5 Fandom Friday: Favourite Christmas Movies

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Christmas music is one thing. Christmas movies? I don’t know, I was never really into it. That’s not to say there aren’t any Christmas (-y) movies that I’ve watched and loved over the years. So in continuation with The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick’s 5 Fandom Friday link-up, I give you my favourite (almost by default) Christmas movies.

1. HOME ALONE/HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK

This is what I grew up on. The original Home Alone movies starring Macauley Caulkin were pretty much staples in my house for years. I mean, what’s not to love? The essence of Christmas (being with family) is there, with a solid dash of funny antics. “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!” CLASSIC.

2. LOVE ACTUALLY

ALL THE ACTORS! Look, there have been so many movies that have come out since Love Actually that try to trick us into watching because of the sheer number of actors they managed to get in that movie. Unfortunately, movies like He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day, and New Year’s Eve have all failed to replicate the success of Love Actually. Why? Because LA actually makes you care about the characters, and not just the actors playing them. Also, Christmas is a special holiday that far surpasses the “importance” of Valentine’s and NYE. Oh, and as if it needed to be said, the Brits just knew what they were doing.

3. SERENDIPITY

I’ll admit: this is one of those movies that just so happen to take place during Christmas (and for only a small but critical portion of the movie) and not necessarily a Christmas movie. But I don’t care, I love this movie and I’m including it. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are our romantic leads who meet cute while Christmas shopping. They’re both with someone else at the time they meet, but feel a deep connection and decide to leave it up to fate to see if they end up together. It’s all cute and romantic, and of all the rom-coms, I blame it for my unrealistic beliefs about love.

4. ELF

I’m not typically a Will Ferrell fan, but he was at his best here, exemplifying a different kind of man-child in Buddy the Elf. There’s just so much to be said about a movie that really captures the spirit and joy of Christmas, without being overtly sentimental.

5. THE FAMILY STONE

Bringing your significant other home to visit your family – what could go wrong? Well, for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Meredith, your boyfriend’s family doesn’t really like you. The movie walks the line between drama and comedy, and it’s got a great cast (including Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson) that elevates the material from more than just your typical family dramedy.

BONUS TV: The O.C. Chrismukkah episodes

So many shows do Christmas/holiday-themed episodes, but I have a certain affection for The O.C.’s holiday episodes. Sure, all four were wrought with a lot of drama. However, Josh Schwartz and company, via Seth Cohen introduced us all to the wonderful mixed holiday that is Chrismukkah – “8 days of presents, followed by one day of many presents.” Also, all the episodes taught us to never underestimate the power of a Chrismukkah miracle.

Music Monday: Songs from TV and Movies

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of all things entertainment, so when music intersects with movies or TV, I get super nerdy about it. Last September at TIFF, I saw a movie called Can A Song Save Your Life? and instantly fell in love with it and the music in it. Fast forward some 10 months and the movie finally gets released under a new name Begin Again and I FINALLY got my hands on the soundtrack, so I could just listen to all the songs over and over again. It is certainly something special when the right song (whether written specifically for the movie or not) is played at the right moment and encapsulates the feeling of that entire scene or becomes synonymous with that movie/show.

So with that being said, here are some of my personal favourite songs from TV and movies

  1. Adam Levine/Keira Knightley, Lost Stars [Begin Again] – I’m sure I’ve said it enough at this point, but I LOVE this song. I keep alternating between Adam’s version and Keira’s version. There’s such a sweetness in Keira’s version that plays to how the song was written within the context of the movie. Adam’s more polished version of the song presents itself later in the movie, showing character growth with a slight sense of nostalgia.
  2. Switchfoot, Dare You to Move [One Tree Hill] – I could have gone the easy route and just picked “I Don’t Want to Be” because if you think OTH, you think of that song. With “Dare You to Move,” I actually remember hearing it in A Walk to Remember first, but always associate it with OTH + Nathan & Haley, their memorable kiss in the rain.
  3. Nada Surf, If You Leave [The O.C.] – Again, it would’ve been too easy to put “California” or even “Hallelujah” but instead I had to put “If You Leave.” Who could forget the scene with Seth playing out the cliche of running to the airport, chasing after Anna, thinking that she’s moving back to Pittsburgh because of him?
  4. Gina Rene, U Must Be [Step Up] – Ahhh Step Up, the movie that brought Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan together. It was a pivotal scene, with Nora telling Tyler how she imagined her senior showcase, and then they dance with the sunset in the background. It’s all cute and romantic, and stuff.
  5. Michael Jackson, The Way You Make Me Feel/Ruff Endz, If I Was the One/Jamiroquai, Canned Heat [Center Stage] – So I’m cheating a little bit here, putting three songs for one movie. BUT, these three songs were used for the finale piece in Center Stage! They go together! And I can’t listen to any one of these songs without immediately playing the scene in my head, picturing the choreography.
  6. Gerardo Matos Rodríguez, La Cumparsita (Remix) [Take the Lead] – For some reason, I’ve always loved watching a good tango, so I’ve always loved the song, even if I didn’t know what it was called when I was younger. Then Take the Lead came out and featured this AMAZING trio tango with a remixed version of La Cumparsita, which kind of became my everything. The classic tango song, updated with a hip-hop flavour, which was part of what made the movie unique.
  7. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova/Steve Kazee & Cristin Milioti, Falling Slowly [Once/Once the Musical] – Just such a beautiful song.
  8. Katharine McPhee & Megan Hilty, Let Me Be Your Star [Smash] – Let this be one of the few good things to come out of Smash. The pilot capped off with this wonderful song, that set the stage for the rest of the show. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. But hey, at least we got this song and Megan Hilty from that mess.
  9. Oscar Isaac, Never Had [10 Years] – Oscar Isaac actually wrote this song for the movie (an underrated gem about friends meeting up for their high school reunion), where he plays Reeves, a musician with this hit song. The song keeps getting talked about throughout the movie, until Reeves gets convinced to karaoke his own song. The song has a great nostalgic tone that was obviously meant to work with the movie. Just watch it.
  10. Dianna Agron & Lea Michele, I Feel Pretty/Unpretty [Glee] – There once was a time when I loved Glee, before it all went to shit. I particularly loved it most when they actually picked songs that worked itself organically into the story, and not just them doing songs for the sake of it. The performance is actually still one of my favourites that they did, which was in season 2, and dealt with Rachel’s want to get her nose fixed.
  11. Jason Segel, You Just Got Slapped [How I Met Your Mother] – Now for something fun and silly. Because creating Slapsgiving wasn’t enough, the HIMYM gang created this tune to commemorate the occasion in season 3.
  12. Orishas ft. Heather Headley, Represent Cuba [Dirty Dancing Havana Nights] – I stand by my “I don’t really like the movie, but I love the soundtrack.” I just love this song.
  13. Sara Bareilles, Breathe Again [The Vampire Diaries] – There once was also a time when I loved The Vampire Diaries. Now season 1, their music supervisor had already established himself with some really good song choices. But I remember distinctly the first half of season 2, where I thought they were just on a complete roll with the music. They used this fantastic Sara Bareilles song as the coda in episode 4.
  14. Jonathan Groff/Kyle Riabko, Left Behind [Spring Awakening] – It’s a poignant song in the musical, with Melchior lamenting Moritz’ death, wondering what led to it including Moritz’ parents’ treatment of him. Obviously I love the original version as sung by Jonathan Groff, but there’s also a soulful quality to Kyle Riabko’s version which he did on his own album.
  15. Florence + the Machine, Cosmic Love [Nikita] – Season 1, Episode 17: Michael goes to see Nikita and realizes she was right all along when it came to Division. They kiss and that was the beginning of Mikita. I sigh just thinking about it.