Welcome to the 9th Annual Diet of Christmas Films.
On Christmas Day 2008, I published a post where I wrote about the festive movies that I watched in the weeks leading up to the big day. These posts have now become an annual tradition.
The post is started in November just before I watch the first Christmas movie of the season. Once I've watched a film, I add it to the list below and then - by Christmas morning - I should have a lot of titles below with my thoughts on them.
Let's get to the films I've watched in 2016...
The Box of Delights (1984)
Based on the classic children's novel by John Masefield, the story follows the exploits of a young boy, Kay Harker, who finds himself drawn into a world of magic and danger when he encounters an old Punch and Judy man.
Okay, okay.. I cheated to start with. The Box of Delights is a television programme that was created by the BBC in the early Eighties. I bought the DVD earlier this year with the intention to watch the episodes in one go for this year's post. I managed to watch all six episodes over two days.
I first watched this series when it originally aired and I remember my mother bought the novel for me because I enjoyed it. With that all said, I forgot all about the plot so it was cool to be able to re-watch it without knowing what would happen.
Back then, the special effects must have been awesome for its time. Unfortunately, it hasn't aged well.
Home Alone 2 : Lost In New York (1992)
One year after Kevin was left home alone and had to defeat a pair of bumbling burglars, he accidentally finds himself in New York City, and the same criminals are not far behind.
One year are this writer watched Home Alone, he finds himself watching the sequel.
This was the first time I've seen Home Alone 2 since I watched it in the cinema back when it came out in 1992. It has the distinction of being the first, and only, movie that I didn't stick around to watch the end of in a cinema. If that didn't make it clear, this should - I was not a fan of this film back then. The re-watching of it 24 years later was more to see if my older eyes are more forgiving.
And they are!
I didn't hate it as much as I evidently did back in '92. It wasn't as good as the original, but most sequels never are.
There's one scene in it where Kevin bumps into Donald Trump. Was a funny sight to behold after this year's presidential result.
A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a festive demon to his family home.
I saw the trailer for the cinema release of this movie last Christmas and I thought it would be interesting to add this to my list. I didn't know which year I would catch it, but managed to see that it was listed on Sky Cinema so it immediately jumped the queue.
This is a horror film, so it's a bit off-course for what I do here every year. Although, I did watch Gremlins, so - if Gremlins counts because it's set at Christmastime - Krampus certainly does.
Krampus is a European legend that is like a dark, monstrous Father Christmas that comes to take away naughty children, and their families, over Christmas.
The movie is about a lad who causes the monster - and his evil elves, gingerbread men and other nasties - to come along to his family get together. As you've probably guessed, things turn bad.
Without giving too much away, there is an unhappy or happy ending depending on your interpretation. I guess the majority would side with the former, though.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004)
With their daughter away, the Kranks decide to skip Christmas altogether until she decides to come home, causing an uproar when they have to celebrate Christmas at the last minute.
Back to a proper Christmas movie and I'm glad. For some reason, I've passed up the opportunity to watch this film for a few years, but decided to have a go this time. I enjoyed it a lot.
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis play the parents in this movie. They decide to go away while their daughter is off doing missionary work over Christmas so tell all their friends, colleagues and neighbours that they won't be doing the usual festivities. Then, a day before the family are to travel on their cruise, the daughter tells them she is coming back. The Kranks then have to get help from the people they had let down days earlier.
As noted, I liked it. Shame on me for not feeling compelled to watch it before now.
Here's a trivia note: Dan Aykroyd plays the busybody neighbour in this film. This makes it four movies I've seen him and Jamie Lee Curtis in. They were both in Trading Places, My Girl, My Girl 2 and now this.
Beverly Hills Christmas (2015)
With help from a guardian angel, a spoiled rich, very material teenage girl learns that true value is found in assisting others and not in material things
This was a struggle to get through for many reasons.
The story starts off with a rich lady getting killed by a drunk driver during Christmas. She wakes up in limbo with a guardian angel who's played by Dean Cain (I've lost count how many Christmas films he has shown up in these past nine editions!). He tells the lady she has to go back home as a ghost and try and help her daughter not be a spoiled brat.
In her absence, the lady's husband has already moved a new love into the house (so, you'd assume they'd both be the baddies, right?) and then - for some reason - more characters were added and they came across as baddies.
The bottom line is this - the girl came good in the end and I still couldn't work out if I was meant to really hate on the widower who shacked up with his girlfriend immediately after his wife was killed in a car crash.
Oh, and here's something I'd like to add. The acting and dialogue was dreadful. It was so wooden. In my opinion, the actress who plays the ghost lady isn't that good at acting. I thought to myself 'I bet she's been in porn' because of how poor her delivery is. I checked her out on IMDB and it stated that she was a former Playboy Playmate. Close enough!
By the way, my visit to IMDB also informed me that there will be a Beverly Hills Christmas II in 2018.
If this film sees the light of day, I will DEFINITELY see it because I'd like to put myself through more torture for the sake of these Christmas Day posts.
A Christmas Story (1983)
10th December Upate: No need for the summary and thoughts. I had to watch this movie yet again because my nephew was over today. He asked if he could watch it again. As it's a favourite of mine, I wasn't going to refuse! I wouldn't be surprised if we end up watching the sequel as I'll be looking after him almost every day once the term is over.
When stray pup - Shelby - runs away from the pound and ends up in the home of aspiring magician - Jake, the whole family pulls off an ultimate magic trick to rescue him from the local dogcatcher.
Another Christmas movie with a talking dog. I've lost count of how many I've watched in the eight years that I've been doing this. This one is one of the better dog films, though.
Chevy Chase is in this. As I watched him in this, the thing that struck me the most is no longer see Chase as Clark Griswald, Nowadays, all I can see is the character he played in Community - Pierce Hawthorne.
Anyway, back to the film. As the summary states, it's about a dog that has run away from the pound and finds himself being secretly kept by a young boy until they find out what has been going on and he's sent back to the pound in preparation for him being purchased by a spoiled rich lady's son. This sets up the boy and his younger family members devising a plot to free Shelby from the pound.
I enjoyed it. It had a good story that made a lot of sense in the end.
Bad Santa (2003)
A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. The run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.
I loved this! This is another film that I have been avoiding because I didn't think I would like it. I was once again proven wrong. I guess I didn't think I'd like it because I thought there wouldn't be any feelgood moments in it. I can assure you, there are. I felt sorry for the troubled kid at points, and - as you'd expect - there was a happy ending for him.
The sequel came out in cinemas this year. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to watch it next year. I'm looking forward to it already.
Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas (1999)
Mickey Mouse leads the festive fun alongside Disney stalwarts Donald Duck and Goofy in a trio of colourful tales for Christmas.
In 'Donald Duck Stuck on Christmas', Donald's nephews Huey, Louie and Dewey get more than they bargained for when they wish it could be Christmas every day. As you probably guess, 'A Very Goofy Christmas' speaks for itself while in 'Mickey and Minnie's Gift of the Magi' our rodent hero and his best girl prove that it's much sweeter to give than receive.
I had an hour to kill. This was a little under an hour long. The best story of the three was the first one. Either that or the novelty wore off after twenty minutes. I watched Mickey's Christmas Carol for last year's post, so I guess it's fair game to have sat through this one. If I ever stumble across Twice Upon A Chrismas again, I'll give that a go as well.
Home Alone 3 (1997)
A young boy of nine living in Chicago, fends off thieves who seek a top-secret chip in his toy car to support a North Korea terrorist organization's next deed.
Another Home Alone movie this year. I had seen this movie on terrestrial TV listings numerous times over the years, but saw that it was available on Sky Cinema this time. I thought I'd forget the plan of watching it in 2017 just in case it ended up on a random channel and I was unable to record it.
I hadn't seen this movie until this year. It's not too bad. It isn't as good as the original Home Alone, but it is on par with Home Alone 2.
No Macaulay Culkin in this one, but we do get a young Scarlett Johansson who plays the sister of the kid who has to prevent FOUR villains from entering his home.
Santa's Little Helper (2015)
After getting fired from his job, a slick, fast-talking businessman - Dax (The Miz) - is thrown into an elf competition to become Santa's next second-in-command. Put through a series of rigorous training exercises to prepare for the contest, Dax and another aspiring elf go head-to-head in the hopes of becoming Santa's little helper.
I have waited a year to watch this film. WWE Studios produced it and it stars the aforementioned Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin and Paige. The Miz's valet in WWE, and real-life wife, Maryse is also in this for a few scenes.
As you would expect from these festive films, Santa's Little Helper has a nice story with a happy ending. I enjoyed it a lot. Even if the film wasn't produced by WWE or starred wrestlers, I still would have liked it.
And that's all for another year. I think, of all the films I've watched for Christmas 2016, the winner of has to go to Bad Santa. I try my best not to hate on Christmas movies, so won't point out to the worse of this bunch. You can work out what it is. It isn't too hard!
The 'Diet of Christmas Films' will return again in 2017 for its tenth edition. I keep stating it every year, but I have a backlog of movies to go through so this annual tradition has a lot of legs. I can see it running very far.
By the way, I have already ordered a DVD ready for next year. How's that for preparation?!
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!