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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Five Holiday Film Treats
by Betty Jo Tucker

Merely thinking about certain movies can boost my holiday spirit. What do these films have in common? Most of them deliver stories filled with humor and messages of hope -– all wrapped up in an entertaining cinematic package. Below are five of these wonderful movies.


PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES. Steve Martin and John Candy are very funny playing two men trying to get from New York to Chicago for Thanksgiving.  A blizzard causes the Chicago airport to shut down – so their plane lands somewhere in Kansas. Martin’s character finds himself burdened continuously with the overbearing guy portrayed by Candy. These two have terrific comic chemistry together – but Candy died shortly after this film was released, so their plans to work on other projects with each other didn’t come to fruition. But PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES is a gift to moviegoers because it shows how great these two actors were as co-stars

MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. This beautifully filmed offering celebrates the importance of love, family and friends. It boasts excellent performances, charming nostalgia and wonderful music galore, including Judy Garland singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Boy Next Door,” and “The Trolley Song.” Watching it takes us back to a simpler time – the beginning of the 1900s. Everything about this motion picture is still captivating.   

THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL. Kermit portrays Bob Cratchit and Gonzo plays Charles Dickens here, but it’s Michael Caine who steals the show. He’s absolutely wonderful as the grumpy, miserly Scrooge – and he even warbles a tune or two. This is my favorite version of the Dickens classic

THE GRINCH (2000). Jim Carrey’s astounding interpretation of the Grinch makes me laugh every time I think about this amazing movie. From his gruff voice and hairy green appearance to his wild physical antics and impossible grumpy attitude, Carrey simply is this incredible creature. I completely forgot Ace Ventura, Andy Kaufman, and Carrey’s hilarious In Living Color personas while watching him in this film. After seeing him transform himself into this character, I now admire Carrey primarily for his Grinchiness. And I loved the way the Dr. Seuss story illustrates the power of a child’s innate goodness to bring about redemption. “Maybe Christmas Can’t be bought in a store – maybe it’s just a little bit more.” 

A CHRISTMAS STORY. I think this movie is the best family Christmas comedy of all time. I never get tired of watching it – and that’s a good thing because it’s shown so much on TV around the holidays. It’s another nostalgic gem – taking us back to the 1940s and showing the magical quality of Christmas for kids back then – especially for our hero, nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsly), who makes sure everyone knows he wants a Red Ryder air rifle – even though he’s warned “You’ll shoot your eye out!” In our house, it wouldn’t be Christmas without watching A CHRISTMAS STORY.

As Tiny Tim says at the end of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, “God bless us, everyone!” I send that same wish out to movie fans everywhere.

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