The 27 movies Ross McG watched over Christmas
It’s a Christmas tradition, isn’t it, sitting around, stuffing yourself with choccies and watching great, good, bad and terrible films? Listing the movies we watched over Christmas is something of a new year’s tradition at Ross v Ross, and you can check out my lists for Christmas 2012, Christmas 2010 and Christmas 2009 by clicking the links.
But now to Christmas 2013 – as usual, some of the movies below I watched in their entirety, some were just ten-minute snatches, while the rest were somewhere in between. I don’t have the ability to make time stand still, after all. Some were on TV, some were on DVD. They are, however, in chronological order.
1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Where better to start the Christmas viewing schedule than with some Harry Pottering? Okay, so Order of the Phoenix has that goofy plotline with Dumbledore’s army, but it makes up for it through the chilling Dolores Umbridge, played brilliantly by Imelda Staunton, who is far scarier than old You Know Who.
It is illegal to not watch this at Christmas. And illegal for Channel 4 not to show it 32 times in the space of two weeks.
3. Never Let Me Go
This beautiful adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel about dystopian England should have been retitled Nobody Let Me Go To See This At The Cinema, such was the utter disdain meted out to it at the box office. But you know what, sometimes millions of people across the globe are completely wrong, because this is a utterly adorable and heartbreaking film. People who moan, ‘Oh, I can’t bear Keira Knightley,’ are idiots. Terrific actress. Watch this and The Duchess, then come back to me.
4. Jane Eyre
Super book, pretty decent film. This version, with a moody Michael Fassbender and a haunted looking Mia Wasikowska, may be the 831st adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s acclaimed novel, but it still manages to mine something new from its material, particularly in the cold harshness of the characters’ surroundings. Brrrrr.
5. Joy Ride
It’s Paul Walker and Steve Zahn. With a CB radio and some mad trucker who they’ve ticked off. I caught 20 minutes of it. Admittedly, that was enough, but sometimes those things are all you need for good/terrible late night movie.
6. Four Christmases
No. Just no. Don’t watch this. Ever.
7. Toy Story 3
Watched 20 minutes before tucking into some turkey on Christmas Day. Thankfully, it was the bit with Mr Pricklepants.
8. Love, Actually
Much derided in the lead-up to this Christmas because it’s cool or something if you’re a smarmy online media-type who likes to smugly pick holes in things which are already made of Swiss cheese, I love Love, Actually. Much of it is indefensibly terrible, granted, but it has Alan bleedin’ Rickman.
Missed this in the cinema so was looking forward to watching it on Boxing Night, but it left me a bit cold. Not in the same class as director Ben Wheatley’s superb Kill List, Sightseers does have its moments, but there’s only so much you can get from watching nasty people do nasty things to others. Nice campsites, though.
10. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Oogie Boogie. Does the trick every time.
A new Christmas staple for me – I end up watching Amy Adams playing a princess every year. And it’s great fun. She really should have went off with James Marsden instead of Patrick Dempsey though.
Any film that finds a home for Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Welcome To The Jungle in an action set-piece is fine by me. Apart from The Dead Pool, of course.
13. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I know, I know, I have a bit of blind spot when it comes to the fourth Indiana Jones movie, but I maintain that the first half hour is actually pretty good. Once Harrison Ford slid into that library on a motorbike, I wisely turned it off.
14. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Oh Jesus. If you didn’t think it was possible to make a film more boring than Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, then you obviously haven’t sat through Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The characters – none of whom are interesting (the sooner Jack Sparrow walks the plank for good, the better) – spend the first three and half hours of the movie doing nothing on a ship on the way to the Fountain of Youth, then spend the second three and a half hours doing nothing at the Fountain of Youth. It is remarkably ill-judged, with people having their throats slit in an alleged children’s adventure film. People actually got paid to write this guff. Unbelievable. Idiots like me watched it.
An old man falling to his death, however villainous he may be, isn’t very appropriate for a Disney/Pixar cartoon, is it?
16. This Is It
Say what you like about Jacko, but the guy still had the moves. Even when he was days away from death’s door.
17. Father of the Bride Part II
I stumbled on to the last 15 minutes of this, in which Steve Martin juggles his daughter giving birth with his wife giving birth. Somehow, the film gets away with it, tribute to Martin’s skill as a performer. Cos effectively, this film is the stuff that comes out of the lady after the baby has gone.
18. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
I love the Harry Potter movies. Well, that’s a lie, I love the last six Harry Potter movies. But can’t we live in a world where two great kids’ franchises exist? A Series of Unfortunate Events is a real gem – and should have spanned sequels – but it only made $200 million at the box office. Not enough, apparently. But money doesn’t matter tonight. All that matters is Jim Carrey’s brilliantly naff disguises. I actually watched half an hour of this at Christmas with the mute button on as my aunt and uncle had come round to visit. Even without sound it’s still fantastic.
19. Good Vibrations
This one, on the other hand, needs sound to survive. But what a sound. Film critic Mark Kermode was right about Michael Bay and he is right about Good Vibrations – it really is the best film of last year. Richard Dormer delivers a stirring performance as Belfast record shop owner Terry Hooley, the man who discovered The Undertones. His rallying call of, ‘Raise your expectations!’ should be shouted at those jerks who gave us Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Burton out-Burtoned. And out-buttoned. Brilliant.
21. Dirty Dancing
Just saw the end of this after some late-night flicking, and it still holds up. Dirty Dancing is that rare beast, a cheesy ’80s movie that never loses its impact – it’s something of a masterpiece.
22. Good Hair
Anyone with hair extensions, look away now. Comedian Chris Rock bravely ventures into the world of hairdressing in this fabulous documentary that explores the lengths women will go to in order to look good on top. The film’s impact comes from the humorous way in which the facts are presented – there are no sledgehammer doc tactics here. Hi, Michael Moore.
23. How To Train Your Dragon
If you’ve had the severe misfortune of seeing Law Abiding Citizen or The Ugly Truth, here is proof that Gerard Butler can also be in good films. Miracles do happen.
Hanks but yes Hanks.
25. The Terminal
Get out your Hanksies. Nah, doesn’t quite work, does it?
26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Come on, if you’re the dark lord of something and your only reason for existing is to kill some kid you were meant to kill years ago but messed things up, wouldn’t you check YOURSELF that he had stopped breathing in the forest rather than relying on some untrustworthy lackey to do it for you? Still, apart from that, brilliant film.
27. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
It would have made sense to top and tail this Christmas list with some Potter action. But who wants to make sense? Not Werner Herzog, that’s for sure, who gave us the wacky and wonderful Nicolas Cage as this Bad Lieutenant. Just don’t tell Herzog it’s a remake, though, he hates that. This is genuinely one of the best film of the past decade or so, and yet no one went to see it. Well, screw em, cos they missed Cage’s greatest performance and the perfect movie to ring in the new year. They’re the reason this country’s going down the drain…
WHAT DID YOU WATCH OVER CHRISTMAS?