By The Writers of Lens Flared
This winter, the contributors of Lens Flared put together a list of our favorite movies for the coldest time of year. Whether you're looking for a post-Christmas dinner movie recommendation or just want to know how we like to celebrate the holidays, click the link to find out more!
Planes Trains And
Technically while it is a Thanksgiving film, the holiday it centers around is not as important as the overall feelings you walk away with. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is so much about family and goodwill that it hurts. There are excellent performances from both John Candy and Steve Martin. Steve Martin is the perfect mix of frantic holiday traveler and frazzled family man to be relatable and likable. John Candy is just the right amount of annoying and sweet to a fault to be endearing. The film kicks around between unfortunate circumstances and outlandish situations that are played with enough humor and believability to be entertaining and well worth a second… third … fourth viewing. This film has it all; heart, humor, and all the good and bad of the holiday season.
Trading Places is anything but a traditional or conventional holiday film but frankly that’s what makes it stand out. It stars eighties comedy legends Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy with a splash of Jamie Lee Curtis for good measure. It's over the top but never boring. It’s crude and raunchy but not anymore so than the lowbrow comedies nowadays. It seems almost tame in comparison. Still, despite the choice of subject matter and questionable ethics of the characters it still dulls out the themes of the season in full force; goodwill towards your fellow man, appreciation of what you have, and spreading of wealth be it through money, joy, or mutual respect. Fortunately, it’s a wild ride from start to finish and not yet another cheesy feel good holiday flick.
Movies based around Christmas like to take us to the best and brightest times to warm our hearts. However, I am of the opinion that you can't understand the real meaning of the holiday without knowing the impact it can make in the darkest of situations. Joyeux Noel tells the (mostly) true story of the 1914 Christmas truce. Soldiers from Scotland, France, and German who had been waging ceaseless war on each other for weeks come to an arrangment; for one day and night in honor of the holiday, the fighting would stop and the three armies would celebrate together in peace. There are few time periods as bitter and dark for humanity as World War 1, and the way the soldiers learn to connect across political, social, and linguistic lines as well as the drama of what happens when they're ordered to fire on the same people they shared a meal with the day before makes this an emotional - and in my view, necessary - reminder of what's important, both in times of peace and in times of world-shattering conflict.
A Christmas Carol
It’s a bit of a cop-out but basically any adaptation of A Christmas Carol from Scrooged to The Muppet Christmas Carol. It's a classic Charles Dickens story that works in any era. It’s a tale that speaks of greed and charity without being too ham-fisted. Regardless of the vision, it’s an emotional journey watching an old cold hearted man open himself back up to love. However, if I was to speak to a specific adaptation I would praise The Muppet Christmas Carol. Yes, it may seem like a strange choice with all the adaptations out there. Still, The Muppet Christmas Carol has the most unique art style for each ghost and frankly a still very unsettling Ghost of Christmas Future. It has catchy songs that are appropriate for each section, as well as, the best balance of atmospheres. You can’t go wrong with this timeless Christmas tale no matter the version you choose.
was started in 2015 as a collection of thoughts about film. After a four year hiatus, it is back with some new thoughts and new contributors. Please check out our archives of past reviews and follow our social media to see new content.