Luke Reeder, 9
Regardless of when the “Christmas Season” starts (it’s immediately after Thanksgiving, in my opinion), we all know what it involves. Decorating, music, and of course, movies, which are arguably some of the best of the year. However, while we all have our favorites, ranking them can become a controversial issue. I’ll be ranking (in no particular order) the top 5 Christmas movies or specials of all time and ones that you should add to your list of movies to watch this holiday season.
First up is It’s A Wonderful Life, which is one of the greatest Christmas classics of all time. If I did rank them in order, there’s a strong chance this might take the No. 1 spot. If somehow you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a man, George Bailey who, at a low point in his life, wishes he had never been born. His guardian angel, Clarence, who is on his own mission to earn his wings, grants his wish and allows George the chance to visit the bleak reality in which the people and places he knows would have never felt his impact. He sees that even though he didn’t think his life meant that much, the change he created was immeasurable. It’s a great story about the importance of a life, and it will forever be hailed as one of the best movies ever made.
Next is Elf, starring the immensely talented Will Ferrell. When I talked to other students at James River about Christmas movie rankings, Elf was a must-add. It is about Buddy the Elf’s adventure to meet his dad and prevent him from being on Santa’s naughty list. Along the way, he learns the he is, in fact, not an elf, and ends up saving Christmas itself. Its clever comedic style mixed with the fun adventure Buddy is sent on makes it a movie staple.
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is a timeless family classic and has been one for generations now, coming out in 1964. It tells the story of Rudolph, a misfit reindeer, who becomes a hero and saves the holiday. Nearly everything about this movie is perfect, from the memorable characters, music, and quotability. It’s a heartwarming story that never seems to get old. Remember, bumbles bounce!
No list would be complete without A Christmas Story, the incredible holiday movie that became a sub-par live TV event. The movie is about Ralphie Parker and his most memorable Christmas with his family. Ralph only wants one thing for this Christmas, but only one thing stands in his way: a saying that every mother has used at least once since the movie came out: “you’ll shoot your eye out!” It’s an unforgettable movie classic that is perfect for any Christmas movie binge.
Lastly is A Charlie Brown Christmas. The beloved series most known for its holiday specials has one of the most famous entries for the Christmas holiday. It follows Charlie Brown and his friends during the buildup to the Christmas season and how Charlie Brown can’t seem to cheer up, despite the happy times ahead, a theme common for the series. He ends up discovering the true meaning of Christmas with the help of his friends, and turns a certain iconic scrawny twig with needles into a big beautiful Christmas tree. It is a family classic that continues to hold the test of time each holiday season.
Narrowing a category as broad as Christmas movies into a list of five definitely means very good ones will be left out. In my honorable mentions section with movies that didn’t quite make the cut is: Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, other animated classics like The Grinch, the Rankin Bass classics like Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and The Year Without a Santa Claus, Scrooged, The Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street, and Die Hard. Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.
In my list of movies that weren’t even close to making the final 5 are The Santa Clause with Tim Allen (and all the Hallmark movies).
Regardless of what your list looks like, I hope you enjoy all of your favorites this holiday season!
Anjali Sharma, 10
If you are anything like at least two thirds of the teenage population, you have probably heard of, known about, watched, or obsessed over the teen mystery drama series, Riverdale. This TV show has had us glued to the TV every Wednesday for almost 2 years and has kept us waiting on the edge of our seats for the newest season, which premiered on October 10, 2018. What many of us have failed to realize is that Riverdale actually evolved into a TV show from a comic book.
These comic books were known as the Archie Comics and were the one of the longest running and most popular comic book series in the comic industry. Presenting a subversive take on the story of Betty, Veronica, Archie and Jughead, Riverdale had stolen the hearts of many of the comic book fans and even those of us who had no knowledge of these spectacular comics.
For those of you who have never seen this hit TV series, it follows the lives of four best friends as they struggle to solve the mysteries and explore the surrealism of their supposedly plain small-town lives. With the addition of a school newspaper, rival gangs, and the lives of their parents being intertwined, the show continues to grow weirder by the episode. This being said, I certainly know what my Wednesday plans will be!
Lily Overby, 9
Have you ever sat on the couch after a stressful day at school and turned on your favorite show? Slowly you get wrapped into the perpetual rotation of watching episode after episode. Before you know it, it’s 10pm and you haven't even started your homework. This has lead me to two questions: Why do people binge watch TV, and is binge-watching bad for your health?
I know I tend to binge-watch when I’m stressed, which adds a distraction, but once it is over I still feel the stress that I did before. Maybe it does relieve stress for a little while, but it won’t fix why you are stressed. So, I don't recommend using binge-watching as a stress reliever. According to a recent study published in the Journal of American Heart Association, people who watch more than the hours of tv a day will have double the risk of premature death.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics conducted a survey that showed an average American spends about 2.7 hours watching TV a day. Netflix also did a survey and found that 61 percent of users regularly watch 2-6 episodes of a show in one sitting. That same survey by Netflix also revealed that 73% of the participants had positive feelings associated with binge-watching. Dr. Renee Carr, a clinical psychologist, says that our body produces dopamine when we do something enjoyable like binge-watching. That is the main reason why people binge-watch, and who doesn't love watching five episodes of their favorite show without leaving the comfort of their couch?
Hannah Jonkers, 12
October marks the beginning of Halloween, a holiday I like to celebrate all fall by watching some good old fashioned horror movies. Personally, it takes a lot to scare me, so my normal after school special could make others sleep with their lights on that night.
To reach out to those who like a spooky thrill ,but don’t want to have nightmares, there is one film that was so phenomenal I saw it in theaters twice. ‘A Quiet Place’ is directed by and stars John Krasinski, accompanied by his wife Emily Blunt, along with two upincoming actors Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe.
This film follows a family after their world is invaded by blind alien-like creatures, but this isn’t your average horror movie. Silence is constantly sounding throughout eighty percent of the movie, so if you are planning on bringing in candy I suggest opening the bags during the trailers.
There is danger around every corner and a persistent queasiness I feel whenever I can’t predict what is about to happen. This doesn’t follow your normal scary movie formula. It is new and refreshing, and if you are looking to get spooked this Halloween then ‘A Quiet Place’ is the movie to see.