20 Christmas Movies To Watch Before December Ends

20 Christmas Movies To Watch Before December Ends And A New Year Begins

Christmas movies, hot chocolate, and a warm blanket, what's better than that?

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December is a time for Christmas movies and spending time with family. And if you're a teacher or a student, it's a time to relax and make some extra money before the spring semester. And every year, Hallmark has their iconic '31 Days of Christmas' movie marathon. But in case those movies don't fit your fancy, here are 20 movies to watch instead, classics and Netflix originals included.

1. 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'

A family tradition in my house is to watch the Charlie Brown special before every holiday. This movie is a classic, and you can never go wrong with Charlie Brown and his gaggle of friends.

2. 'Frosty the Snowman'

Another classic. A singing snowman that makes kids happy? What a wholesome film. It will surely brighten anyone's day.

3. 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'

Whether you watch the animated or the live-action version, you will get a lot of entertainment out of this movie. The Grinch is relatable AF, and while he seems like a bad person, he really only hates people. Not the actual holiday. Which brings a whole new meaning to this movie.

4. 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer'

This is another wholesome film. While Rudolph is bullied throughout this movie, when Santa notices his potential and bright red-nose, he inevitably saved the day. Those bullied backed off and he got the girl reindeer. A win-win.

5. 'The Christmas Prince'

While this movie is cheesy and predictable like no other movie, it is still really entertaining to watch. The prince is hot, the storyline is pure, and everything works out in the end. Plus, it's rather enjoyable to make fun of this film as you watch it.

6. 'The Princess Switch'

This Netflix film is much better than I thought it would be. However, it does take some time to get over Vanessa Hudgens' fake British accent, but that's more comical than anything. The prince gets more attractive as the movie goes on, but this one is really, really good.

7. 'Love Actually'

I love movies that have multiple plot points going on with many characters at the same time. This movie is amazing, and I think the story is so good. I am looking forward to re-watching this over Christmas break.

8. '12 Dates of Christmas'

I remember watching this on Hallmark years ago. But this movie is all about a woman trying to have the perfect date, but she keeps going back in time and needs to figure out what she needs to do differently. This is another really good one.

9. 'Christmas Inheritance'

Another cheesy Netflix film, but this one is worth the watch. High society Ellen has to go back to her hometown to continue on her family's Christmas tradition and she falls in love with the people and a guy. I'm a sucker for these kinds of films.

10. 'The Polar Express'

When I was a kid, my parents took me and my brother on the Polar Express and we got to live the movie. It was so much fun, and now this movie holds a special place in my heart. Plus, it's a classic Christmas movie. And you can never go wrong with those.

11. 'Elf'

While this movie is not one of my favorites, Buddy the Elf still has some iconic quotes in this movie. And he's only trying to find his father. Which is very wholesome.

12. 'Home Alone'

This movie is wild from start to finish. Not only does Kevin's family forget to bring him on their family vacation, but two goons are trying to rob his house. He is forced to be a grown up and is doing his very best.

13. 'Christmas with the Kranks'

The Kranks don't want to deal with Christmas this year, so they decide to go on vacation. But at the last minute, their daughter is coming home with her boyfriend. They have mere hours to pull together a Christmas dinner together but thank goodness they have the help of their neighbors.

14. 'Christmas Story'

Some Cleveland pride here, as this was filmed in a house in the city. It's a classic Christmas movie and it's on a 24-hour continuous loop on December 25th. Plus, it has the infamous leg lamp that you see everywhere.

15. 'The Santa Clause'

Tim Allen stars in this classic movie series. It's been a while since I've seen these movies, but I remember watching them when I was younger and loving them.

16. 'It's a Wonderful Life'

This movie is definitely a classic. Since it was made over fifty years ago, I have never seen this movie. A guardian angel shows the main character what his town would have looked like if he hadn't helped its growth over the years.

17. 'Miracle on 34th Street'

I have not seen this movie either. But it focuses around a man named Kris Kringle who fills in for a drunk Santa in the annual Thanksgiving Day parade. He becomes loved by the country and he tells everyone that he is really Santa Claus.

18. 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'

It's been a while since I've seen this one. Clark Griswold wants to have the perfect family Christmas. But chaos ensues when his country cousin and his family show up out of the blue and start living on the Griswold property. Then, Clark's holiday bonus is revoked. Definitely not the Christmas he was looking for.

19. 'The Holiday'

When two women agree to switch homes for a much-needed break, they begin falling for local hunks to cure their romance slump. I really like this movie and I'm a sucker for romantic comedies.

20. 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'

I have never seen this movie because I try to stay away from Tim Burton. But Jack Skellington is back and ready to invade a new town. He plots to control Christmas by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over. But not everything goes to plan.

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The 9 Eras Of Disney Animation

The evolution of Disney animation over the years
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As a kid I always loved movies, and no movies did it quite for me like Disney movies did. Whether they were old or new, there was something about Disney movies that just spoke to me. The music the characters, the stories-- they all helped to shape some of my fondest childhood memories and are responsible for many of my interests and beliefs today. But what I always found most interesting is the history behind these films, how the time they came out influenced their themes and meanings. So today I’ll be exploring just that-- the nine eras of Disney animations.

1923-1928: The Silent Era and the Origins of Disney

The history of Disney begins with the Silent Era. In 1923, Walt Disney, working for Laugh-O-Gram studios out of Kansas City, Missouri, created a short film called Alice’s Wonderland, which would serve as the first of the Alice Comedies. After the company declared bankruptcy, Walt moved to Hollywood, where he and his brother Roy formed Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios. They worked out a deal with Winkler Productions to produce the Alice Comedies and eventually, in 1926, moved their company to Hyperion Street, where it was renamed Walt Disney Studios. After the decline of the Alice Comedies, Walt created his first ever original character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and produced 26 short comedies starring the character before a falling out with Charles Mintz, who had by 1928 taken over Winkler Productions. Legally, Oswald belonged to Mintz and his company, so he took the character and four of Disney’s animators and started a new animation company, Snappy Comedies.

1928-1937: Pre-Golden Age and Mickey Mouse

The Pre-Golden Age saw Walt recovering from the loss of Oswald and also set the stage for Disney as we know it today. In 1928, Walt, in collaboration with Ub Iwerks, created a new character that he originally named Mortimer Mouse. However, his wife didn’t like the name, so he renamed him Mickey (I think we can all agree this name is much better). Mickey made his first appearance in 1928 in a test screening of the short film called Plane Crazy. However, the film failed to pick up a distributor, so Walt went back to the drawing board and created Steamboat Willie, which was released in 1928. The film was an immediate success due to the fact that it was the first cartoon to feature synchronized sound and established Mickey as the mascot of Disney. After this, a series of Mickey Mouse cartoons were released. This series also saw the introduction of many Disney staple characters, such as Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Goofy. Donald Duck, another iconic Disney character, first appeared in Disney’s Silly Symphonies, a series of animated short films that were popular for their innovative use of Technicolor. With this, Walt had successfully bounced back from the hardships of the Silent Era and set the stage for the Golden Age of Disney.

1937-1942: The Golden Age

The Golden Age of Disney began in 1937 with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film was the first full-length feature film to use traditional animation and was an immediate commercial success, establishing Disney as one of the leaders of animated filmmaking. Other films that were released during this time include Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi. Although all of these films would go on to become considered classics, at the time of their release only Snow White and Dumbo were commercially successful. What made this time considered the Golden Age wasn’t the commercial success of these films though, but rather the trends they created in terms of Disney filmmaking. Snow White was the first of the fairytale-based movies that Disney is known for and established the “Disney Princesses,” Pinocchio started the concept of taking well-known literature and turning it into a child-friendly film and Bambi explored the possibilities of making a movie through the eyes of a non-human character. Other Disney staples such as exaggerated villains, the use of music and prominent, comedic sidekicks were first introduced during this time as well. Another key characteristic of the films of this time was the inclusion of many dark scenes, which were usually sandwiched between upbeat and light scenes in order to create a mood shift. A similar, toned down version of this techniques would also be used in later films.

1943-1949: The Wartime Era

With the U.S.’s entry into World War II, Disney Studios faced lower budgets and a smaller team of animators as it entered the Wartime Era. Also known as the Package Era, the films of this time included Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, Melody Time, and The Adventures of Icabod and Mr. Toad. What made these films distinct from the Golden Age films is that instead of telling a single, continuous story, these films consisted of multiple short films within each. These films are largely ignored and widely unpopular, with fans criticizing them due to their lack of consistency and tone in each short. The Wartime Era also Disney Studios producing wartime propaganda, which included anti-Nazi commercials and flyers encouraging Americans to support the war.

1950-1967: The Silver Age and the Death of Walt Disney

Disney’s Silver Age, also known as the Restoration Age saw the return of many of the trends set forth by the Golden Age of Disney. Films released during this time include Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. What made these films distinct from its predecessors was the use of more ornate backgrounds and softer colors. Furthermore, the Silver Age also saw the use of lighter themes balanced with more complex characters, creating many of the well-known characters that are still considered fan-favorites today. The Jungle Book was the last film that Walt himself worked on before his death in 1966, and the movie’s release marked the end of the Silver Age

1970-1988: The Dark Age and the Decline of Disney

Hope you guys have a flashlight ‘cos we’re about to enter a dark place, or rather a dark age (see what I did there?). The Dark Age of Disney, also known as the Bronze Age, saw Disney Studios struggle to find their footing without Walt there to hold the reins. This was a time of trial-and-error in which the animators shied away from traditional storytelling tropes seen in the Golden and Silver Ages and instead shifted toward darker and more secular stories. Films released during this time include The Aristocats, Robin Hood, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver and Company. With the exception of The Great Mouse Detective, which was both critically and commercially successful, most of these films only received little success, with The Black Cauldron being a box office flop. These films lacked Walt’s imagination and were criticized for only being intended to bring in money. The greatest criticism of these films was their departure from traditional animation and their use xerography. This saved both time and money, allowing animators to directly print their drawings onto cells. However, this process did have its limits and initially only black lines were possible using this method. As a result, films during this era are known as “Scratchy Films” because of the heavy black lines in their animation. While these films weren’t initially successful upon release, many have gone on to become cult classics. Also, the Disney Dark Age helped set the foundation for the pinnacle of Disney animation

1989-199: The Disney Renaissance and Birth of the Millennials

If you’re a millennial like me, then most of your favorite Disney moments and films likely come from the Disney Renaissance. The Disney Renaissance saw a return to the musical fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Golden and Silver Age while at the same time expanding on many of the themes and techniques introduced in the Bronze Age. Films released during this time include The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Mulan, and Tarzan. These films were also the first films that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken worked on, both of whom are key elements to Disney’s musical success. The films during this time also had many important themes that would influence the current views of millennials; Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught us not to judge people by their appearances; Mulan and Hercules taught us the importance of making sacrifices; and Aladdin taught us that there’s nothing wrong with being ourselves and that the circumstances of our birth don’t have to dictate who we grow up to be.

2000-2009: Post-Renaissance Era

Also known as the Second Dark Age, the Post-Renaissance Era was unique in that whereas previous eras were marked with having a common theme about them, this era was defined as a time in which Disney tried their hands at new methods in storytelling, similar to the Bronze Age. Films from this time include Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, and Bolt. These films explored new storytelling elements marketed towards kids and more mature themes marketed towards the kids that had grown up during the Disney Renaissance that were now teenagers and young adults. While Lilo and Stitch was a commercial success, spawning several sequels and a T.V. show, most of the other films released during this time only received moderate success. This was in part due to the fact that they also had to contend with huge movie franchises like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Despite not doing as well as their predecessors, the films released during the Second Dark Age are well known for their innovation. Dinosaur was the first Disney film that used CGI animation, which would become a popular element of this era’s successor.

2010-present: Marvel, Star Wars, and the Second Disney Renaissance

Just as a Renaissance followed the first Disney Dark Age, a Second Disney Renaissance followed this Second Dark Age. Also known as the Revival Era, this era marked a return to the fairy-tale storytelling seen in the Gold and Silver Ages as well as the first Disney Renaissance. During this time, Disney bought the rights to Marvel and Lucasfilm, meaning they no longer had to worry about trying to market their films toward older audiences since the MCU and Star Wars did that for them. Films released during this time include Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Winnie the Pooh, Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. Like the first Disney Renaissance, the Second Disney Renaissance built off several things introduced by its predecessor. Tangled, for example, used the CGI techniques first used by Dinosaur. Most of the films of this era have been met with great popularity, with Frozen being the highest grossing animated film of all time and Big Hero 6 being the highest audience-rated film of this time period.

And there you have it, the nine eras of Disney animations. I hope you guys enjoyed reading about the history of Disney and its growth through the years. I personally loved writing this article and look forward to writing more like this one.

Cover Image Credit: Travel and Leisure

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My Predictions For 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'

Here are my expectations for the movie.

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There are some spoilers for 'Avengers: Endgame' in this article, but the spoiler ban has also been lifted today, May 6. So, read at your own discretion.

On May 6, I woke up to a new 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' trailer, and of course I have to talk about it. The trailer opens on Spider-Man looking at an Iron Man mural. The movie was speculated to take place after 'Avengers: Endgame', and this trailer confirmed that.

At the beginning of the trailer, we see Spider-Man talking to Happy Hogan about how much he misses his mentor. I already know that I'll be shedding tears for Peter within the first few minutes of the movie. Now, say what you will, but I think that Spider-Man is arguably one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, his parents die, then he loses his uncle Ben, and now he's lost Tony Stark, another father figure. Peter has so much emotional baggage, I'm amazed at how he seems to stay happy all the time.

It's mentioned a few times in the trailer that there is a need for a new Iron Man. That dialogue is even said by Spider-Man himself. This leads me to believe that it might be up to Peter to fill that role. We even see him put on a prototype Iron-Man glove. While I don't know if this is right for him, it's just a hunch that I have. But if I'm right, it'd be cool to see him and Sam Wilson, the new Captain America, team up for a movie in the future.

One thing that I am curious about, is the scene where Spider-Man takes off a pair of glasses and says "Oh my God." These glasses are reminiscent of Tony Stark's, so I wonder if that will play into Spider-Man becoming the next Iron Man?

We're also introduced to Mysterio more in this trailer, after only getting one line from him in the first trailer. He comes from Earth, but from a different universe. It's explained by Nick Fury that "the snap" created a hole in the universe, which is something that I'd like more of an explanation on. Was it Thanos' snap? Or Iron Man's? The idea of a multiverse will probably be explored, as well.

Since the announcement of Mysterio in this movie, I thought that he was going to be the villain in 'Far From Home.' This trailer leads me to speculate that he still might be the bad guy, but fronts that he's a good guy, seeking help from Spider-Man.

As for MJ and Peter, we might see them advance in their relationship. There's a scene in the trailer where Peter confides in Mysterio, saying that he just wants to tell MJ how he feels. We get a preview of this scene, but it doesn't go as planned. Instead, MJ guesses that Peter is really Spider-Man, which is alarming, but exciting. Only Ned Leeds, Peter's best friend, knows who is really behind the mask. Maybe this will help MJ and Peter further their relationship, since telling someone that you're a superhero takes a lot of trust.

Another thing that I'm excited about is the dynamic between Nick Fury and Spider-Man. Before this movie, they had never met. Maybe Nick will become a new father figure for Peter? Or will help Nick in a new Avengers plan?

I cannot wait for July 2nd to roll around. The Spider-Man movies are more lighthearted, and I always have a fun time watching them. Spider-Man is my favorite character in the MCU, and I'm never stressed out when I watch Spider-Man movies, unlike Captain America or Avengers ones. I'm excited to see where this movie leads the MCU next.

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