I was screwing around on Twitter this week when ... wait, let me rephrase that.
I was doing very important research for my column when I came across a mistake that always happens around this time of the year. Someone mentioned the classic Christmas song “White Christmas” and said that it had its debut in the movie “White Christmas” starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. It’s an easy mistake to make, and I can understand why some folks might assume it to be true, but it’s not. The song actually first appeared in the movie “Die Hard.”
Ha! I joke.
No, “White Christmas” was first performed in the movie “Holiday Inn” starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. By the way, I read somewhere — while doing my important research — that the Holiday Inn hotel chain took its name from the movie. I’m not sure if that is true, but since it’s on the Internet I will assume it’s not.
I mention “Holiday Inn” just about every year during the holiday season. It’s my favorite Christmas movie, in part because I like Bing and in part because I first watched it with my grandmother, who visited us during Christmas the year my dad was serving in Vietnam.
Everyone probably has a favorite Christmas movie, and I figure this would be a good time to lay out my top 10 favorites. You don’t have to agree with my list, and if you like you can make your own list and send it to me. Please do. I’m always looking for new holiday films.
Before we get started, I need to say that “Die Hard” is not a Christmas movie. It’s a good movie, and it takes place at Christmas, but it’s not a Christmas movie.
• 1: “Holiday Inn.” A classic. Bing sings and Fred dances. A bit politically incorrect at times by today’s standards, but it probably was considered progressive at the time.
• 2: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Without a doubt the funniest, most often quoted Christmas movie of all time.
• 3: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Great movie, but a word of advice: I know everyone thinks they can do a great Jimmy Stewart impression, but they can’t. So enough with the “Zuzu’s petals.”
• 4: “Going My Way.” I defy you to watch the end of this movie and not cry.
• 5: “White Christmas.” The scene with Bing and Danny lip-syncing “Sisters” is worth the price of the movie.
• 6: “Elf.” I had to include this movie on the list or my daughter would kill me. Will Ferrell is great in the film, of course, but so are Bob Newhart and James Caan in understated and funny roles.
• 7: “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Technically not a movie, but so what? It’s my list.
• 8: “A Christmas Story.” Even though it runs nonstop on Christmas Eve, I never get tired of it.
• 9: “The Shop Around the Corner.” This movie staring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan was the inspiration for the movie “You’ve Got Mail.”
• 10: “Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol.” I first saw Mr. Magoo’s version of Charles Dickens’ famous short story “A Christmas Carol” when I was 6 years old. I remember thinking at the time that Mr. Magoo was a really good actor. I was a weird kid.
I know I’ve failed to mention several other great Christmas movies, but I had to stop at 10. I also know that you might take issue with the way I ranked my favorites and I can understand that, but, hey, they’re my favorites.
Seriously, if you have some favorites not on my list, send them to me and I’ll mention them in a column closer to Christmas. You can’t have too many holiday movies.
Mike Pound is a columnist for The Joplin (Mo.) Globe. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org