1) What Christmas program/movie have you seen more times than any other?
That’s probably a tie between Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story. Both are watched multiple times per season in our household, and quoted endlessly throughout the year. It’s not really Christmas until Cousin Eddie pulls up to Clark’s in the tenement on wheels and that darn “icicle” breaks Ralphie's glasses.
|Who can forget Cousin Eddie?|
Honestly, I just adore Christmas programming in general. Everything from classic movies like Christmas in Connecticut or a The Bishop’s Wife, to modern releases like The Polar Express and Love, Actually, to just about every TV Christmas movie Lifetime, Hallmark, UP, et. al. produce. Animated specials, Christmas-themed episodes of our favorite shows. We love, and watch, them all!
2) What is your favorite musical Christmas TV special, variety performance, or holiday song in a movie?
This is a tough one, because there are so many. For a single song, I’d have to say that the Heat Miser/Snow Miser song from The Year Without a Santa Claus is one that’s impossible not to sing along with, but there are so many specials I remember from my own childhood that I’ve got great joy from sharing with my own children. It’s just not Christmas without watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Chipmunk Christmas and Frosty the Snowman. I remember watching those with my own parents, and hope my kids will someday be watching them with their own little ones, too. There are so many great ones, old and new, and we have so many on DVD and record others as they air on our DVR, that we actually try to watch an animated special as a family every single night from Thanksgiving through Christmas, with the Grinch always being our final hurrah on Christmas morning.
3) What's your favorite TV or movie adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol?
It’s a tie between the kid friendly, yet classic take of the Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Bill Murray’s irreverent, but ultimately good-hearted portrayal, in Scrooged. As an off beat pick, I have a weird affinity for Tom Everett Scott’s TV-movie, Karoll’s Christmas, which I find myself watching almost every year.
4) What do you think is the worst Christmas program/movie--or your least favorite, the most disappointing or most overrated?
I think it’s hugely disappointing that they attempted to make a sequel of A Christmas Story; the unimaginatively titled A Christmas Story 2. I admit I haven’t seen it, but the universally dismal reviews it’s received pretty much confirmed what I already guessed.
As a “bonus” answer to a question you didn’t ask, I think there are a lot of very UNDERRATED Christmas movies and specials that deserve to be classics, but aren’t. Our family loves The Happy Elf starring Harry Connick Jr.; Olive the Other Reindeer, starring Drew Barrymore; Robbie the Reindeer, starring Hugh Grant and all of Disney’s Prep and Landing adventures. I think every one deserves to be far better known. I’d also add the British movie Nativity!, which we discovered last year, which is not only funny and touching, but features some amazing original music, and the also-UK-themed Arthur Christmas. Both are delightful family films many have never seen.
5) If you were asked to give advice to a TV network executive in charge of holiday programming, what would you suggest?
Really, just more. More original Christmas programming. Airing more classic Christmas specials, movies and episodes. Not all will be gems, but everyone has their favorites, and it is so nice to have that variety. It also obviously works. Look at ABC’s “Great Christmas Light Fight” the last two years, which is low-cost programming that got very good ratings for December. Hallmark Channel, UP and ABC Family all get their best ratings of the year with their dedicated Christmas programming, so the demand is definitely out there.