Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Top Ten Christmas Movies

10. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton brings his special brand of creepy to a holiday story that lives on the threshold between Christmas and Halloween. The movie is more sweet than scary and it's fun to see the characters from each holiday learn to appreciate the other.

9. Mickey's Christmas Carol

It was a close battle between this and Muppet Christmas Carol, but ultimately Mickey won out. I'd seen Scrooge McDuck in "Duck Tales" throughout my youth and was always a fan of Mickey, so this classic Dickens tale, played through these characters, has a special place in my heart.

8. The Santa Clause

In what is arguably the best performance by Tim Allen (I know that's not saying much, but can you think of a role in which you liked him more?) "The Santa Clause" was one of the better Christmas movies made in the 90's. The sequels, however, absolutely suck.

7. Miracle on 34th Street

I've seen both versions of this movie and they're both well-made and fun to watch. Richard Attenborough (the old guy from Jurassic Park) is a fantastic Santa in the new version, but Mara Wilson (little girl from Mrs. Doubtfire) was a little too much... then again, she always is. :)

6. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This movie is indispensable as holiday viewing. You've got an elf that wants to be a dentist, a prospector that sings about silver and gold, and a reindeer with a nose that makes a weird noise when it glows (why the creators thought it had to make a noise is beyond me...) but this movie is absolutely charming.

5. Elf

Elf is the best Christmas movie made in the last decade. Will Ferrel was born to play this role, and Zooey Deschanel compliments the film nicely. There are so many funny moments in this movie and you've gotta love the tribute to Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

4. It's a Wonderful Life

Likely the most heartwarming of all Christmas movies. It spins a tale of hope and love in the terrifically dark times of the great depression.

3. Christmas Vacation

This movie still brings me to tears laughing. I'll argue up and down that this is the best "Vacation" movie out there. So many classic scenes in this movie... the squirrel in the tree, the turkey dinner, putting up the lights, the snotty neighbors, Eddie, the home movies, the cigar explosion... it's all comic genius...

2. Home Alone

"Home Alone" resonates so well with me because I was the same age as Kevin when the movie came out. I remember distinctly thinking about what it would be like to spend the holidays alone and loved the tactics used to keep his house safe from burglars. The scene where he becomes friends with the scary old man was eye-opening for me. Honestly, the film embodied everything that Christmas should be to a child - the friendship, the wonder, the comfort of family. I LOVE this movie.

1. A Christmas Story

No Christmas movie will ever surpass this movie for me. No, not even "Home Alone." This movie IS the essence of Christmas. If you could take all the experiences you had as a child during the Christmas season, and you threw them into a jar, you would have this movie. Everyone stood in line with some annoying kid who wouldn't leave you alone as you tried to remember exactly what you were going to say to Santa. Every kid had the bullies that would terrorize you in the snow. Every kid had the dumb friend that would stick his tongue to a pole. Every kid did something bad (along the lines of saying the queen mother of all swear words) in the weeks leading up to Christmas where you feared not for your life.. but WORSE... that you wouldn't get presents from Santa! And every kid woke up on some Christmas in their childhood to find the perfect present - exactly what they'd wanted... and didn't think they'd get - under the tree. This movie tells the story of Christmas as we've all lived it - the good moments and the bad moments - and for that reason it is the greatest Christmas movie ever made.

Mercur Cemetary and Dry Canyon Mines

(Blog catchup post: #2)

In August, I went out to explore the mining area just north of Ophir, UT with my brother, Tyler, and my cousin, Ryan.

Our first stop was at the Mercur cemetery, which was one of the most desolate, plain cemeteries I've ever seen.

Yes, this grave was littered with little plastic babies. Very creepy. Love Tyler's expression.

Ryan and Tyler check out the multitude of headstones.

Most of the graves looked like this, with a very simple, nondescript headstone (literally a stone) and a pile of rocks. It was eerie and fascinating all at once.

This was the one and only mine we explored. Most of the mines are barred off for good reasons. Abandoned mines are incredibly dangerous and shouldn't be taken lightly. They're so fun to see, though! By the way, you'll notice it looks like I'm wearing a backpack. I'm not, but I had been. :)

Tyler and Ryan in front of a barred up mine.

Here, the guys pose in front of an ore bin.

The area is very popular with shooters and the ground was peppered with a confetti of shotgun shells.

Not sure of the face I'm making here, but I obviously approve of this structure. I almost walked out on it, but it was shifting pretty heavily under my feet. Safety first, right?

This picture brings such joy to my heart... :)

I felt that a picture of a cactus in the fading sunlight would end this post nicely. Behold, and ponder the desert.