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There are only so many times I can take my 7-year-old to the theater to see "Frozen," the latest holiday hit offered by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Much to her great anguish, that limit is firmly set at two.
There are a couple of factors involved with my
reticence: 1) I don’t want to leave the house, and 2) I don’t want to
spend $30 for each viewing.
So we're diving into Netflix: Here are nine movies we plan to screen at home over winter
break, with and without the kids:
1. "The Fitzgerald Family Christmas." Ed Burns and Connie Britton together again? I'm in, no questions asked. (Imagine if Burns had cast Britton as his love interest in The Brothers McMullen instead of former girlfriend Maxine Bahns? Whole. Different. Movie.) Caitlin FitzGerald and Ed Lauter are also great here. It's a shame this gets lumped in with lesser holiday movies. -KOC
2. "Santa Claus." This is the 1985 movie with Dudley Moore. That’s really all that needs to be said. -CC
3. "Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker." This is a recommendation from a friend. "It's a little spooky, and has sets by Maurice Sendak!" -KOC
1. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Yes, yes this has nothing to do with the holidays per se, but you can't pass up this chance to introduce your older kids or nieces and nephews to the essential 1980s film canon. Netflix has some stellar ones streaming right now. (See also, "The Breakfast Club") This movie should be required viewing in today's overheated academic environment. We can all be a little more like Ferris: "The question isn't 'What are we going to do,' the question is 'What aren't we going to do?'" -KOC
2. "Big Top Pee-Wee." This is the sequel to Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. I wish the first one was available on Netflix, but it’s still Pee-Wee. -CC
3. "Time Bandits." With Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, this movie also serves as a gateway to Monty Python. -CC
4. "The IT Crowd." This is hands-down my favorite Netflix hidden gem. If you are completely stressed over anything holiday-related, put on some headphones, grab the laptop or tablet and binge on this British import until your relatives (or kids) tell you to stop laughing so loudly. Pure, remarkably well-crafted silliness. Bonus: You get to say you discovered Chris O'Dowd long before he showed up in Bridesmaids or HBO's Girls. -KOC
5. "Duck Soup." I’m not holding my breath that my kids will be sucked into the genius of The Marx Brothers. They aren’t accustomed to the limits of 1933 cinematography. But I’d be remiss as a parent if I didn’t try. If your family is mature enough to give it 15 minutes, you'll be sucked in for good. -CC
6. Now let's tackle that holiday movie elephant on the screen: "Love Actually." It's a terrible movie. Even its fans can tell you that. I'll never be able to critique it quite like this hilarious dressing down, but I also know I've seen plenty worse. (And it will absolutely be better than "Elf Bowling: The Movie.") Worth it, but be warned: It does not bear a second-viewing well. -KOC
P.S. Amazon has "The Holiday" for a $2.99 rental. The only movie that will make you want to spend the holidays alone in a freezing English cottage!
Do you have
recommendations for old movies to share with kids? Tell us in the comments or
in a blog post.