In good company

Holiday movie characters

For this year’s edition of cinematic holiday nostalgia, let’s remember some of the more memorable holiday movie characters and entities.

What qualifies a character or thing as an all-time great in this here article? When I think of these films and specials, these are the first characters and things that pop into my head. While some of the picks are predictable, I’m a weird guy, so some of the picks are semi-controversial and might put a damper on your holiday.

Randy from A Christmas Story

Darren McGavin’s (Kolchak!) dad is an all- time legendary movie figure, but the first one I think of when considering Bob Clark’s classic is little brother Randy, sitting in his cave beneath the sink, and crying that “Daddy’s gonna kill Ralphie!” When his momma offers a glass of milk, he gladly takes it and closes the door. Also, his winter-wear ruled.

George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life

An obvious pick—nobody beats George Bailey in this movie. But let’s not just remember older George, played by James Stewart. A friend of mine once pointed something out: One of the most devastating, memorable moments in this movie is young George Bailey (Bobbie Anderson) getting hit in his sore ear by drunken and crazed Mr. Gower the druggist. OK, not the happiest of memories for this holiday film, but it is a testament to how the movie really did tap into so many emotions. Oh shit, I just remembered little George saving his brother from the ice water and going deaf in that ear. I’m all bummed out now.

Yukon Cornelius in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

I always thought it was super cool how he could tell if he struck gold or not by licking his pickaxe. I also dug the way he taught the abominable snowman how to decorate a tree after pulling all of his teeth out. Hey, wait a minute? I just remembered that Yukon tortured that beast by pulling all of his teeth out and making him his Christmas slave. Yukon was the monster!

Stripe from Gremlins

Gizmo is adorable and reminds me of my dog, but Stripe coined the phrase “Gizmo caca.” The award goes to the evil gremlin.

Max the dog from the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Of course The Grinch himself is a big deal, but my memories always go to that poor dog with the antlers strapped to his head, hanging over the mountain with the sleigh teetering on the top. A mistreated pup that finally gets the life he deserves in the end after years living with a total asshole.

Hans Gruber in Die Hard

We lost a great one this year. R.I.P. Alan Rickman. Your “Oh, shit!” face falling off the Nakatomi tower lives forever.

The Tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas

Best Christmas tree ever, all bent over from that heavy ornament.

Thurman Merman in Bad Santa

The first thing I think of in Bad Santa is the little chubby kid running around bleeding after he tried to wrap a present for his malevolent buddy.

Jack Frost the Weird-Looking Snowman in Jack Frost

Hey, most memorable doesn’t necessarily mean best. Of all the snowmen in movie history, the one Michael Keaton voiced for this clunker remains emblazoned in my brain. The thing befriends a little boy, but if I were that kid I’d have taken a shovel to that awful looking thing. It’s evil and will eat your soul!

Mr. Magoo in Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

“It’s great to be back, back, back, back on Broadway. BROADWAY!!!” Sorry if you don’t get this reference. This one is not for you then. But, if you haven’t seen this, you should watch it, and watch it now.

Nobody from Home Alone

Screw this overrated P.O.S.

Sinbad in Jingle all the way

I’m sure his mailman character had a name in this movie about a jerky dad (Arnold Schwarzenegger) trying to get a doll for his son. I just see him as the one and only Sinbad. And since I think Sinbad is a dick, I don’t watch this movie.

Owen in Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Steve Martin and John Candy reign supreme in this “It’s a Thanksgiving Movie but I’m Allowing for It in Here Anyway” classic. Owen was the driver played by Dylan Baker, who picks up the tired duo and lets them ride in the back of his pickup in the frigid cold. I’ll never forget the way he opened his mouth, snorted, got all wide-eyed and spat tobacco, getting it all over Steve Martin’s hand. Man, the holidays are just odd around my place.

Han Solo in The Star Wars Holiday Special

Yes, this is one of the very worst things anybody with a camera and a brain ever made for others to watch, but it’s so worth seeing just to witness the pain and embarrassment on Han Solo’s (Harrison Ford) face for having to participate in it.

It also featured the first ever appearance of Boba Fett in an animated segment. Many of you believe Boba’s first ever adventures took place in Empire Strikes Back, but oh no, he first flew into action in this glob of Bantha snot.

Santa Claus from Rare Exports

Of all the Santas, there has never been one more frightening—and more awesome—than the superbadass monster St. Nick in this oddball holiday offering.

Nicole Kidman’s Butt in Eyes Wide Shut

I think that Nicole Kidman’s ass in this movie is as festive and jovial a presence as Frosty the Snowman or the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. It’s the first entity we see in this strangest of holiday films. If it had a line, it would say “Hey, hi, I’m Nicole Kidman’s ass, and I welcome you to the world of Stanley Kubrick and all the weirdness it brings! Also, I’m going to divorce Tom Cruise soon, so this ass is going single!”

Robert Downey Jr.’s Ass in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

In the interest of equal time for both genders, let us remember Robert Downey Jr.’s butt—and the yuletide vibe it provides for all at this time of year. I know Christmas figured prominently in this film because Michelle Monaghan was running around in a Santa outfit. OK, it’s not really a Christmas movie, is it?

Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation

Oh, the yuletide spirit conveyed by that shot of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) emptying the shitter into a street drain. It makes me want to go Christmas caroling.

Bing Crosby in White Christmas

You know, when Bing Crosby sings that holiday classic, it makes me warmer than a chestnut roasting over on open fire (as opposed to a closed fire, which would be intolerably hot!). Yeah, when old Bing gets to a-crooning, it just means the holidays are upon us, and … ahhh, nuts to it! I hate this movie, and I hate this holiday “classic.” If I hate White Christmas, does this mean that I can’t be a movie critic no more? Does that mean I’m not allowed to have a Christmas tree and all the stupid crap that goes around it? Bing Crosby can rot in Hell! Actually, his duet with David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy” was badass. Dammit, Bowie died this year, too. Hans Gruber and David Bowie are dead. Christmas is canceled!