Twelve Days of Christmas Cinema | Week One

This first week of Twelve Days of Christmas was exactly what I needed. Around Christmas time, I get really homesick. Christmas in Korea is nothing like back home. It's more of a holiday for couples and no one else celebrates it. There are so many things I miss about Christmas in America. I miss drinking and eating peppermint infused treats. I miss hearing Christmas songs everywhere. Most of all, I miss spending time with my family and friends. Watching these movies really put me in the Christmas mood and reminded me of home. They were the perfect antidote for my homesickness.

1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1983) 
This movie was my first taste of the National Lampoon films. I’ve seen Van Wilder, but I don’t think it really counts. I expected a lot from this movie, and I am sad to report that I was a bit disappointed. I know that everyone loves this movie, but I wasn’t that keen on it. I think that’s the problem with these kinds of movies. People have such fond memories of them from their childhood and they build them up. I've often heard it’s the best movie they’ve ever seen or the perfect representation of Christmas. For me, it was just okay.  

First, the length of the movie is too long. It just kept going and going. Every time they showed the Advent calendar, I kept wishing it Dec. 25. The main character, played by Chevy Chase, is just awful and really annoying. I know that he wants the perfect Christmas, but come on man. Why can’t he just relax? He makes ridiculous choices and most of the time they aren’t even that funny. I think that if I watched this as a child, I would’ve enjoyed it, but as an adult, I just wanted it to end. 

2, The Shop Around the Corner (1946) 
When I was in middle school, I would spend Friday evenings with my mom. We would lay in her bed with a bowl of popcorn and watch classic movies. I’m so thankful for having a mother who exposed me to old movies.  I learned a lot about relationships and love. I also learned how to be a lady and about style and fashion.

On one of those nights, we watched The Shop Around the Corner and I immediately fell in love. It truly is a timeless classic and stars Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. It’s a simple story about two people who argue constantly and end up falling in love on Christmas Eve. The film is executed perfectly. It’s funny and serious when it needs to be. The acting is amazing and it’s a real gem. I wish they still made movies like this; there isn’t a lot of flash or complicated story lines. It gets to the point and focuses on what matters, the relationship between the main characters. It's one of my favorite movies and one that will always leave me feeling warm and happy. 

3. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 
As a child, this was my favorite movie. When I think back on my childhood, I have a lot of memories connected with this movie. I watched it constantly. I knew all the words to every song and sang them much to the annoyance of my parents and older brothers. My mother even made me a Jack Skellington outfit to wear for Christmas. I was obsessed.

I think I loved it so much because it perfectly combined two of my favorite holidays, Halloween and Christmas. It’s not entirely a Christmas movie, but also not completely a Halloween movie. It’s a great combination of both holidays and it’s a fun seeing how they interact. The story of this film is quite unique and unlike anything I’ve seen. I remember being in awe of Halloween Town. I wanted to live in that weird and kooky place. It seemed like a kid's dream living in a place where it was Halloween everyday, who wouldn't want that?

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) 
I have to admit that in my childhood I had a considerable lack of Muppets. I never watched Sesame Street or saw a Charlie Brown film. I think it’s because my siblings were 11 and 12 years older than me and I was left to my own devices. I watched a lot of I Love Lucy, Gilligan's Island and I Dream of Jeannie. What can I say? I was an odd kid. 

When we watched this film, it was like I found  a missing piece of my childhood. I absolutely loved this movie. There was so many amazing things about The Muppet Christmas Carol. To be honest, I was expecting to dislike this movie, but it was fantastic. It’s heartwarming, funny and poignant.  Michael Caine was also a pleasant surprise. He makes a great Scrooge. The acting was quite good and the puppetry was incredible.  While watching, I found myself laughing and crying. Yes, crying. I don’t know if it was the wine I was drinking, but there was one part that really got me. Judge me all you want, but watching a disabled frog singing about being thankful was touching. It’s always good to be reminded to be thankful, even in a kids movie.