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  • Erika Hughes
  • Kindergarten teacher, Chula Vista Elementary School District

Everyone has a “my Christmas movie,” the classic they watch religiously year after year. For me, that film is A Christmas Story.  Watching Ralphie and his family work their way through the Christmas season with equal parts frustration and love feels so real. The tender ending moments mean more because we come by them honestly. I still can’t eat duck at a Chinese restaurant without humming “Deck the Halls” under my breath.  All is right with the world, indeed.

My other pick is Gremlins, simply for Phoebe Cate’s tragic speech about why she hates Christmas. Pure genius.  And as a gal with a father that dresses up like Santa each year, I can relate.  

  • A Christmas Story (USA) 1983, Warner Brothers
  • List price: $24.98
  • Gremlins (USA) 1984, Warner Brothers
  • List price: $14.98

Some stocking-stuffer ideas. I love Bill Withers. After seeing Still Bill, I love him and his records even more because now I know he wrote “Ain’t No Sunshine” and other future number-one hits while working as an airplane mechanic installing toilets on 747s. He never desired to be a famous musician. He just did what made him happy. A fascinating and inspiring portrait. 

Dynamic visuals and a dynamite soundtrack drive Style Wars, billed as “the original hip-hop documentary.” I’m thankful for Tony Silver (director/producer) and Henry Chalfant (producer/photographer), who had the foresight to capture New York’s youth culture movement — that gave birth to graffiti, break-dancing, and DJing and MCing — as it was happening, allowing those of us who couldn’t be there (like me) the chance to witness history from those who created it.

  • Still Bill (USA) 2009, New Video Group
  • List price: $29.98
  • Style Wars (USA)1984, Public Art Films
  • List price: $27.96

Ian Forbes

Film critic and founder, soberingconclusion.com

Rather than go with the obvious — and choosing films that revolve around Christmas itself — I’ve gone with two really fun films that just happen to take place during the holiday season, and both written by Shane Black. Lethal Weapon solidified Mel Gibson’s hold on American audiences before his meltdown.  It defines the buddy-cop genre so often imitated since. It perfectly blends comedy with action.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang allowed Val Kilmer to remind people of his razor-sharp comedic timing, verbally sparring with Robert Downey Jr. (plus, Michelle Monaghan isn’t hard on the eyes).  While it never gained the mass appeal of the Gibson-Glover franchise, this is a small gem that shouldn’t be missed.

  • Lethal Weapon
  • (USA) 1987, Warner Brothers
  • List price: $14.99
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • (USA) 2005, Warner Brothers
  • List price: $19.98
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