‘Tis the season for TV holiday programming – movies that can make us laugh and weep. There are the classics that take us back to our childhood as well as the comedies that put the “fun” in dysfunctional families.
Tamara Honesty, a visiting professor of scenic design at CCM, reveals some of her personal favorites that she’s looking forward to seeing during the month of December:
A Christmas Story – The 1983 classic comedy warned about shooting your eye out as well as sticking your tongue to a frozen pole. “As an adult who is fortunate enough not to really want something as desperately as a Red Rider BB gun, it’s fun to remember what it was like as a child to want something so desperately for Christmas and to experience the joy of receiving it,” says Honesty.
A Charlie Brown Christmas – The music from the 1965 classic is as instantly recognizable on holiday radio as it is on TV. “I love when Linus explains to Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas, because he is so sincere and to the point.”
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The tail end of the Baby Boomers grew up with this Chuck Jones, 1966 animated version and now share it with their children. “Who isn’t touched when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes once he realizes that he can’t steal Christmas from Whoville?” says Honesty.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Watch out for the cat food in the Jello and the squirrel in the Christmas tree. The 1989 classic was a favorite in the series of misadventures of the Griswold family. “The Griswolds are trying so hard to make it the best Christmas that it becomes a hilarious disaster.”
The Nightmare Before Christmas – The animated 1993 film produced by Tim Burton and directed by Henry Selick was both a commercial and critical success. “I simply adore the story and visual aesthetic of The Nightmare Before Christmas. The idea that these Halloween characters are trying to understand the concept of Christmas is very charming,” says Honesty.
“In addition, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1970) and The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) are my favorite holiday TV specials,” says Honesty. “In particular, the stop-action Rudolf and Santa Claus specials have a wonderful textural quality to their characters and sets.”
“I still cry when the Island of Misfit Toys think they have been left behind for yet another Christmas, only to have Santa’s sleigh with Rudolph in the lead swoop down to pick them up,” says Honesty. “Rudolph is an emotional roller coaster of a television special!”