From ours to yours: A holiday movie marathon proposal

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To many people's surprise, "Die Hard" actually qualifies as a Christmas movie. Screencap from 20TH CENTURY FOX

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — The holidays are coming and so are family and friends near and far. As they all swoop in and blend into one hurricane of merriment, keep in mind that the holiday season is a wonderful time to reconnect and check in with our loved ones. The year that's about to end has been weird, to say the least. The world went through a lot in 2019 and this coming string of holidays may be the perfect time to regroup and reassure the people in our lives that 2020 will be as clear as its name implies.

What better way to help the situation than a movie marathon? Imagine it: a family going through the familiar, warm sentimental machinations of a movie, faces lit with smiles and the TV screen. The holiday tableau from the kitchen is sending to the living room a herald of yuletide staples: sweet-glazed ham, leche flan, and tart Christmas cheese. Beer is clinking a bit early in the evening, but it's okay: it's the holiday break. So here’s a list of movies that conjure a strong sense of nostalgia — nostalgia for years weren’t as crazy or as incomprehensible — but more importantly, these are enduring films that might help get the family in one room.


1. “Stand By Me”

“Stand by Me” is a coming-of-age film that you might remember from the late '80s. Like most movies from the genre, it’s a group of boys embarking on an adventure, and of course they find some dark, absorbing secret that indelibly marks their friendship. “Stand By Me” delves deeper into its characters and their relationships, both friends and family. The plot of the film strives to color-in the gaps of childhood discontent and angst, making it a meaty drama that’s worth the sit-down with the family.


2. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Representing the realm of happy endings and high-school shenanigans is “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” The movie springs from the pages of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story” by Cameron Crowe, and the adaptation furnishes the textual musings and observations of the author with high school kids navigating hormones, troubles, and other forks in their lives. It’s worth a re-watch for the comedy, but stay for the mugs of Nicolas Cage, Sean Penn, and Forest Whitaker before they were famous.

Screencap from 20TH CENTURY FOX

3. “Die Hard”

After years of debate, it’s finally settled: “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie — heist, C4 explosions, and body count aside. But it’s so much more than that: “Die Hard” cemented Bruce Willis reputation as an action star. The movie was a worldwide hit and is a mainstay pop culture reference. “Die Hard” has everything and is everything: an action film set in the middle of Christmas festivities so if you think the holiday season is too peaceful and the nights are too silent, take the family on an adrenaline-drenched ride, and don’t forget to dust off the subwoofers because it’s going to be a blast.

Screencap from WARNER BROTHERS

4. “The NeverEnding Story”

“The NeverEnding Story” was always a treat whenever it was shown on TV, partly because the '80s and '90s kids didn’t check schedules and Netflix didn’t exist yet, and partly because the movie is a magical ride like no other. Who can forget about Falkor the magical dragon, surfing the milky skies of Fantasia? This is why the story needs to be revisited: the adventure and magic never really went away. “The NeverEnding Story” was among the few good fantasy stories that told the battle of good versus evil in a faraway land in such a distinct way, blending creatures that became iconic and so instantly recognizable that they could send one to a state of nostalgia just by the sight of them. It’s still well-loved by many and maybe the young ones in the family need to make pilgrimage to Fantasia as well.


5. “Death Becomes Her”

Where do we even begin to describe one of the campiest films in cinema? Meryl Streep as a gold-digging has-been? Goldie Hawn in a fat suit, shoving ice cream down her gullet? Isabella Rossellini doing witchcraft? All three actresses and the maelstrom of ridiculous events that ensue in the movie is sure to get more than a few laughs. There are also the glamorous outfits and hypnotizing presence of Miss Rossellini, of course, but the death scenes really take the cake. They don’t make films like this anymore, so you better sit the family down and get the kids, too!

Screencap from WARNER BROTHERS

6. “Space Jam”

Before the now-inescapable gigantic Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Space Jam” was the boldest crossover ever to hit. It brought all kids and adults (basketball fans and otherwise). It might have been even a bigger deal than the actual moon landing, if you think about it: basketball superstar Michael Jordan (then the biggest name in sports) and the cast of Looney Tunes (including Bugs Bunny!) on the court, shooting hoops! The largeness of this crossover needs a revisit, and thus a must-watch for everyone. Its might also be a good time to watch the film again, now with kids in tow, before the sequel, scheduled to be released in 2021.

Screencap from DISNEY

7. “The Lion King”

The menagerie of dynamic musical numbers in the original “The Lion King” is reason enough to see it on an annual basis. We've all danced and sang along to the soundtrack, but the heart of the film lies with Simba's narrative of journeying back to claim the Pride Lands. It reminds us that good defeats evil, and that the Circle of Life is an all-important thing. The animated version is still a sight to behold — the hand-drawn animation still wields a different kind of magic and the live action adaptation that came out this year just pales in comparison in terms of visuals. The film even hints on climate change and sustainability way even before these become buzzwords — and then an eventual reality.


8. “When Harry Met Sally”

“When Harry Met Sally” tells a story of a very long ride — 12 years to be exact — and brings up the age-old question: can a man and a woman remain just friends? Harry (Billy Crystal) doesn't think so, but Sally (Meg Ryan) does. The two meet and separate in various points in their lives, often getting involved in each other's romantic lives: the other sets one up with a friend, or the other dating a friend of the other. There's a warmth in the story, something that’s worth revisiting, particularly because the relationship between Harry and Sally is such a web to untangle. “When Harry Met Sally” is one of Nora Ephron's most enduring works, and that endurance is displayed by the layers the characters go through, all across 12 years!

There you have it: a list of family-friendly movies that are good enough for re-watching, and great for handing down to the younger generation. These movies will surely warm the heart and get some laughs during the happiest time of the year.


To make the trip down the cinematic memory lane a bit smoother, grab a few bottles of San Mig Zero to pass around your fellow adults. San Mig Zero has the lowest calories, lowest carbs, and no sugar, so you don’t feel that holiday drinking guilt and you can just focus on the movies. San Mig Zero is available at the nearest supermarket or convenience store near you. You can also order it via 8-632-BEER (2337).