Sunday, December 5, 2021

TOP TEN + 2 BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES

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Thinking about Christmas approaching started me thinking about one of my favourited Christmas flicks, Love Actually. I had the feeling that I would like to watch it again this Christmas.


That in turn started me thinking about other favourite Christmas films, which has inspired this further Top Ten + 2 list.

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Some comments about the list:

  • This list is also based on my Watchability Index ©, that is, movies that one likes so much that one watches them again and again. It is therefore not based on art, critical acclaim, feelings of what one should be liking etc. That will no doubt draw flack from friend and film purist Steve M and I anticipate some critical emails, which I will post. Everyone is free to agree or contradict me and you are invited to let me know.
  • The list will be published in parts in the leadup to Christmas so bear in mind that your favourites may still appear.
  • For this list Christmas must be an integral part of the film and not merely incidental or a background with no significance. For that reason, Die Hard doesn’t make the cut.
  • I am only including films I have seen, Unfortunately, Steve, that means I have to exclude Joyeux Noelle, a fictionalised account of an actual event that took place in December 1914, when Wilhelm, German Crown Prince, sent the lead singer of the Berlin Imperial Opera company on a solo visit to the front line. Singing by the tenor, Walter Kirchhoff, to the Württemberg regiments led French soldiers in their trenches to stand up and applaud.
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Love Actually:


What is there not to love about this 2003 film? A top cast appear in various stories of love, many of them interlinked and coming together at Christmas. The theme and charm are set by the opening voiceover by Hugh Grant as the Brit PM:
Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.
My favourite story? Jamie (Colin Firth) and Portuguese lass Aurelia.

Some trivia:
  • The airport greeting footage at the beginning and end of this movie is real.
  • In 2017 Red Nose Day Actually was broadcast, both a sequel to the 2003 Love Actually and a part of the fundraising event Red Nose Day 2017. Love Actually writer and director Richard Curtis returned alongside cast members Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Andrew Lincoln, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, Thomas Sangster, Lúcia Moniz, Olivia Olson, Marcus Brigstocke, and Rowan Atkinson.
  • Watch the trailer at:

  • The later film is set in March 2017, 13 years after the events of the original film.
Juliet is watching television with her husband Peter. When the doorbell rings and she opens the door, Juliet finds Mark, who, similarly to 13 years ago, communicates with her by using cue cards, having her pretend to Peter, this time, that Mark is a fund raiser for Red Nose Day. They tell each other that they are very happy with their respective lives, and Mark presents his new wife, who is none other than Kate Moss, whom, 13 years prior, he jokingly said he was going to marry. Mark's final card proposes that they see what happened to the rest of their friends.

David, who has lost and recently regained his position as Prime Minister since the first film, dances in his official residence once again, even continuing in great pain after falling down the stairs. His wife and former employee Natalie amicably reprimands him, and offers to make him tea. Later in a public speech, he states that although times are harder for a lot of people now, he still believes that love and the good in people will win in the end.

Billy Mack recently released a charity single, a cover of the ZZ Top song "Gimme All Your Lovin'". As the reporter interviewing him on radio tries to help him raise awareness for Red Nose Day, Billy openly admits to not caring about children (except for the ones that buy his discs) and that he only promotes the charity to, in truth, get free publicity for his upcoming autobiography, which he has admittedly neither written nor read. He then reveals with sadness that his manager Joe has died from a heart attack since the first film, before stating that the greatest sex he ever had was with one of the Kardashians, although he cannot decide which one.

Salesman Rufus proposes, among his products, a red nose in honour of Red Nose Day. When a child buys one and agrees to having it gift wrapped, Rufus proceeds with great delight to take an absurdly excessive amount of time doing so, the waiting line soon becoming so long that it blocks car traffic outside.

Meanwhile, on their way to pick up their kids from school, Jamie and his wife Aurélia recall their first days together. Aurélia says in Portuguese that even though life makes it impossible to be completely happy, love sometimes makes you feel like you are. She then reveals to Jamie that she is pregnant with their fourth child, though he misunderstands her and believes she was telling him what was for dinner.

Sitting on a bench, Daniel receives a surprise visit from his stepson Sam, who is now 26 and lives in New York City. When Daniel expresses concern because Sam had not been in touch, he is surprised to see Joanna, Sam's childhood crush 13 years ago who had left for America. She asks for Sam's hand, and Daniel, delighted, jokingly answers that he will think about it.

The film then ends with footage showing various people and actions supported by Comic Relief, and some of the film's cast wearing red noses.

More to come. 

 

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