Santa’s favourite films

Santa Claus just gave the Observer an exclusive interview. He was in Cayman with Mrs. Claus because he just can’t stand the North Pole winters anymore.

We talked to Santa about many things the economy, sleighs, crime and reindeers but he wanted to focus on his favourite Christmas films.

So, this list of top five holiday films is obliging Santa’s request, as told to me by the jolly fat man himself. Here’s to you, St. Nick.

In reverse order:

Home Alone” (1990)

All Christmas movies should be family friendly. This film is arguably the most family friendly film of all-time.

Young Kevin McCallister, played by child star Macaulay Culkin, wishes that his entire extended family would just disappear right before they’re set to fly to France to spend the holidays. The family does, leaving poor Kevin behind in his Chicago suburb home… alone. Enter two silly home invaders

Harry and Marv, played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern and the film leads to a protect-the-fort finale.

The late John Hughes wrote the script for this film. His enormous heart and magic touch are all over this blockbuster.

The scenes are carefully crafted with a climax of humorous and violent pranks that Kevin plays on the would-be robbers trying to enter the home. They include a red-hot doorknob hand burn, stepping barefoot on crushed Christmas ornaments and paint cans swinging into the face.

Everyone remember when Kevin slaps after shave on his face and screams it’s the movie poster, for Blitzen’s sake.

This is a kid’s movie, meant for kids to enjoy. But the themes of love of family and doing the right thing ring true to all fans. Ho, ho, ho.

Elf” (1990)

If you are looking for lowest-common-denominator humour, Elf is the movie for you. It’s a PG movie starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, who thinks he’s an elf. It turns out that he’s the nicest person in the world who just wants to sing, hold hands, eat sugar and celebrate Christmas. He journeys to New York City to search for his real dad, played by James Caan.

Ed Asner plays me, Santa Claus, in the movie. (Note: I think this is the best on screen portrayal of me in cinema history)

Buddy runs into the beautiful and strange Jovie (Zooey Deschanel) and falls in love. Together, they must save Christmas.

Jon Favreau directs this film in a very light-hearted way. He doesn’t take anything too seriously. He lets Will Ferrell play in every scene.

The result is a sweet movie that needs to be seen in the week that leads up to Christmas every year.

There’s nothing that sticks out from this movie that is particularly funny or ground-breaking. It is a movie that will get you in a good mood. And that’s what Christmas films are all about.

A Christmas Story” (1983)

“You’ll shoot your eye out!”

If there’s anything we can learn from watching this Christmas masterpiece, it’s that leg lamps are greatest home decorations ever.

That, and kids that receive Red Ryder BB guns as Christmas gifts will, in fact, shoot their eye out.

Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants the BB gun for Christmas. That’s all he wants. It’s all he thinks about. His Old Man

Darren McGavin’s standout performance of the film doesn’t want anything to do with it, or anything for that matter. He’s a 1940s middle American, middle-aged father-of-two around Christmas time. Essentially, he’s going mad.

Christmas dinner is spent at a Chinese restaurant the last scene of this Christmas classic.

Jean Shepherd provides the voice over as a grown up Ralphie looking back at this fun family Christmas.

This film is so popular that TV channel TBS plays it on loop the entire day of Christmas Eve. That’s 24 hours of pure Christmas Story, 12 showings, all day, all night. Ho, ho, ho.

It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

Director Frank Capra was the original master melodrama storyteller. His films include ‘It Happened One Night,’ ‘Mr Deeds Goes to Town,’ ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington’ and ‘Meet John Doe.’

When he teamed up with James Stewart, the two made magical films that went down as some of the best in history, regardless of genre.

In ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Stewart plays George Bailey, a war hero who returns home to American small town Bedford Falls. After George’s business is about to fail because of a finance goof, an angel shows George what life would be like in Bedford Falls without him.

This is a story about love and life, friends and family. It tackles every subject with humour and heart, and lessons that communities matter, but it’s individuals who make the community.

Stewart had that special formula of handsome leading man and tortured soul. He’s lanky and sad in the film, but his charisma makes him one of the biggest silver screen stars of the century. James Stewart is Mrs Claus’s favourite actor.

George’s daughter tells us at the end of the movie, “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” Every time a bell rings, I think of this film.

“National Lampoon’s 

Christmas Vacation” (1989)

I’m already laughing thinking about this picture. This is the third ‘Vacation’ film in a series of four, and the funniest of the bunch.

Chevy Chase

in his prime, the single funniest on screen performer ever stars as Clark W. Griswold, an every man trying to give his family the best Christmas of their lives.

He focuses on having the best lit house on the street, which he pulls off, not without the help from electricity company’s backup generator.

He wants to surprise his family with a swimming pool, but when his Christmas bonus turns out to be a one-month membership to the Jelly of the Month club (‘the gift that keeps on giving the whole year’), he bursts.

Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) provides additional laughs in another one of John Hughes’ scripts Hughes knew Christmas comedy better than any other filmmaker.

This is truly a laugh-a-minute movie, but it has a warm heart at its center.

It’s my favourite Christmas film. It’s the movie I show all of the reindeers before we set off on Christmas Eve. It’s the picture I snuggle up and watch with Mrs Claus.

Ho, ho, ho… Merry Christmas!

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