Brad Bird's 10 Favorite Winter Films

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White Christmas

“A no-brainer: director Michael Curtiz + Irving Berlin x Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen. Do the math.”

Ishtar

“I’m going to go out on a limb here, but yes, you read it right—Ishtar. Unfairly consigned to the ‘turkey’ bin upon release (because its large budget is decidedly not seen on the screen), if you are willing to give it a chance, comic genius Elaine May’s work with screen legends Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman is surprisingly funny.”

The Red Shoes

“A dark film, so you may want to wait until Christmas is over (and you are faced with the end of the holidays). The Red Shoes is a gorgeous fable about the consuming power of artistic passion. Michael Powell at his very best.”

The Awful Truth

“Everybody talks about the chemistry between Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, but Cary Grant and Irene Dunne make up one of the greatest ‘his and her’ comedy teams that ever graced the screen. A short, smart, hilarious comedy by Leo McCarey, one of the greatest of all comedy directors, who also directed the Marx Brothers’ best film, Duck Soup (itself a great one for holiday laughs).”

Stranger than Paradise

“A tiny, sharp, brilliant gem, full of constant, droll comic surprises.”

Meet Me in St. Louis

“Warner Brothers has beautifully remastered in Blu Ray just in time for the holidays. Vincent Minelli's technicolor musical, which features screen legend Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is an oddly touching film about family and loss, a reminder that many of the sweetest things in life often don't last and, like the holidays, should be cherished.”

The Sound of Music

“About as wholesome as it gets, I grant you...but not as corny as its reputation. One of film's greatest screenwriters Ernest Lehman—who wrote the screenplays for the classics Sweet Smell of Success and Hitchcock's North by Northwest—took Rodgers & Hammerstein's mediocre stage play (albeit with a brilliant score) and re-tooled it into one of films most iconic musicals, perfectly directed by Robert Wise. Pull family and/or friends close and I dare you to resist its charms.”

Pinocchio

“Gotta have some animation for the season, and they don't get any better than Walt Disney's dark masterpiece. Full of visual audacity and brio, Pinocchio is the Disney studios at the height of its power, just before the war and other setbacks took some wind out of the dream factory's sails.”

Die Hard

“It's the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring—except for Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, and a band of terrorists taking over a new skyscraper. The holidays can't be all warm and fuzzy, and for those who, like me, occasionally like a shot of adrenaline in their hot cocoa I recommend Die Hard, quite simply one of the best action films ever made. A magnificent, bloody cat & mouse game that director John McTiernan knocks out of the park.”

It's a Wonderful Life

“Frank Capra's hands-down holiday classic.”

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