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Don’t Kill Annoying Relatives! TLO’s Ten Christmas Movies to Watch With a Case of Pabst

3:00 PM EST on December 22, 2009

As Clark Griswold would say, "Tis the season . . . do you see any lines, Rusty?"

And, as you make your way back to see the folks, get invaded by relatives, or sit there alone wondering what interesting people do while you're putzing around on Facebook, remember that there's a refuge in your old trusty buddy, the television. Between the heavily-edited lineup of cable network offerings and Netflix, you can probably find most of these Ogle-approved holiday standbys.  Together with a case of Pabst, these stories can get you through any Christmas, and any replay of the dysfunctional family drama that is the typical American Christmas.

10. Holiday Inn (1942):  Bing Crosby makes happy melodies at a night club that is only open on holidays, while wondering how Fred Astaire keeps stealing his girlfriends (hint, Bing: being a good dancer is more, ah, impressive than being a good singer at the end of the night).  Brought us the song White Christmas, the movie remake White Christmas, and a chain of budget hotels named Holiday Inn. And, just to show how things have changed since the good ol' days, here's a scene deleted from the version AMC is airing: Bing Crosby performs on Lincoln's birthday in blackface:

Ah, America the way it used to be. Why wouldn't anyone want to go back to those simpler, gentler, kinder times when people were polite and racism was facially obvious?

9. It's a Wonderful Life (1946): Frank Capra, always one to engage uplifting topics like death, suicide, bankruptcy, and the role of sinister forces manipulating little people, rolls it all up into one Christmas Eve treat for Jimmy Stewart (George Bailey), who gets to see how the world would exist without him.  Makes me imagine It's a Wonderful Life: Sally Kern Makeover Edition . . . "Every time a bell rings, a homosexual goes straight to Hell." Here's the happy end to this long, depressing, preachy movie:

8. "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (1989): Not really a movie, but the first-ever full-length Simpsons' episode. Homer gets no Christmas bonus,  and goes to work on the side as a department store Santa. Then Homer blows all his pay at the dog track, betting on long-shot Santa's Little Helper. The dog is chased away by his rock-throwing owner and into Homer and Bart's waiting arms. Here's the promo:

The full episode can be seen here.

7. Scrooged (1988): A Bill Murray vehicle, which places TV exec Frank Cross (Murray) in the Scrooge role in the best contemporary adaptation  of Dickens' classic story. Unfortunately, it inspires a variety of copycat adaptations, including the inevitable Tori Spelling version, "A Carol Christmas," in which William Shatner beams in as the Ghost of Christmas Present. (I'm not about to post video from that awful movie, so here's Tori and her scary fake boobs).

5. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988): Remember Ernest? Remember the Braum's commercials? Take all those memories, add in what is basically the plotline to "The Santa Clause," and you've got the idea for the movie.  This raises an interesting thought: wouldn't most rednecks shoot reindeer rather than drive a sleigh powered by reindeer?

4. A Christmas Story (1983): A candidate for the greatest Christmas movie ever if TNT hadn't played it to death for seven straight years. Adaptation of Jean Shepherd's short stories and novels.  Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun, all the adults in the world are standing in his way ("you'll shoot your eye out"), and comic memories of every other aspect of preadolescent life back when kids could go outside and, y'know, do stuff because there wasn't a pervert behind every tree.  It's another quote machine of a movie , but my favorite is: "Only I didn't say "˜Fudge.' I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "˜F-dash-dash-dash' word!"

3.Die Hard (1988): The best Christmas movie ever. Detective John McClane goes to LA to reunite with his estranged family and ends up killing off a building full of Eurotrash high finance terrorists.  Again, too many money quotes floating around to repeat here, though Hans flipping off "it's Christmastime, Theo. It's the time for miracles" is way up there. But, I'll just go with the closing scene, where McClane and Holly roll away in the limo, while Vaugh Monroe's "Let It Snow" plays as flaming debris falls all around the Nakatomi Building. I can't find a "legal" copy of the ending, but here's Die Hard "“ The F---ing Short Version (Just in case you missed the movie, somehow):

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): Again, not an actual movie, but it has been a ratings winner for years. Great jazz score, pleasing story line, and A Charlie Brown Christmas does something absolutely preposterous in a modern Christmas tale: It mentions Jesus Christ.

1. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989): The greatest Christmas movie ever, though AMC is making a good run at burning it out this Holiday Season.  The Griswolds are back, in search of the perfect Holiday, and they invite over an archetype of every annoying relative you've got in your own family. The money quotes are too many to list here, but I'll go with the scene where Clark meets Mary while he's out blousing in the nipply weather, and, of course, the definitive Cousin Eddie.

Merry Christmas everybody, from your friends here at the Lost Ogle.

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