Tag Archives: christmas movies

Good Movies on Netflix Right Now

Sometimes I get on Netflix and find nothing, nothing at all among the 8-million titles.  This could be because too many choices causes me mucho brain fog.  Am I alone in this?  I don’t think so…But then some days I am pleasantly surprised at how many great options I see on Netflix.  Even though we actually already own all of them.  :)

Here is a list of 10 great viewing opportunities (streaming) on Netflix right now.  How many have you seen?  How many do you own?

In no particular order.  Watch them all!

You’re welcomed.


Love Actually (2003)

love actually theater poster

It’s  a British Christmas-themed story with dozens of plot twists and at least 27 feel-good endings.  The music is wonderful, the cast is top-notch.  It’s energetic and colorful and even has some sniffly parts.  Sure, I fast-forward through a couple of scenes, but I still hold my breath wondering if her answer will be “Yes would be my answer,” and I annually smile like crazy as the girl in the red coat and flies into the Prime Minister’s arms at the airport {cuteness overload}…more than once!  I like this movie!  “Love actually is ~ all around.”


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Christmas Vacation

Classic family movie and all of my relatives are represented, including Clark Griswold, aka Dave Rhoades!  Another great soundtrack, lots of wry humor and you have to watch it to see  and shake your head over cousin Eddie if nothing else!


Return to Me (2000)

return to me movie poster

Well, first you must know I think Bonnie Hunt, who co-wrote this movie, directed it and plays a great role in it, is pretty much very cool and sort of a genius or something.  I love the Chicago backdrop and Carroll O’Connor’s performance in his final film (he died in 2001).  It is a smallish romantic comedy, a clever storyline, hilarious neighborhood characters played by an extraordinary cast and just a really lovely love story.  Plus?  Such great music – Dean Martin, people!


An Officer and a Gentlemen (1982)

an officer and a gentleman

Well, I mean it is one of the best endings ever.  And I am not talking about all the Richard Gere be-hind shots, either.  Hehe.   Soundtrack!


As Good as it Gets (1997)

as good as it gets poster

Romantic comedy that is just thick with Jack Nicholson’s talent.  He plays a writer with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the tagline, “Brace Yourself for Melvin” is sage advice.  He is simply abrasive and horrible and yet somehow redeemable.  The film is filled with quotables – almost always said by Jack Nicholson.  Of course.


Big Night (1996)

big night movie poster

Set in the 1950s, Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci play immigrant Italian brothers who own and operate a failing restaurant.  It is beautiful to look at and the food, oh the food…get yourself a plate of spaghetti while you watch.  And plan to join them for the magnificent timpano feast on a sparkly dress-up night.  Stormie has made it for our family {see it here}.


The Breakfast Club (1985)

The breakfast club movie

One of the best of the 1980s coming-of-age movies.  It’s one day in the life of 5 kids in high school detention finding out that they are more alike than different.  “Don’t you forget about me, don’t don’t don’t don’t…”


A Room with a View (1986)

a room with a view 1986

Some days you just need a cup of hot tea and a Merchant-Ivory film.  It’s an adaptation of an early 1900s novel.  It is loveliness.  “Feign to deny it.”


Far and Away (1992)

far and away movie

The fabulous Ron Howard directed this awesome historical-drama-adventureous-romance starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.  It’s a story of Irish immigrants seeking great fortunes in America culminating in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1893.  I haven’t watched this in years, but I love stories of the immigration-era (when dreams and hopes were high) and the formerly-marrieds have great chemistry in it.


Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (1954)

irving berlins white christmas poster

Seriously?  You’ve seen this, right?  Because it has everything, every-thing: music, romance, incredible sets, choreography, snow, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, counting your blessings, a black dress to die for, the hilarious Danny Kaye and Christmas by the truckloads.  Watch it with the volume up and God bless America! “Snow, snow, snow, snow ~ Snowwwwww”

This is like – 20 hours of great movie time for free!   Well, free if you already have Netflix, anyway.  :)

P.S.  As I look back over the list, I’d give most of these 4 out of 5 stars, but two of them would get the coveted 5 stars from moi…do you know which ones???

12 Great John Hughes Movies 12 Days Before Christmas

My Top Twelve (or 13)~

2008_john_hughes_film_fesival_armijo_movies 2008_john_hughes_film_fesival_armijo

  1. Christmas Vacation  “Eddie?…Eddie?!…Eddie?!?…If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised.”  C-l-a-s-s-i-c!  A must-watch every Christmas and I watched it last night – which is what made me think about John Hughes, the movie-maker.
  2. Sixteen Candles “By night’s end I predict me and her will interface.”  One of the most-quoted movies for our family.  “Fresh breath is a priority in my life.”
  3. The Breakfast Club ~ “Don’t you forget about me, don’t don’t don’t…”
  4. Planes, Trains and Automobiles   “Every time you go away, you take a piece of me with you…”  LOVE that song and that scene!
  5. Miracle on 34th Street (1994 version) ~ Though I am not a fan of remaking certain amazingly beautiful classics, and this would be one of those, he did do a colorful update and I cannot resist that sweet little Mara Wilson and the final scene in the gorgeous “catalog house”.  It is a feast for the eyes.
  6. Home Alone and  (6 1/2.) Home Alone 2: Christmas in New York ~ I’d be over these by now if I hadn’t ended up having very resourceful grandsons.  They could so pull this off!
  7. Uncle Buck~ My mom l-o-v-e-s this movie and John Candy is pretty irresistible.
  8. Some Kind of Wonderful ~ Which quote?  “You should consider whether or not you feel you can deliver the kiss that kills.”  Or: “You look good wearing my future.”
  9. Maid in Manhattan(writer) ~ Tagline:  This Christmas, love checks in,” plus Norah Jones on the soundtrack!
  10. Only the Lonely ~ The man (John Candy) a cop.  The woman – a lonely, shy funeral home worker. The mother, an overbearing, domineering woman who wants her son’s undivided loyalty.  Sweet.
  11. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
  12. Pretty in Pink ~ “May I admire you again today?”


John Hughes.

He practically single handedly created the 1980’s “Brat Pack,” he wrote the teen-age angst of that time.  He portrayed the “average kid” with superior skill.  He captured the north-of-Chicago neighborhood as the great American hometown with wide, tree-lined streets and big warm-looking houses. He perfected the sights and sounds of chaotic family gatherings with multi-generational conversation going on.  He put the right songs in the right scenes, dealt gently with the less-than-beautiful in love, graced movie-goers with believable, flawed, but good-hearted characters.  We saw friendship develop, the underdog find love, Molly Ringwald become “the quintessential,” and Saint Bernards take over a household (the “Beethoven” movies, not listed above).

In a few short years, primarily through the 1980’s, the guy gave us great movies.  In 1991, disillusioned with Hollywood standards and extreme leftist thinking, he became a voting Republican and Illinois farmer and checked out of it all, only to write under a pseudonym.  He died in August of this year at 59.  I can’t help but think of him, especially at Christmas, because of how well and how beautifully he paid homage to Christmas in several of his films.  And how brilliantly he did it in “Christmas Vacation.”


25 Days Until You-Know-What!

Christmas in Connecticut

I watched the old, crisp-black-and-white, 1945 “Christmas in Connecticut” last night, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Dennis Morgan.  It is official.  I am into Christmas.  And I LOVE this movie (I have for almost 30 years, now).


Elizabeth Lane

Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a writer for a homemaking magazine, and just seeing it again last night made me laugh at myself, for I think I truly have emulated her food-writing style.  It obviously has impacted my romanticism in regards to writing about the “homely arts.”   She is gorgeous and tough, she is smart and sassy.  She is self-sufficient and alluring.  She absolutely sparkles in this sweet and silly old movie. 

And the fur coat?  I have it!  I actually bought the exact same style of coat (made in the 40s) at an antique shop in Sioux City, Iowa in 1987.  I want to be Elizabeth Lane!

christmas-in-connecticut1 barbara

I’m wishin’ that I may

I’m wishin’ that I might

Have the wish that I wish for tonight

Spoiler Alert…may give away some things (hopefully just makes you want to see it)

In the movie she is a city-girl journalist who can’t even boil water, but is forced to play farm wife and mother for her boss who doesn’t know her writing isn’t actually from a farm in Connecticut.  Barbara Stanwyck is elegantly charming and totally lovable enlisting help from the men her life to pull this off: the horribly pretentious, prissy bore of an architect she is engaged to marry and Uncle Felix, the restaurant owner from whom she gets all her recipe copy.  They set out to create the “Elizabeth Lane” persona for her boss, who has invited a war-hero sailor to spend Christmas with them at the farm.

When the hunky sailor shows up, the usually-cool Elizabeth knows she has met her match.

 I adore the script-

Nora:  I’ve never flipped in me life and I’m not gonna start flippin’ now for no man.

Felix:  Nobody needs a mink coat but the mink!

Elizabeth Lane(about her boss):  Every time I opened my mouth, he talked.  I felt like Charlie McCarthy.

And watch for the “Christmas-card” scene.  You know, like in “Holiday Inn,” and “White Christmas?”  There is a moment when they take you to the Connecticut farm and it is snowy and there are sleigh bells and suddenly your heart is just pulled in to the story: this is what every Christmas should be, you feel, as the music rises majestically and you are magically transported to the fire-y hearth and can practically smell the good old Irish stew simmering from the kitchen…

christmas-in-connecticut-house-in-snow 25colct

It’s lighthearted, totally silly, borrowed babies, fake marriages, a nosy and overpowering magazine publisher, a little farcical and one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies.  The really talented cast manages to create some well-defined and lovable characters.  I am telling you, suspend some disbelief and just enjoy a “Christmas in Connecticut.”  It’ll make you smile.  And then we can talk more about it when I won’t be ruining it for you!

The 1945 Trailer

See?  I mean, come on!

P.S.  Believe me when I tell you that the early 90’s remake (Arnold Schwartzeneggar’s directorial debut, I think) was not nearly as wonderful, but it does have the beautiful Dyan Cannon – so that is something, I guess.

Mr. Christmas

I love my Dave.  And he loves Christmas. 

For 28 Christmases now, he has worked hard, planned, created, wrapped, shopped, baked, played, decorated and done whatever else is necessary to create a magical, love-filled, memory-made Christmas for our family.  Christmas mornings at our house are legendary feasts of extravagant indulgence and convivial love banquets of gifts and good smells and laughter and mountains of giftwrap and the music of Christmas and the love of the most incredible husband-father-grandfather.  It isn’t about the money spent, for often there has been precious-little of that, but it’s the thoughtful generosity of spirit, gifts that remind the recipient: you are loved, cherished and appreciated-this is my token of that.  But – wrap all of that in a huge Christmas bow and you have the gift of the season that my husband puts much great effort in to.

You are the original Clark Griswold, honey.  You are George Bailey and Father O’Malley ringing the bells of Christmas.  You are my handsome Jefferson Jones, my lover by tree-light.  You are Kris Kringle and Santa Claus.  You are the man described in “Holiday Inn” in the exchange between Jim Hardy and Miss Linda Mason (Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds).

Linda:  You’re a lot like my father – just a man with a family.  Never amounted to much, never really cared.  But as long as he was alive, we had food to eat and clothes to keep us warm.

Jim:  Were you happy?

Linda:  Very.

Jim:  Well, then your father was a successful man.  I hope I can do as well.

Yes, baby, you are Mr. Christmas.  I love that you are.  I love that you are ever-committed to making merry for all.  I am smiling at how excited you are to be organizing the decorations – getting ready to haul them out in mere days.  You know where everything is and you’re planning, with a twinkle in your eye, to give us yet another wonderful Christmas.

As the Carpenters once sang: Merry Christmas, Darling…Jeanie

From Dickens’ A Christmas Carol~

“…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.  May that truly be said of us, all of us!  And so, as Tiny Tim observed, ‘God bless us, Every One!'”

NOTE TO SELF: Love the Christmas keeper.

characters above from some of our favorite Christmas movies, including: Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bells of Saint Mary’s, Christmas in Connecticut, Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn

pictured: sweet daughter, Stormie did the graphic for me, from a photo of Dave and a Bing Crosby album.