Top 16… Movies Ross McG Watched Over Christmas
Christmas is about a lot of things. Goodwill. Baby Jesus. Cliff Richard. But it’s also about watching movies. Here is my rundown of the films I caught over the festive period. Let us at RvR know what you watched in between turkey and more turkey…
Maybe it’s because I feel generous over Christmas, but I find my expectations lower slightly around that time of year when it comes to movies. I will happily slump in front of any old guff just because it happens to be on the TV, guff I wouldn’t have dared pay to see at the cinema a few years earlier. As a result, Christmas movie-watching is a nice mix of things I really want to see, things I want to rewatch on DVD and things I would never dream of watching. It makes for a fun few days of film viewing. This list isn’t really in any particular order, nor is it full of great or even good movies. It is simply what I watched over Christmas. In some instances, I didn’t even watch the whole thing. I do have a life you know… kind of.
16. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit
Tremendous fun. Why aren’t all animated movies like this? Why aren’t all movies like this? The action sequences in this are as good as anything I’ve ever seen. They just happen to feature a giant rabbit and a couple of dogs in aeroplanes.
15. Spider-Man 3
I hated Spider-Man 3 when I went to see it in the cinema on release. I thought it was a complete and utter mess. Watching it again on TV on Christmas Eve, my opinion was not changed. However, it turned out to be a complete and utter mess that I enjoyed second time round. It has underdeveloped villains, James Franco and Kirsten Dunst dancing while cooking and Tobey Maguire with the worst haircut ever, yet I still enjoyed it. What is wrong with me?
14. The Incredibles
This, on the other hand, I loved just as much as I did in the cinema. The perfect Christmas Day movie, one of the rare occasions when the TV schedulers get it right. Man, animated Holly Hunt is hot…
13. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
Like a lot of people, I endured the first two movie instalments of the Potter franchise and vowed to never watch another. Thankfully I’m a bit of a hypocrite, and last Christmas I sat down and watched The Goblet Of Fire, which I found to be great fun. So when I noticed Order Of The Phoenix was on telly this time round I knew what I was doing for the next two and a half hours. I may not have had a clue what the hell was going on or why everyone was afraid of mentioning some evil dude’s name, but I thought it was great. Dare I say it, Daniel Radcliffe’s acting was pretty good, and any film with Brendan Gleeson can’t be bad. Apart from Mission: Impossible 2, of course. Looking forward to seeing Half-Blood Prince. Do I need to go back and watch Prisoner Of Azkaban? Do I need to get a life…?
Following all the hype that surrounded it, I bought this on DVD about a year or so ago and sat down and watched it. At the time I thought it was a good show, a bit overrated sure, but not without its charm. So when I settled in to watch it again on TV on Christmas Night I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. But there’s something spellbinding about Once when you see it twice. It all just makes a bit more sense. Probably because you know the songs and it’s a bit like sticking on an album you’d forgotten about. And the bit on the bus is hilarious.
11. Bad Santa
That kid is the best child actor ever. In your face, Jodie Foster.
10. Inglourious Basterds
I couldn’t believe how much I loved Inglourious Basterds when I saw it on the big screen a few months ago. Having watched it on DVD – I slyly bought it for my dad – at Christmas I couldn’t believe how much I still loved it. There is so much about this film that I should hate (Eli Roth and Mike Myers are in it! It’s too long! It’s directorial masturbation! It’s spelt wrong! Twice!) and yet I just can’t resist it. I even thought Brad Pitt was funny second time round.
9. Eight Below
Paul Walker. Snow. Huskies. Really, what’s not to like?
Forget ET. Forget Flight Of The Navigator. This is the best sci-fi kids movie of the 80s. You all remember this one, right? Where the boy isn’t a real boy because he’s a robot but it turns out he has feelings too? I didn’t remember Michael McKean being in it though. A free D.A.R.Y.L. DVD to the first person in the comments section to tell me what the stupid abbreviation stands for. And that’s without using the Google-iser gun. When I say you will receive a free D.A.R.Y.L. DVD I of course mean you won’t receive a free D.A.R.Y.L. DVD. Man, typing out this movie’s title is annoying…
7. Dreamer: Inspired By A True Story
If you thought the last movie’s title was bad, get a load of this. I had never heard of this film. To be totally honest, I’m not sure it is real. It could well have just appeared on my television screen for a few hours before disappearing entirely, back to the dimension from which it came. If that is the case, here is what I can recall: it had Kurt Russell, it had Kris Kristofferson as Kurt Russell’s dad and it had Dakota Fanning as Kurt Russell’s daughter. There was something about a horse hurting its leg or something but I was too busy staring at Kurt Russell’s hair to notice.
6. Finding Neverland
How could the guy who made this (director Marc Foster) also have spewed out the amazingly boring Quantum Of Solace and the unbelievably pretentious Stranger Than Fiction? Finding Neverland is simple and not always subtle storytelling (wonder what will happen to that character who’s developed a slight cough?) but it really gets the emotional juices flowing after too many turkey sambos. If you don’t cry during the last fifteen minutes of this film… then you’re not a big wuss like me.
5. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Still good 70 odd years on (no, I didn’t see this one when it was released) but to be honest I would rather watch the Snow White scene from Gremlins than watch the whole film. The bits with the evil queen are great. The bits with the dwarfs washing themselves are not so great. The bits with breaking and entering poster-child Snow White singing suck balls.
4. October Sky
Jake Gyllenhaal wants to build a rocket. His dad, Chris Cooper, wants him to work in the coal mine. This sounds like utter guff and it probably is to most reasonable folk. But I loved it. And yes, I cried a little.
3. Happy Feet
This was painful. ‘Watch it, it’s great fun, it’s cute,’ my family wailed. Sorry family, but on this one you’re full of crap. Cloying, insulting, over-sentimental, annoying drivel. And to think I used to like penguins.
2. Brokeback Mountain
I finally got round to seeing this over Christmas and the only word I can really think of to describe it is a pretty bland one: good. It’s far from brilliant but it’s an enjoyable watch. Despite all the hype about Heath Ledger in this I actually thought Jake Gyllenhaal gave the better, more nuanced performance. But it’s not a terrifically well written film or anything. Instead it relies on some standout scenes and fine imagery – the fireworks exploding behind a poised Ledger is one of cinema’s greatest shots.
1. Herbie: Fully Loaded
Remember when I said this list wasn’t in any particular order…? I lied. This was the film I enjoyed above any other over Christmas (probably just edging out Inglourious Basterds). When it started off on TV early one afternoon, I thought, ‘I’ll watch five minutes of this crud and then go for a shower’ but then I got hooked. People tend to forget what a great comic performer Lindsay Lohan used to be (personally, I think she should have been Oscar-nominated for playing twins in The Parent Trap remake). Throw in great actors like Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton and, yes, you have a pretty crap film about a car with a mind of its own. But it’s a pretty crap film about a car with a mind of its own that has some great actors in it. Well, I enjoyed it anyway.
WHAT MOVIES DID YOU WATCH OVER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY?