Here’s the full list of the Christmas films I’ll be watching this Advent and Christmas–including the 10 chosen by my readers–but in no particular order.  Once I’ve watched a film, I’ll move it up the list and link to its review (so the first film I watch will become 1, the second 2 and so on).

  1. The Bishop’s Wife*the-bishops-wife
  2. The Polar Express
  3. Joyeux Noël
  4. Scrooge (1951)
  5. Christmas Vacation*
  6. Arthur Christmas
  7. Nativity!
  8. Christmas with the Kranks
  9. Meet Me in St. Louis
  10. Prancer 
  11. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  12. 8 Women (French Film)
  13. Elf*
  14. The Shop Around the Corner
  15. We’re No Angels
  16. Frozen
  17. It’s a Wonderful Life*
  18. Love Actually
  19. A Christmas Story*
  20. A Muppet Christmas Carol
  21. The Nativity Storykranks_01
  22. The Family Man*
  23. Four Christmases
  24. Christmas in Connecticut 
  25. Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)
  26. Home Alone
  27. White Christmas
  28. The Santa Clause
  29. A Christmas Carol (2009)
  30. Holiday Inn
  31. nativity!The Holiday

Movies with an * are ones that I have previously seen.

If you’d like more information on my 31 Christmas FIlms project, check out my initial post here.

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The voting is in and these are the 10 films chosen by all of you! These are in order of votes received.  Thanks so much for voting!

  1. Love Actuallyloveactually
  2. Meet Me in St. Louis
  3. The Family Man*
  4.  Four Christmases
  5. Christmas in Connecticut 
  6.  8 Women (French Film)
  7.  Christmas with the Kranks
  8.  Nativity! 
  9.  Prancer 
  10.  National Lampoons Christmas Vacation*

I begin in earnest tomorrow, and I’ll start with the “Bishop’s Wife”! I hope you’ll enjoy these films with me too!

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This Advent and Christmas I’m watching 31 Christmas Films.  You can catch up on why I’m doing this here.

Here are my rules:

  1. Only feature length films. No animated TV classics that run 30 or 50 minutes.
  2. No horror flicks.  I’m looking at you “Silent Night, Deadly Night.”
  3. I won’t watch more than 6 films that I have already seen before in their entirety. (Marked with *)
  4. My wife, Melissa, gets to pick the January 5th movie since it’s her birthday.
  5. I’ve chosen 20 films, and the rest will come from you! Vote online now!
  6. They have to be about Christmas and not just happen on Christmas Eve or Day. No “Gremlins” for me!

Here are my 20!

  1. A Christmas Story*
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life*
  3. The Polar Express
  4. The Nativity Story
  5. The Bishop’s Wife*
  6. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  7. White Reindeer (2013 New Release)
  8. The Christmas Candle (2013 New Release)
  9. Black Nativity (2013 New Release)
  10. White Christmas
  11. The Santa Clause
  12. A Christmas Carol (2009)
  13. Scrooge (1951)
  14. Elf*
  15. Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)
  16. Holiday Inn
  17. We’re No Angels
  18. Joyeux Noël
  19. Arthur Christmas
  20. The Shop Around the Corner

(Those with a * I’ve already seen.)

Please vote for the other films!


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Melissa and I watched a wonderful and haunting film this week called “Like Dandelion Dust.”  Two very different couples have their lives intersect over a shared love for a 6 year-old boy.  One set gave him up for adoption, and the other became his new family.

Yet, the birth father didn’t know he had a son given the circumstances in his life and the troubled relationship he and his wife had at that time.  And now he wants the boy back.

And that’s where the turmoil comes.

Obviously, anyone who is a parent will react strongly to this whole struggle.  Who can blame a father for wanting his child back?  Who can blame a mother for wanting to hold on to the child she has called her own from his earliest days?  What would you do to keep your child?

While it’s definitely a tear-jerker, it’s not overly mellow-dramatic.  The characters have a real depth and no easy answers are presented.  Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper—the birth parents—play amazing roles, as shown in the number of awards this film picked up along the way at various film festivals.

I won’t tell you how it ends, where the title comes from or if redemption is found in this one.  I’ll just say that I bet it sticks with you like it’s done to me.  I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.

Definitely queue-worthy.  Tell me what you think of this one.

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I love movies.  Given the phase of life we’re in right now with younger kids, however, we don’t make it to the theater as often as I’d like.  So we use Netflix.

We recently watched “Henry Poole is Here.”  It’s a comedy drama that got recommended to us along the way.  I think it sat in our queue for some time, if I’m honest.

What makes this unforgettable is the question of how do we find resurrection or miracles in real life?  Henry moves back to his old neighborhood because of the circumstances of his life (don’t want to spoil this), and even though he wants to be left alone, people keep interrupting his life.

And he doesn’t like it much.

But they’re persistant, and they see things Henry doesn’t. And they keep at it.

I won’t say anything else, but this: I wonder why it’s so easy to get into a funk and find that it’s easy to overlook all of life around us.  Will Henry wake up?  Will we?

Great film for the Easter season.

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Today during my sermon I mentioned a fabulous film that came out in 1996, “The Spitfire Grill.”  It didn’t get much play time in local theaters, but it won the Audience Award from the Sundance Film Festival that year.  Set in a small-town in Maine, it follows Percy Talbott as she leaves prison and comes to Gilead, ME to begin with a fresh start.  It’s a story about the letter of the law verses the spirit of the law, and about finding redemption.  It’s a character film to be sure (if action’s your thing, pass on this one), and well worth the time to see it.

So, put it on your Netflix queue.  You won’t be disappointed.

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