'Tis the season, for at least three Christmas movies
As hectic as the holidays can be for many people, there still is an inherent desire to make time to soak in the joy offered by Christmas movies, according to one local movie fan.
The holidays just wouldn't be the same without watching "at least three" Christmas-themed movies, says Christian Patterson.
"Truth be told, I could never imagine enjoying the Christmas season without watching 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,'" he said. "With 'It's a Wonderful Life,' you have the story of George Bailey, who was played perfectly by Jimmy Stewart.
"Anyway, an angel is sent from Heaven to help George Bailey, and it's a moving story," Patterson added. "It would be just weird to go through all of December without watching those movies. Those movies are a tradition that I look forward to each year."
Also viewed as a December tradition is director Timothy Reckart's animated movie, "The Star," which was released in 2017 and features the voices of "a fun, eclectic cast," said Glenda Bennett of Fort Smith. The voices of Keegan-Michael Key, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Yeun, Aidy Bryant, Tyler Perry, Kristin Chenoweth, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Patricia Heaton, Joel Osteen and Tracy Morgan are heard in the family friendly film, adding charm to an already impressive movie, she said.
"I know 'The Star' isn't as popular as some of the other holiday movies people talk about, but it's a movie that had a profound impact on me," Bennett said. "Our whole family watched it twice in the movie theater, and of course, we bought the video later."
At the center of "The Star" is a small, brave donkey, who joins friends and sets out to be a part of the first-ever Christmas.
"Parts of the movie are silly and fun, but you'll also see other moments where it's like, 'Wow,'" Bennett said. "I went into 'The Star' not really knowing what to expect, and was surprised. I still find 'The Star' to be really, really powerful."
For years, TNT, and then later, TBS, aired "A Christmas Story" continuously for 24 hours beginning on Christmas eve. The 1983 movie stars Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, a 9-year-old boy who longs to own a Red Ryder BB gun, despite the claims from his parents (Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin) that he'll only shoot his eye out.
"I just think that's a funny movie, and my family has been known to have it play on the TV for that 24-hour marathon," said Kathie Holmes of Fort Smith. "I know several friends who aren't as crazy about 'A Christmas Story' as I am, but to me, the movie is kind of comforting.
"I've seen the movie so many times that I can recite most of the lines," she added with a laugh. "I guess you could say that 'A Christmas Story' is sort of comforting - well, at least for me - in that way."
"You could make a very strong argument that movies that are set during Christmas and/or have strong Christmas themes are comforting for a lot of different people," he said. "Christmas time is a happy time for people. It's the end of the year, and it's a time to celebrate and spend time with people who are important in your life.
"With so much of life being unpredictable, it's a bit soothing for some to sit down and decompress," Patterson added. "For those people, a Christmas movie seems more like an old friend they want to spend time with, rather than one more chore or responsibility they have to do."
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