Classic films to watch for the holidays

Mary Winnick

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, the Bark reviewed four films to get into the holiday spirit. Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like a classic holiday movie to inspire excitement and spirit for this time of year. The ratings are based on the movie’s ability to engage, its plot, and its overall holiday spirit.

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

3.5 Stars

“Miracle on 34th Street,” a classic black and white film from the ‘40s, centers around a man named Kris Kringle who is hired last minute as a replacement Santa Claus for the Macy’s Department Store in New York City. Even with the absence of color, the movie rekindles the idea of holiday spirit which the characters of the movie have lost. Though everyone loves the new Santa Claus, things take a turn when Kris claims to be the real Santa Claus and not a fake one—which causes the workers at Macy’s to institutionalize Kris as insane. “Miracle on 34th Street” is boring in the beginning and it takes a while to figure out what the climax of the movie will be. There isn’t much music in this movie, but it does include some classic holiday songs including “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” The acting captures the hope the characters have for regaining spirit, although they have always been told Santa isn’t real.

The Polar Express (2004)

4 Stars

This festive animated movie is about a young boy named Billy who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and is awoken by a train passing his house on Christmas Eve. The shy boy ventures outside and jumps onto a magical train called the Polar Express for a journey with other kids to the North Pole. After the long adventure, they finally arrive and he learns that Santa Claus, his elves,

The Polar Express
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and the North Pole are indeed real. Billy has the opportunity to break out of the shell he has been hiding under and become a brave, adventurous boy. This inspiring movie not only gets the viewer into the holiday spirit, but it encourages people to try new things and take risks. It also has cheerfully festive music and the sound quality is great. Not only are songs played in the background of the film, but the characters also sing most of the songs, with multiple singing and dancing scenes. It is mysterious from the beginning and will keep viewers’ attention until the end. You can never go wrong with watching “The Polar Express.”



Elf (2003)

5 Stars

This hilarious film is about a human named Buddy the Elf who is raised in the North Pole after he accidentally crawls into Santa’s bag of toys as a baby. When he becomes a fully grown man,

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the head elf tells him that he is not actually an elf, but a human. The elf also tells him about his biological father who lives in New York City, and Santa allows Buddy to go to find his birth father. Buddy then begins his journey to find his father and ignite friendships with humans he’s never had before. This hilarious movie captures the importance of strong relationships with family and friends. Will Ferrell acting as Buddy embodies Buddy’s character and special traits that make him unique. He keeps the audience engaged the whole movie and completely convinces the audience that Buddy’s mannerisms come straight from the North Pole. This movie is special because most of the singing comes from the cast in a comical way. Overall, this movie promises a laugh and will inspire good spirits for the holiday season.



How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

3 Stars

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a heart-warming live-action movie adapted from the classic book by Dr. Seuss.  The film is about a small, spirited town called Whoville that loves the holidays, and a mean ugly Grinch who hates the holidays. When the town tries to gather as much spirit and celebrate, the Grinch decides to ruin their fun.The movie is a little boring, and it takes a while to uncover how the Grinch is going to ruin Christmas. The songs in this movie are classic and cute with a mixture of instruments and voices. This enchanting movie teaches the important values of being nice to others and being open to new traditions and ideas. The end of the movie especially encourages the audience to get into the holiday spirit.