by Daniel Diamond and Jacob Lewis, Opinions writers
photo courtesy of Amazon and IMDb
“Home Alone” was released in 1990 and it is perfect for those nostalgic simpler times. Starring a young Macaulay Culkin, who perfectly portrays eight-year-old Kevin McCalister. The story begins when Kevin’s large family travels for the holidays and accidentally forgets him at home.
Kevin is over the moon about being home alone. He can finally watch the movies he wants, eat the foods he wants — the world is his oyster. Among the adult problems he encounters are burglars Harry and Marv, played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci, respectively. The movie follows Kevin’s hilarious adventures living alone, as he pulls elaborate pranks and traps for Harry and Marv, giving the audience an extra laugh during the holidays.
The movie illustrates the importance of family, especially during the holiday season, and its poignant scenes trigger a feeling of nostalgia. “Home Alone” is known to be one of the best family friendly holiday movies ever made, and it lives up to such a reputation as a timeless and enjoyable movie.
After “Elf” was released in 2003, actor James Caan revealed that he had sincere doubts about the movie, which he thought would struggle in the box office due to Will Ferrell’s over-the-top goofiness portraying the leading role.
But Caan was wrong: the film’s success was, and continues to be, largely attributed to Ferrell’s performance. “Elf” follows the life of Buddy (Ferrell), a human raised by elves in the North Pole. When Buddy grows up, he learns of his human heritage and that his father, Walter Hobbs (Caan), lives in New York. With this new, life changing knowledge, Buddy immediately sets out on a journey into the human world to find his father.
The movie is a delightful fish out of water story, played hilariously by the charismatic Ferrell and the appropriately confused Caan, who deftly balances incredulousness with remorse. “Elf” culminates in a heartwarming climax that leaves the audience satisfied, and its hilarity makes it well worth watching for anybody — not just fans of Christmas movies.
“Die Hard” was released in 1988, and while some consider it a Christmas movie because it takes place during the holidays, in reality, the movie has little relation to the holiday. The action film follows police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he visits his wife and daughters for the holidays.
When John accompanies his wife to her office’s Christmas party, a group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) take the attendees hostage. The audience is taken on a journey to discover that heroic actions have consequences.
Unlike other action movies, “Die Hard” does not rely on typical cliches like quippy lines and cheesy 1980s rudimentary “special effects,” leaving audiences better entertained with its great production, including stellar set pieces, stunts and editing.
In addition, with its increased popularity and reception, Willis and Rickman have earned their spots as A-list actors in the movie industry. With all the great praise it has gotten, “Die Hard” is a must watch for the holiday season.
A Christmas Story
“A Christmas Story,” released in 1983, is a startlingly realistic comedy. The family dynamic of the main character is painfully relatable, as there’s nothing 10-year-old Ralphie wants more than a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. But a harsh community of adults stands in his way, a situation with which many children can empathize.
The bulk of the film is told in small vignettes as Ralphie interacts with his friends and family in the days leading up to Christmas. Each of these stories is memorable in its own way, from funny and ridiculous scenarios, to iconic quotes that have become ingrained in American culture.
In addition, the characters in the movie are all unique with their own special quirks that make them whole-heartedly entertaining. By the end of the movie, the audience is left feeling as though they have joined Ralphie through the Christmas season, having witnessed both his excitement and frustrations. “A Christmas Story” is a joy to watch, and worth your time this holiday season.