Chris Hicks: 'White Christmas,' 'It's a Wonderful Life' lead Christmas films showing in local theaters for the holidays
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989, PG-13). Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid regrouped for the third time in the Vacation franchise, this time spoofing such holiday traditions as getting a tree, decorating the house, fixing a turkey dinner, accidentally wrapping a cat as a gift (!). Some funny episodes mixed with some gags that are surprisingly vulgar in this context. (Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m., and Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres)
“Meet Me in St. Louis” (1944). Bright, colorful cotton-candy musical about a middle-class family in St. Louis as the city is preparing for the 1904 World’s Fair. Distinctive period flavor with a series of sequences that reinforce early 20th-century family values. Introduced the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Judy Garland is at her best but young Margaret O’Brien steals the show, winning a special child-actress Oscar for her performance. (Tuesday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m., SCERA Center, Orem)
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946, b/w). What can be said about this one that hasn’t already been said a thousand times? James Stewart is perfect as a decent everyman whose life doesn’t go the way he wants it to, but with the help of an angel (played wonderfully by Henry Travers) he eventually finds out the hard way what’s really important and what he has meant to those around him. Fine supporting cast and sterling direction by the great Frank Capra. (Dec. 12, 7 p.m., free, BYU, Provo, http://lib.byu.edu/sites/artcomm/, also Sunday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m.; Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2 and 7 p.m.; and Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2 and 7 p.m., Cinemark Theatres)
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