Rachael Nisenkier

I have only repeated two movies since last year, even though it’s been very tempting to pull out some old favorites (I miss you, Elf! See you next year!). Those two repeats were my essential movies. Every year, the Christmas season begins with Love, Actually, and ends when my whole family gets together to watch […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

What if angels were real, and one of them wanted to bang your wife? Also… what if he looked like Cary Grant? For my second to last Christmas movie, I wanted something I knew nothing about. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted… well… Cary Grant. In The Bishop’s Wife, Grant plays Dudley, an angel […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

As I sit down to take in the perennially marathoned A Christmas Story, I realize that I don’t believe I’ve ever actually sat down and watched A Christmas Story before. Normally, it is on the TV in the other room all day Christmas day, and when sullen child/teenager Rachael got bored of hanging out with […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

These days, it is simply accepted that Adam Sandler movies are going to be difficult to watch and yet increasingly generic. He’s made a very comfortable living by continually playing to the lowest common denominator, whether it’s through paint-by-numbers romantic or over-the-top absurdist comedies. But there was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when it […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

NOTE: It’s hard being Jewish at Christmas time, but nothing is quite as difficult as dealing with the complete dearth of Hannukah movies. In trying to put the “mukkah” into the 24 days of Christmas, I decided I needed at least two Hannukah offerings. Unfortunately, 8 Crazy Nights is the only one that even exists, […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

One of my non-obnoxious Film Studies TAs was struggling to explain to us the basics of plot. We were first year film students, dying to do avante-garde and unique things, and the idea of using standard structural elements to construct our opuses felt confining and uncomfortably like selling out. Then, she walks in one day […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

As a regular movie, Rent doesn’t exactly have classic status. With Chris Columbus’ stagey direction and lack of personal voice, Rent isn’t even a particularly good adaptation of the Broadway musical from which it’s based. The actors are all too old for their parts. The film lacks cinematic urgency. And the once-cutting-edge play about a group […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

To say that A Charlie Brown Christmas is melancholy is not exactly a news flash, but it’s nonetheless affecting. From the first chords of Vince Guaraldi, you’re 100% into the existential despair that Charlie Brown finds himself in. It’s sort of strangely appropriate that I find myself watching a movie all about finding the meaning […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

Aside from listening to the Bing Crosby tune “White Christmas,” I really knew nothing about the 1954 classic film by the same name. For example, I didn’t know it was a musical, didn’t know it starred Bing Crosby, had no idea it took place in a snow-less Vermont, and didn’t know it was in goofy […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

Now that’s more like it. From the first frames of Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (fake newsreel footage of kids trying to get ready for the arrival of Santa Claus), I was sold. It’s filled with lush claymation landscapes, witty songs, a surprisingly complicated original plot, and themes that range from trying to be […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

The second of our classic animation trifecta is Frosty. Shorter and less revolutionary than its reindeer brethren, Frosty looks less like Coraline and more like a classic Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. A bunch of kids get together after school on the day before Christmas to make a snowman. A magician’s magic (and very argumentative) hat […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

Ah, claymation. The most sacred purview of Christmas movies. The next few installments of the 24 Days of Christmas will be going through the Christmas classics of the claymated and classically animated variety: Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. First, to Rudolph. Narrated by Sam, the talking Snow Man, Rudolph starts with the […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

Another new Christmas movie for me! Although I’ve seen the animated version more times than you can shake a stick at*, and have read the book pretty consistently since childhood, I was full of enough Jim Carrey-fatigue by the time the live action version of Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas showed up that up […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

Before this project, I had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, a fact that inevitably elicited gasps from whomever I told it. It’s a classic, sure, but like most of the pre-Community Chevy Chase oeuvre, I somehow missed it. So it was with great joy that I undertook the task of partaking for the first […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

Stephen Spielberg! Christmas! Furry creatures that turn into murdering beasts! It’s a Rachael Christmassmorgasborg! Oh lord in Heaven, had I forgotten how much I love Gremlins. This 24 Days of movies project has been immensely rewarding, but nothing quite prepared me for the rewards of rewatching Gremlins as an adult. From the cheesy pseudo-noir opening […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

I chose the black and white 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street not because of some pretentious need to see the original, but because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. I know I’ve seen the Matilda version at some point in time, so I’m much more interested in seeing how the 1947 […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

I’m sure I’ve seen The Nightmare Before Christmas at least three or four times in my lifetime, yet it’s never been one of my Christmas movies. I think maybe I seceded it to the goth kids shopping at Hot Topics in high school, and just never bothered to take it back. So it is that […]

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is definitely one of my all time favorite holiday movies. The story is of a criminal (Robert Downey Jr.) who, through a series of misadventures ends up being groomed to play a Private Eye for a Hollywood movie, and gets caught up in a real life film noir involving a murdered […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

The Holiday, in many ways, is exactly what people are complaining about when they bemoan the death of the modern romantic comedy. It is about to unlucky in love women who swap houses for the Christmas holiday and subsequently meet new men and have their lives change. Along the way, the women flop about, drink […]

Today I indulged in a double feature of movies that I have always associated with Christmas, even if they’re not the typical type that grace best of Christmas lists. But both of the following films have famous climactic scenes that take place during the Christmas holiday and that wouldn’t have the same poignancy without their […]

So far I’ve dealt only with Christmas movies that I’ve loved. This installment is one that kind of takes me aback a little bit when I watch it: The Family Stone. If you don’t remember The Family Stone, or if it doesnt grace your beloved Christmas-movies list, I don’t blame ya. It came out in […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

The second movie in our holiday-viewing docket is Elf, another new classic. At once heartfelt and hilarious, Elf consciously conjures up a childish sense of wonder while playing to an audience that ranges from the littlest tykes to middle aged Will Ferrell fans. The story of Buddy the 6+ ft elf is a unique one […]

  Rachael Nisenkier

For Christmas movies. The “Holiday” season has never really begun for me until I allow myself to slip into the pop culture cocoon of movies, tv shows, and music specifically designed to activate the heart tingling part of us all that wants to give ourselves over to childish optimism. And nothing is quite as essential […]