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Film Journeys

Festive Films 5 (2018)

December 18, 2018

It’s that time of year again and so we are back with our fifth Festive Film special! Each year we try and offer up a selection of Christmassy movies that include a film that’s in cinemas, a classic you’ll love to rewatch and an alternative take on a Christmas movie.

THE GRINCH (2018) © Universal Pictures

THE GRINCH (2018) © Universal Pictures


Our first festive film this year is THE GRINCH (2018). Currently in UK cinemas, it’s the animated story of a grumpy Grinch who plans to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville. The film stars the voice talents of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones and Pharrell Williams and is based on the Grinch story “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”  by Dr. Suess.

For those who only know Benedict Cumberbatch from his screen roles who might be surprised that he’s voicing a character, he’s actually very adept at voice work, having played the mighty dragon Smaug in the Hobbit films. He’s also used his voice work to great comic effect in the BBC radio show Cabin Pressure. He’s on top form here as The Grinch, with a suitably grumpy growly delivery throughout.

The film was produced by the creative same team that was behind the minions and DESPICABLE ME films, and with Rashida Jones showing great comedy work in Parks and Recreation and Pharrell Williams providing the narration; Danny Elfman scoring the film and a story from the crazy imagination that is Dr. Seuss … this is a family film not to miss.

Bill Murray and Karen Allen in SCROOGED! (1988) © Paramount Pictures

Bill Murray and Karen Allen in SCROOGED! (1988) © Paramount Pictures

FILM 2: SCROOGED! (1988)

Our second film for this Christmas cracker selection of movies is SCROOGED! from 1988. The one, the only Bill Murray stars as a selfish and cynical TV executive who is haunted by three different spirits, each teaching him a lesson on Christmas Eve.

It’s obviously a modern take on the Charles Dickens novel ‘A Christmas Carol’, with Murray doing what he does best at the height of his 1980s stardom. Whilst it’s now a little dated, the movie is still very watchable and a nice take on a classic tale. It’s a family movie, but if you’re not watching the TV version there are a few words that would put Murray and his co-stars Karen Allen and John Forsythe on Santas’ naughty list. It’s also got some scary scenes, so it’s perhaps not for the youngest of family members. For that reason, we’re adding this one here as our ‘alternative Christmas movie’ selection for the year.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (1965) ©  Lee Mendelson Film Productions

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (1965) © Lee Mendelson Film Productions


Our final festive film is A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (1965). This TV animated classic is so beloved by millions, especially in the US that for many just watching it instantly transports them to childhood memories of Christmas.

Here’s a little clip where Lucy is asking her cast of school kids to show some respect to their director, whilst also asking Snoopy the dog if he can play different animals.

Peanuts, the comic strip on which the Charlie Brown character, (and his friends), originated from, had become so popular by the mid-sixties, that American TV network CBS commissioned this special. It was written hastily, recorded quickly and on a shoe-string budget. Child actors were used, a laugh track, (which was usual for the time), wasn’t included and they scored the whole thing with jazz music. Everyone involved thought the special would be a disaster before it was broadcast.

It has since become a classic and is shown every year with millions around the world feeling a warm glow of nostalgia.


Honourable mentions:


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Indiewire Influencers 2013, Shot by Daniel Bergeron
Robert Rodriguez

February 13, 2019

Taraji P. Henson Credit: Ron Eshel / Ron Eshel/Invision/AP
Taraji P Henson

November 28, 2018

HALLOWEEN (2018) Photo: Ryan Green Universal
Halloween Special 2018

November 11, 2018