinking, smoking, screwing and bumbling around. If you’re not easily offended, this movie, helped by a great supporting cast including the late John Ritter and Bernie Mac, will have you laughing till New Year’s.

13) Christmas Vacation. (1989) The third tale of the Griswold clan is the best in the series. This holiday staple, also starring a pre-Seinfeld Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, reiterates the time-honored advice passed down throughout the generations: before setting up, always check impromptu replacement Christmas trees for rodents.

12) Funny Farm. (1988) In my opinion, this is the superior and underrated of the two Chevy Chase flicks to appear on this list. At Christmastime a beautiful Vermont town, filled with residents of questionable intellect, band together to fake normalcy to prospective home buyers in exchange for a cash payoff from Andy & Elizabeth Farmer; who can no longer tolerate residing among them. The first time I watched the scene of the drunken, belligerent postman respectfully greeting the Farmers (in front of the new owners) with a linguistically perfect, “Mail, Mister Farmer” in order to obtain bonus money, I nearly fell off my couch laughing.

11) Trading Places. (1983) Outside the time of year it’s set in and Dan Aykroyd in a Santa Claus suit, calling this a ‘Christmas Movie’ is like calling Pepperidge Farms flavored goldfish “seafood.” However on a technicality…here it resides. Through the conniving, manipulative efforts of his sibling bosses and for no legitimate reason, wealthy, upper-crust commodities trader Louis Winthorp III is made to exchange places with broke, slick-talking con-man Billy Ray Valentine. After a short while, Valentine becomes successful at Winthorp’s job once he understands that commodities brokering is merely a more sophisticated form of con-game. When both realize they’re being played for fools, they team up to create a fantastic scheme to bankrupt the brothers while becoming millionaires themselves; with the help of a great supporting cast.

10) Die Hard. (1988) Bruce Willis’s Detective John McLane sends Alan Rickman’s superb villain Hans Gruber into the Oh Holy Night of Los Angeles; amidst a snowfall of ill-gotten bearer bonds.

9) The Muppet Christmas Carol. (1992) Laugh if you will, (and you will) but this gem of a take on the classic Dickens’ Christmas novel that features Michael Caine; among Britain’s greatest, most versatile actors, as Ebenezer Scrooge, simply cannot be overlooked. It also contains a roster of creative, original songs you’ll be singing long after the film’s completed. It contains both suspense & clever humor throughout.

8) The Ref. (1994) If you’ve never seen this Denis Leary comedy starring a relatively unknown Kevin Spacey, the first time you do expect to laugh so hard you’ll cry. Leary is a bumbling cat burglar who, through unforeseen circumstances, ends up stuck refereeing an endlessly bickering couple and their family in an affluent Connecticut shoreline town on Christmas Eve. Completely underrated, it’s one of the best Christmas comedies ever; if not the most tactful. (Only ‘Bad Santa’ is more profane)

7) Love, Actually. (2003) Never has a Christmas movie combined humor, romance and star power in such a way that all genre stereotypes are irrelevant. It’s a ‘Chick Flick’ that is very much suited for guys, too. This movie is a modern Christmas classic. (Featuring a who’s who of English talent: Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley Rowan Atkinson)

6) A Christmas Carol. (1984) The late, great George C. Scott is almost unparalleled as Ebenezer Scrooge. He taught England that, after 150 years, if you really want to showcase the full essence of a greedy, miserly CEO, hire an American and teach him a light British accent.

5) Holiday Inn. (1942) Bing Crosby debuted what is still the top-selling single of all time in any genre, ‘White Christmas’, at his Connecticut Inn that’s open only on major holidays.

4) A Christmas Story. (1983) Nothing catches the essence of a retro-Christmas of yore more so than this fantastically crafted, humorous tale of 1940’s Christmas in America. Along with a young man’s quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts, the “official Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle. Which includes “a compass and a stock and this thing that tells time.” Darren McGavin masterfully showcases both the tough and tender side of parenting a year before portraying a wealthy, sleazy bookie from the same era in 1984’s ‘The Natural.’

3) It’s a Wonderful Life. (1946) The snowy winter scenes of the fictional Bedford Falls, NY (based on the real Seneca Falls, NY) were filmed during a record-breaking California heat wave. This classic film features the legendary Jimmy Stewart as super-nice guy George Bailey, who, after every one of his lifelong dreams are dashed due to his own kindness, becomes discouraged to the extent that Heaven dispatches amiable Angel 2nd Class Clarence Odbody to show him what his family and hometown would’ve been like had he never existed. It ends with the all-time tear-jerking line, “Remember-No man is a failure who has friends.”

2) Scrooge. (1951) There is no question that of all the adaptations of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol ever committed to celluloid, Alistair Sim is the quintessential-& best-Ebenezer Scrooge. His performance as the renowned miser is second-to-none, and may never be topped.

1) Joyeux Noel. (2005) This is the amazing true story of the impromptu WWI Christmas Truce across No-Man’s Land between Scottish, British, French & German soldiers over Christmas Eve and Day in 1914. A group of young officers decide they’re not going to fight each other over the Christmas holiday, and instead spend it burying comrades, sharing stories, playing soccer, and exchanging information. When their superiors became informed of the Christmas Truce, all parties involved on both sides were severely reprimanded. The “Great War”; the “War to End All Wars”, was a war over nothing, & cost humanity millions of innocent lives. It dragged on until November 11, 1918; Armistice Day; now known as ‘Veterans Day’. If you can get through this movie without shedding tears, you ma’am or sir, are a better person than I.

 

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out my new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

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Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

On Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

Memorial Day Poem

By Chris Gay

At this time of the year there’s a day set aside,
To honor the memories of those who have died.
And praise lost brave troops from this land we call home,
Where the rockets glared red, and the buffalo roamed.

From Washington’s army; Continental it was,
Winning our Independence, for the Glorious Cause.
To Abe Lincoln’s war that so tore us apart,
Yet sowed fertile seeds to create a new start.
To the “Great War” they called it, absurd in its name,
The whole World got involved, and was never the same.
And then on came the Second, the worst of the lot,
As our men crossed the seas, to give all they’d got.
Today they’re called the Greatest Generation,
Who like those before them showed no hesitation,
To lay down their lives without consternation.
And then followed Korea, Viet Nam and Iraq,
Where in only one decade, we found ourselves back.

On this day perhaps, we’ll lay down our iPods,
Turn off the TVs, and our microchip gods.
And honor the brave, who did protect you and me,
As nothing we’ve done, nor could possibly be,
From the Midwestern Plains to each high rolling sea,
Would’ve ever occurred without those who did stand,
And sacrificed all in defending our land…

Thank you all for your service. You will never be forgotten.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out my theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years, he wrote and broadcast a daily, sponsored minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, the novella Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (with an incredible twist on the Holmes story) and four humor books: Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Recipes with a Side of Sarcasm for the Single Guy and  Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, He has written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays.

http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

On Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 8:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Remembering Frank Buckles

By Chris Gay388982_3377538558968_401329802_n

On February 27, 2011 America lost Frank Buckles, the last of her surviving World War I veterans. Since then, the question has been asked: should a relatively nondescript ambulance driver be remembered above the millions of other American and Allied servicemen who gave their lives in that horrendous conflict? I believe the answer is yes.

So many are quick to forget the famous, haunting words of George Santayana, who noted that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Mr. Buckles will now serve as a symbol to that very sentiment, having fought in what was referred to as both the “Great War” and “War to End All Wars.”

If history teaches us any lesson, it’s that no such war exists. There is always another.

Remembering Our Past

The notoriety achieved by this former corporal at the time of his passing should be used as a catalyst to enlighten younger generations to the atrocities of World War I. If so, we’ll all be better for it.

As time marches forward; as participants in, and witnesses to, this monumental event die out, memories and justifications will continue to recede. Until all that’s left are written accounts that many will simply ignore-or worse; be unaware of. It’s a recession that cannot continue.

Indeed, Armistice Day, the holiday initially established to commemorate the end of the Great War, has already been absorbed and re-christened as Veteran’s Day. The only thing left to distinguish it from other wars is the date we celebrate it: November 11.

One wonders whether the same fate awaits the equally brave World War II veterans in twenty years. After that, perhaps Korea. And then Viet Nam.

We have long had a tendency to pick and choose which war’s veterans should be honored, which should be forgotten or even, reprehensibly, cast aside. The truth is that no war or its veterans should ever be forgotten; regardless of its popularity or the distance from the present at which it happens to reside.

The sacrifices made year after year, decade after decade, war after war, need to be honored indefinitely.

Frank Woodruff Buckles deserved the posthumous attention he received on behalf of himself and the millions of Allied soldiers who did not make it home.

There are few greater acts of selflessness one can perform than to risk all that one has, so that others might be safer for the effort.

From the Revolutionary War through all that have since followed, few generations have been able to escape anteing up their share of young soldiers. These men and women must all be remembered by their families individually, and by their country collectively-and with more than just hot dogs, mattress sales and zero interest automobile loans.

Godspeed, Corporal Buckles. And to all of those men with whom you served so bravely in World War I.

God. The Devil. The Bet. The Fate of Mankind in the Balance. Check out Chris Gay’s new theological, paranormal crime thriller, Ghost of a Chance.

Ghost of a Chance Cover jpeg

What if a late 20th Century Jack the Ripper tearing apart a small Connecticut town was the result of a pancake shop bet between God and the devil? Imagine if Satan’s impact on the world in the new millennium hinged entirely on one police officer’s skill in hunting down a ruthless killer…hiding in plain sight. Detective Danny Seabrook is an unwitting pawn in a divine chess match with immeasurable consequences for all mankind. Set primarily in 1995, this action-packed suspense thriller features clever dialogue, humor and romance-with an ending you will never forget.

*     *     *     *

‘Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal’ by Chris Gay

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As the end draws near for long-retired Sherlock Holmes in Sussex Downs, he calls one last time for the company of his best friend and colleague, Dr. John Watson. What was meant to be four last days of camaraderie and reminiscing instead leads to the most shocking, explosive revelation both of the great detective’s career, and his life.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal is a Holmes tale like none other ever conceived. Fans of Baker Street’s legendary detective will be left with the insatiable need to contemplate its extraordinary conclusion forevermore.

*     *     *     *

‘The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm’ by Chris Gay

CJG Full Kindle Cover For Promotions

The Bachelor Cookbook is the perfect (and likely only) addition to any guy’s collection of sarcastic culinary literature. If you’re between relationships and looking to make the most of whatever foodstuffs you’ve got until you meet that next special woman, then your prayers have been answered. Unless you’re an atheist; in which case coming across this book just means your luck was in today. For men looking for sustenance over style, I give you this spectacular cookbook. Well, I don’t “give it” to you, per se. You have to pay for it.

Featuring such taste-bud tempting recipes as:

Popcorn Salad

Meat on a Bed of Rice

Cheese and Crackers

Spaghetti Sandwich

Plus Miscellaneous Cookbook Humor, too!

*     *     *     *

Chris Gay is an author, freelance writer, voice-over artist, broadcaster and actor. For 7 years he wrote and broadcast a daily, minute radio humor spot in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s been published nationally in Writer’s Digest and has written the paranormal, theological thriller novel Ghost of a Chance, Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal, (an original, extraordinary short story on the great detective with a spectacular twist) and four humor books: And That’s the Way It Was…Give or Take: A Daily Dose of My Radio Writings, Shouldn’t Ice Cold Beer Be Frozen? My 365 Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota, and The Bachelor Cookbook: Edible Meals with a Side of Sarcasm & Another Round of Ice Cold Beer: My 365 More Random Thoughts to Improve Your Life Not One Iota. He’s written and voiced radio commercials, authored both comedic and non-comedic freelance articles, scripts, press releases, website, media and technical content, done occasional radio color commentary for local sports, and acted in a couple of movies and plays. His website is chrisjgay.com, and his humor blog can be found at chrisgay.wordpress.com.

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http://www.chrisjgay.com

Author Page on Facebook

Chris Gay Author/Writer/ Humorist on Facebook

Ghost of a Chance on Facebook

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Reveal on Facebook

https://chrisgay.wordpress.com

Twitter: @chrisgay13

Movies:

2012:

Hope Springs (Barfly)

2009:

Testimonies of a Quiet New England Town (Constable John Gilbert)

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