Today’s Christmas Movie Showdown is the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational one yet. The latest pits The Muppet Christmas Carol against the sentimental Miracle on 34th Street for a spot in the Quarter Finals. Are Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and Michael Caine’s Scrooge where the festive fun is at? Or are Edmund Gwenn’s Kris Kringle, the cynical Walker family, and the United States Postal Service more your holiday speed?
Read up on the two films below, then vote for your favourite!
Round of 16 – MATCH 4:
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
I remember when my aunt gave my brother a VHS copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol one Noël. It was the first movie we ever owned. Our mom was so mad and Scrooged it up for a day or two, but we attacked this contraband gift like two teenagers gifted a secret stash of booze. We watched The Muppet Christmas Carol every Christmas Eve during our childhood through adolescence and still do our best to revisit it.
This fun and accessible take on the enduring Christmas classic might have the best shelf life of any Muppet movie. The Muppet Christmas Carol is endlessly rewatchable no matter how old one gets. The tale of Bob Cratchit (Kermit) and his enfeebled son Tiny Tim teaching cranky Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) to favour charity over avarice never fails to lift one’s spirits. The film is to kids what It’s a Wonderful Life is to grown-ups. Plus, the film offers Michael Caine the role he was born to play, two Oscars and a Batman franchise be damned. – Pat Mullen
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A Christmas classic by any definition, the Academy Award-winning Miracle on 34th Street entered the hearts and minds of children everywhere just two years after the close of World War II. Not surprisingly, a war-weary populace eagerly embraced the deeply conservative themes of Miracle on 34th Street, hoping to temporarily escape into the simple, reductive world where a seemingly delusional elderly man played by a pitch- and tone-perfect Oscar winner, Edmund Gwenn, convinced that he’s in fact the real Kris Kringle (aka, Santa Claus) and not an ersatz imitation (i.e., a department store Santa), brings not just the spirit of holiday joy and happiness into the lives of a broken family (broken because they’re a father/husband short of the traditional, throwback nuclear family), but also renewed faith and hope in the storybook magic missing from the lives of audiences on the other side of the silver screen.
As heartfelt and heartwarming as Miracle on 34th Street seems or even is, its pro-capitalist, pro-consumerist, and, of course, pro-nuclear family (strictly heterosexual, it should be added) themes resonated then and now with viewers. Miracle on 34th Street also introduced the world to a nine-year-old actress, Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko (aka Natalie Wood) born to Russian immigrant parents in San Francisco, California. – Mel Valentin
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
Voting ends December 14 at 11:59 EST.
The elimination showdown runs from December 1 until the 23, with the Ultimate Christmas Movie being unveiled on Christmas Eve! You can vote here, on Twitter, or on Instagram. Check out where things stand and then tune in tomorrow for two new face offs…