Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Professor Severus Snape and the dad from Family Matters at their best. This is the one I like to kick off the season with, you know get your toes wet before you jump in the pool.
Gremlins, oh, Gizmo, you are the cutest thing on the planet and I still ask santa for you every year. I have always enjoyed a little campy goodness, and this, is just that at its best. But I actually really love this movie. I first saw it when I was about 8 years old and when little gizmo says "bye billy" at the end I still can't help but cry a little bit and yell "don't let him go Billy, you dummy, stop them!!" The 8 year old girl in me still believes the ending will somehow change each time I see it and Gizmo and Billy will never part (and never go near water ever again).
If you actually watch It's a Wonderful Life from start to finish you see a few things: Jimmy Stewart is a most excellent actor, the writing is witty and cheeky and moving and dark and reflective and phenomenal. Each year that I actually commit to setting down and watching this movie in its entirety, and not half watching while multi-tasking, I cry like a little tiny baby at the end.
Elf happens to be one movie that I can watch over and over and over - like back to back over. I laugh at the same things with equal gusto and it never gets old to me. Normally, I literally can't remember what happened in a movie five minutes after it's over and still I rarely will re-watch a movie, But Elf? Bring. It. On. I don't understand how this movie never gets old to me but it doesn't and I feel no shame. None. I might feel slightly ashamed to admit that I have been known to get choked up in this one too.
A couple years ago I took my Fisher to see the play version of A Christmas Story, I wasn't sure what to expect as I love this movie so much but in the end I wish I could make that a yearly tradition too (in addition to the 24 hour marathon on cable of course). You can't not love this movie.
Christmas Vacation: I watch this every year while wrapping presents it's imprinted on my memory to this exactly the same every year and I can't help it, which is fine by me because I love this one too.
The Family Stone: Honestly, I love this movie and watch it every year, maybe twice. Last year I bought a copy because the year before, though I searched daily, I couldn't find it on tv and it was then I realized it had made it to my must-watch list. It has Clare Danes and Diane Keaton and Luke Wilson and the guy from Coach! And, yep, this one makes me cry too.
Love Actually: Well. Of course this is on my list.
This is the grande finale that I wait until Christmas eve night to enjoy, after I put out all the gifts and the cookies and I have a fire going and a cozy blanket; that's when I pop in A Christmas Carol (with Alastair Sim). It has to be the 1951 version with Alastair Sim because it's by far the best. It's also hard to find so my back up happens to be Mickey's Christmas Carol - don't judge. This is my favorite Christmas movie, in fact, it is one of my favorite books and stories ever told (i also try to read the book in december too). The regret, redemption, self-reflection, opening of the heart and mind, forgiveness, generosity, it moves me every single time. It's beautiful and sweeping and I don't think any one thing expresses all the magic that Christmas can offer quite as this story does.
Little Women: My grandmother always watched this during the holidays and if I see it on I watch it too, of course I love the old version with Katharine Hepburn, probably because it was my grandmothers favorite one.
Frozen River: definitely not a christmasy movie, but it's so good and I love Milissa Leo. I also have some weird issue where I just can't watch any movies where the setting is at christmastime at any other time of the year but christmas, so if I want to re-watch this one, it's got to be in December.
Joyeux Noel: When I can settle down enough during this busy month to read subtitles and force myself to not multi-task this is first on my list.
What are your favorites?