The holiday season is not only for family gatherings over extended meals, but also to catch up on films that you missed or would like to see again. There are a large number of movies with feel-good Christmas themes, but watch-lists also include many across genres. This is a perfect time to binge-watch, when much of the Western world is supposed to grind to a halt, but that is unlikely to happen this time, with the virus lurking around — all the more reason to stay indoors and curl up before the screen.
Home Alone (1990)
One of the biggest comedies of all time, the film turned Macaulay Culkin into a Hollywood megastar. Kevin, 8, accidentally ruins a family dinner the night before they fly to Paris for a holiday over the Christmas break. He is punished by being made to sleep in the attic for the night. Overnight, a storm causes a power outage and the family wake up late for the airport. In their rush to leave they head off without him. Kevin is overjoyed that his family is gone, but soon has to deal with two burglars. He rigs the house with booby traps, leading to much chaos when the burglars try to break in.
Some find the plot predictable, but the lighthearted romantic comedy that switches between Britain and America fits in with the holiday season. Two women, one (Cameron Diaz) from America and one (Kate Winslet) from Britain, swap homes at Christmas time after bad breakups with boyfriends. Each woman finds romance with a local man (Jude Law, Jack Black) but realises that their imminent return home may end the relationship. The British scenes were shot in Surrey and the beautiful exterior of Winslet’s cottage was constructed in a field in the sleepy village of Shere.
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Starring Diane Lane, the romcom is based in Frances Mayes’ memoir of the same name. It reflects the trend of rebooting one’s life by relocating to different countries or switching careers or partners. Lane portrays a recently divorced writer who buys a decrepit villa in Tuscany on a whim, goes about renovating it and in the process finds several life-sustaining people and situations.
A sinister adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843), miserly banker Ebeneezer Scrooge (Alastair Sim) is shown the error of his ways and the true meaning of Christmas spirit. The film figures in most Christmas lists. The cast includes old-school actors such as Hattie Jacques, Patrick and George Cole, with character actor Peter Bull featuring as the narrator, reading portions of Dickens’ words at the beginning and end of the film.
Kipchoge: The Last Milestone (2021)
The Sky documentary follows the iconic Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge and the events leading up to the Ineos 1:59 Challenge that saw him breaking the two-hour mark for running the marathon distance in Vienna in October 2019. Often described as the greatest marathoner of the modern era, Kipchoge, 37, seems to defy science by challenging the limits that are beyond the reach of the fittest runners. His inspiring credo is ‘No human is limited’, which is also the title of his memoir, due to be published in March, 2022.
You naturally suspend belief, logic and reason when all you want is a relaxing, mind-numbing time — and no one does it better than Bollywood. Always up to watch repeats, my favourites: Gol Maal (the Amol Palekar-Utpal Dutt one), Andaz Apna Apna, Angoor, Chashme Baddoor, Chupke Chupke, Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Aapke Hai Koun…! (I know, but mostly for La Dixit), Dil Chahta Hai, Shala (Marathi), Bhuierantlo Munis (Konkani), most of Govinda-Raveen Tandon and Govinda-Karisma Kapoor films, Bawarchi, Teesri Kasam, Padosan. The list is actually long, and the bonus is that most of them have fun songs.
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