At the Box Office

By Tuesday Mahrle, December 2020 Issue.

I feel cliche when discussing how 2020 has hit all of us one way or another, but it’s true. Illness, political divide, increasing natural disasters and wildfires, Brexit, Black Lives Matter, the advancement of #MeToo ... do you remember Kobe Bryant? 

Many of us have searched for relief, solace — even an escape from news stations. As a proud Grinch when it comes to Christmas (just ask past and present roommates), even I quickly turned to the new Hallmark-esque movies popping up on Netflix and Hulu days after October 31. While these movies did provide comfort, I still fall to my go-to holiday movies to truly get my eyes shining red and green. 


Elf

Premiered 2003 | PG | 97 minutes | Comedy, Family 

Say what you will about Will Ferrell’s comedy, but this tops one of the best movies in his career. Buddy, played by Will Ferrell, was accidentally sent to the North Pole as a young child and raised among Santa’s elves. Feeling the overwhelming sense that he doesn’t belong among his peers, Buddy travels to the far-off land of New York to find his real family. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues. 


The Santa Clause

Premiered 1994 | PG | 97 minutes | Comedy, Family

Tim Allen being a childhood favorite, I grew up not only watching the TV show Home Improvement, but also enjoying this holiday gem. Businessman Scott (Tim Allen) finds himself in the throes of a divorce with his wife when he accidentally kills Santa Claus. Little does Scott know, he is now the new Santa as he’s transported to the North Pole. While he thinks he and his son had one night of fun, months of odd changes convinces him he may not have been dreaming. 


The Holiday

Premiered 2006 | PG-13 | 136 minutes | Comedy, Romance

This movie makes even a cold heart like mine teary eyed. While many would replace this with Love, Actually, I believe this movie is far superior. The story isn’t new and could even be added into the Hallmark category, but I can’t live without it. Amanda, a California well-to-do, swaps places with Iris, an English countryside businesswomen. Quickly, the lines blur between their old life and new, including hunky men for both ladies. 


Scrooged

Premiered 1988 | PG-13 | 101 minutes | Comedy, Drama

Yes, Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol has been made hundreds of times, but Bill Murray takes the cake when it comes to holiday movies (Groundhog Day, anyone?). Frank Cross (Murray) is a rich TV executive who takes the term curmudgeon to an entirely new level. As the story goes, Frank sees his past, present and future when visited by a series of ominous ghosts. While The Muppet Christmas Carol gets honorable mention, Scrooged reigns supreme. 


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