Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Future Holiday Classics: Just What Are the Odds?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Future Holiday Classics: Just What Are the Odds?

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Soergel, The Times-Union

It's hard to crack that lineup of classic Christmas movies: During this tradition-bound time, we like our movies traditional too. But Hollywood keeps trying.

Here's a look at some Christmas-themed films from the past decade, along with a quick judgment on the kind of holiday spirit they represent. Then we'll try to figure the odds that anyone will ever reach for the film on future Christmases. You never can tell: It's a Wonderful Life flopped when it first came out, after all. But we'll try.

Christmas With the Kranks (2004): Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis are tormented by their neighbors after they decide to skip Christmas. Holiday spirit: Schizophrenically sour and sentimental. Odds: Quite possible. It's received some of the worst reviews of the year yet has become a decent-size hit.

The Polar Express (2004): Stunning-looking adaptation of the popular book. Holiday spirit: Earnest but perhaps too frantic and scary. Odds: Quite possible. It's been steady but unspectacular at the box office and should do well on video.

Surviving Christmas (2004): Hapless Ben Affleck is a yuppie trying to get in the Christmas spirit by adopting a blue-collar family who lives in the house where he grew up. Holiday spirit: Dark comedy with an inevitable sentimental ending. Odds: Not a chance.

Elf (2003): Wide-eyed and childlike, Will Ferrell's a human raised as one of Santa's elves. Holiday spirit: Sweet and goofy. Odds: Excellent.

Bad Santa (2003) Billy Bob Thornton is memorable as a boozing, thieving, fornicating department store Santa. Holiday spirit: Scabrous, profane and irreverent, in the extreme. Odds: Quite good (though as a cult hit only).

Love Actually (2003): A big group of Londoners (including Prime Minister Hugh Grant) fall in and out of love in the days before Christmas. …

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