Happy holidays all! (I think that’s the PC way of opening things these days, correct? Would anybody actually object to a heart Mele Kalikimaka? Are the lines still a bit blurry on such things?? Moving on…)

I know it has (again) been far too long since I updated here, though in the coming weeks, hopefully a solid explanation for that will be forthcoming. (It involves multiple new books, a new perma-free listing on Amazon, and the introduction of a new novella series line, though we’re getting ahead of ourselves again)

As such, and in the spirit of the season, the thought occurred to share what has become my own personal holiday tradition…and to take it a step forward, even extend into (yet another) of my favorite blogging devices…the random rank order listing.  (For those of you that noticed I didn’t get to my annual Halloween episode listings this year, just know that I DID watch as many as possible, and that it DID kill me not to share…)

Most every family has their unique Christmas traditions, whether they be food or games or songs or whatever. Obviously, there is no right or wrong choice, the opportunities for something to be laden w/ sentimental meaning virtually unlimited at this time of year.

For me, that took on the form of Christmas movie outings, a tradition that started when I was in….Jr High? Early high school? As my pop usually had to work, and Lil Stevens was generally off doing his own thing, Mama and I began visiting the local cinema. Starting simple enough, we were simply seeking something to do, but over time it evolved into a thing unto itself, including planning and watching upcoming new releases months in advance. (We lived far out in the country…going to the cinema was an event)

The tradition continued through college, and even in the decade or so since while I have been out roaming around and very rarely make it home for the holiday, I continue to go. It was only upon leaving the multiplex a couple days ago (which we’ll get to in a moment) that I started thinking back on the various flicks I’ve seen over the years.

While I am far from a film critic, here are what has made up D’s Christmas tradition the last 15 years (b/c I had to cut off the list somewhere), presented in descending rank order…

15. ) 2002 – Two Weeks Notice
As I said, a rather inauspicious start…though to be fair, I didn’t pick this one.
 
14.) 2005 – The Family Stone
A great film…but just too darn sad for the holiday season.
 
13.) 2014 – Night at the Museum 3
After the first two were so enjoyable, this one just felt like a long-after-the-fact money grab.
 
12.) 2004 – Collateral
Somehow, this is not the only Tom Cruise film on this list…
 
11.) 2007 – National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Entertaining, though not nearly so much as the original.
 
10.) 2008 – The Wrestler
Mickey Rourke deserved an Oscar for this one, though again, way too dark to be any higher than 10.
 
9.) 2013 – American Hustle
The year before Silver Linings Playbook was nothing short of phenomenal, so I gave (basically) the same cast/crew/writer/director another shot here, hoping they caught lightning in a bottle twice. Sadly, not nearly so much…
 
8.) 2012 – Jack Reacher
Sentimentality gets this one as high as it is, based largely on the peerless Lee Child source material.
 
7.) 2006 – Rocky Balboa
Again w/ sentimentality…and the fact that this helped erase the debacle that was Rocky V from the collective psyche.
 
6.) 2010 – True Grit
Remaking classics is always a tough proposition – and nobody could ever beat The Duke as Rooster Cogburn – but this was much better than it had any business being.
 
5.) 2011 – The Descendants
Set on Oahu, it perfectly nailed a lot of the local custom, giving a much deeper meaning than it might have for most.
 
4.) 2015 – Creed
A very solid reboot/redirect for a series in dire need of both.
 
3.) 2016 – Passengers
Entertaining – if for no other reason than the two leads (and basically only two actors in it) – but deeply flawed. May have to be a full review of this one soon…
 
2.) 2009 – Up In The Air
Along w/ the aforementioned SLP, one of my favorite scripts of all time. Fantastic.
 
1.) 2003 – Cold Mountain
Oscar winning performances set against a Civil War backdrop, based on fantastic source material? (And the last time the entire Stevens crew went to the movies together?) Done and done.

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