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3 Days to Christmas: The Classics of the 1990s

December 22, 2012

By John C.

Home Alone DVD CoverWe are now at the final weekend before the big day itself, and entering the homestretch of our Christmas Countdown by decade.  Yesterday we profiled the many classics of the 1980s, and today are taking a look at the holiday favourites from the 1990s, of which there were several.

Directed by Chris Columbus and written by the great John Hughes, Home Alone (1990) is a childhood favourite that still holds up just as well, even as the years go on.  After 8-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left behind when his family goes on vacation, the house is targeted by two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) and he is left to fend for himself with a series of ingenious traps.  Equally memorable is the journey that his mother (Catherine O’Hara) takes to get back home.  Filled with slapstick humour, a big heart and a touching message about the importance of family, Home Alone is a true holiday classic.

The Muppet Christmas Carol Blu-ray CoverNot only is The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) a heartwarming classic, but it is also a surprisingly faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ work.  Just one of many adaptations to appear on our list, this one is filled with excellent songs by Paul Williams and a brilliant performance by Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.  The entire Muppet cast is equally great, including Kermit the Frog as Bob Kratchit and narration by The Great Gonzo.  If you are a fan of Jim Henson’s characters or  Charles Dickens, then The Muppet Christmas Carol is one worth watching every year.

Disney also released a different type of holiday musical with the stop motion classic The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).  With its darkly beautiful visuals, the film arguably seems more appropriate for Halloween than Christmas, but it is none the less an absolute classic that still holds up.

The Santa Clause DVD CoverStarring Tim Allen as a divorced man who is thrust into the job of Santa Claus and everything that entails, The Santa Clause (1994) was a hit for Disney and it still holds up to repeat viewings year after year.  Helping his son believe in Santa and changing his own attitude in the process, the film is filled with enough Christmas spirit for the whole family to enjoy.  Skip the inferior sequels and just watch the charming original.  Now we switch gears completely for the next film…

The year 1994 also gave us a very different type of holiday film with The Ref (1994), the story of a cat burglar (Denis Leary) who takes a bickering married couple (Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey) hostage on Christmas Eve, only to find himself forced to help them resolve their differences.  This is a foulmouthed and well written comedy for adults that has become a cult classic.

Mr. Bean DVD Cover

Rowan Atkinson’s performance as the socially awkward Mr. Bean has delighted many over the years, with a popular TV series in the 1990s.  But the one episode that continues to get the most viewings around this time of year is Merry Christmas Mr. Bean (1992).  This is a hilarious TV special that takes place in three acts, and just keeps getting funnier as it goes along.  As a side note, “did you put the turkey on?” is quite simply a great quote, especially considering the outrageously funny context.

The 1990s gave us several holiday favourites, and these are all classics that still hold up.  Please check back tomorrow when we take a look at the 2000s, a very bountiful decade indeed…

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