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CornNation Roundtable: Best Christmas Movie

Husker Christmas

Some movies are endlessly quotable, “Grace? She’s been dead thirty years!” Some movies stick with us for the sentimental value (We only needed one Home Alone). However, it seems no matter what, this time of year a debate erupts among friends, coworkers, or people stuck in lines that never end.

What’s the greatest Christmas Movie? We thought we’d all weigh in.

Ty: I mean, I feel like there’s only one right answer here. And that’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. @ me. It’s fine. Why make this movie the only reasonable choice? I could go a lot of ways (Shi**er’s full!), but really, it’s the gradual decaying of Clark Griswold’s sanity.

He starts such the optimist, but with family showing up, but expected and unexpected; not getting his bonus, then getting it, then finding out it’s not as much as he expected; the trouble surrounding four-legged characters in his house; and the early malfunction of the light display, you root for Clark, but you also can’t wait to see what will go wrong next.

Frankly, outside a couple of language moments, it’s also a movie that can be enjoyed with the whole family (Hell, Freeform/ABC puts it on their 25 Days of Christmas rotation).

A couple of fun facts about this movie: The movie was filmed on a Warner Brothers backlot that had been used in Lethal Weapon (The “yuppie” neighbors live in Murtaugh’s house). The toilet that blows up in the Lethal Weapon movies was still on the front lawn when they showed up to film. When the crew arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado to film the scenes when they cut the tree and go sledding (the only scenes where you can see the characters’ breath), there was no snow. This was March in the Colorado mountains. That never happens. Shortly after their arrival, the temperature plummeted below zero and it snowed about ten feet in three days according to the cast.

That’s all. Fight me. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is the only holiday film you need.

Mike: Exactly, Ty. As far as modern Christmas movies of the non-animated variety go, the list of great Christmas movies begins and ends with Christmas Vacation.

Now, I have to mention the WORST holiday movie out there: A Christmas Story. It has a small dedicated following of fans (that appears to be concentrated at Turner Broadcasting, who puts the damn thing on a loop so they don’t have to work on Christmas), but it regularly shows up on the “worst Christmas movie” lists.

Uglydog56: I’m certain every man’s man is going to say Die Hard, but I’m a traditionalist. White Christmas has Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, an Irving Berlin Soundtrack, and is the first movie in Vistavision. It’s my go-to when the wife’s not around. Snuggling favorite has got to be Love Actually. Wife loves it, I love it. Best quote: “Let’s do it. Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.” It has Liam Neeson trying to be tender and the amazing rendition of Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” To say nothing of the most ludicrous depiction of Wisconsin ever. There wasn’t a single block of cheese in the entire scene!

Jill: The Doctor Who Christmas special. Which one? Any of them! I do have to admit that I’m really looking forward to this year’s special with the first female Doctor.

Paul: My favorite is Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. It’s a Muppet take on Gift of the Magi. The song “Where the River Meets the Sea” has become a favorite of my mom and she reminds me every Christmas that she wants it played at her funeral. Okay, Mom. Got it. Anyway, it’s by Paul Williams and really worth the listen.

An enduring meme from this movie at the Dalen household is the Christmas branch.

This is quality entertainment folks. Merry Christmas and GBR.

Jon: I don’t get the hate for “A Christmas Story”. Maybe that’s because most of you want game consoles for Christmas, not a BB gun. You’ve probably never even participated in a BB gun fight... although... it turns out that MOST of you like “A Christmas Story” because it has a 89 rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

I have been in Newport Beach, CA on vacation (and to see my daughter graduate from BIOLA in Biochem) since the 14th. It’s a beautiful place. Too much humanity around here, though. Yesterday we’re walking to the beach near Balboa Peninsula and my daughter starts reading bits from the relationships subreddit (careful with that, it’s a black hole) because she “finds them amusing this time of year”. Lots of drama over there. Lots of people being purposefully nasty and controlling -an approach to relationships I don’t understand because it seems to consume so much energy that could be used for something productive. This brings me to “A Christmas Carol”.

It’s a classic, obviously, but my favorite is the one with Patrick Stewart because he’s Patrick Stewart. My favorite part, specifically, is this scene.

It is the scene of a man, Scrooge, being reborn. That’s what the day is about. We tend to forget that with all the distractions going on, but Christmas is about birth and a new path forward. For some, birth can mean being reborn. With that thought in mind - I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope everyone gets along well and there’s plenty of love to go around!

Patrick G: If you ask me, there is a lot of fairly decent movies out there. Nothing spectacular and all emotionally driven. Many of which have been mentioned above. However, there is one that is actually a good flick. Scrooged!

I mean, it has Bill Murray, Buster Poindexter and Miles Davis. That alone makes any movie a classic. I could go on and on like everyone else on here but I will let the body of work speak for itself . Merry Christmas Folks!

Andy: Oh, you bastards have done it, now. I can ramble about movies, and since we:

  1. have our new coach
  2. have no bowl game
  3. have no recruiting news for a bit?

Let’s have a quick ramble, shall we?

So here are my personal favorites and these will probably tip everyone off to the fact that Christmas and I have a relationship that is far from smooth. Won’t bore you with that, but I’ll just say that my Christmas Eve routine is 1) spend afternoon imbibing a bit 2) wrap presents while these movies play. Sometimes, I even stay conscious for both.


Rated R and that’s in bold-face. Do not let your kids watch it until they’re 38. Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox and Bernie Mac are all very much down with the sickness and there’s also bit of an emotional punch knowing that this was John Ritter’s last performance and he is perfect as the easily horrified mall manager.

If the idea of cheering on a duo that hires on as a mall Santa and elf only to rob the mall on Christmas Eve appeals to you, this is your movie. Also, Santa’s an incredible drunk who has moved himself in with a catatonic grandmother and her beyond socially awkward grandson. It is hilarious, beyond disgusting and, believe or not, was reviewed well. Enjoy but be warned - definitely not for the faint of heart. (this clip is not safe for anything)


Not as horrifying as my first pick, but definitely another well-earned R rating. Denis Leary stars as a jewel thief who finds himself stuck in an ultra-rich community when a heist goes awry and kidnaps Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis in their home to keep him hidden until his drunken partner can arrange their escape.

Just a few problems

  • Spacey’s horrid mother & family are en route for Christmas
  • their blackmailing son is coming home from military school with his issues in tow
  • Spacey and Davis’ marriage is in shambles and they are more focused on bickering with each other than his pistol

Spacey and Davis are both wonderful actors (and, yes, more than aware of Spacey’s lousy behavior, but still, great actor) and Leary shows that he is their equal. (“I just beat up Santa Claus.” “Your husband ain’t dead, lady. He’s hiding!”)

So, if you’re looking for something off-color this season, please consider these. You WILL laugh.

Uglydog56: Okay it's A Christmas Prince. Get off me.