Top 10 Christmas movies
In 2007, Wittertainment held an online vote to decide on the best Christmas movies ever. Mark Kermode prepared an initial list of 10, which the listeners could then vote on - although also with the understanding that Mark had to be flexible and open to persuasion that one of his choices could be dropped for something else if the case was strong enough. The great British voting public decided on this order:
- It's A Wonderful Life (1946) - 41.6%
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) - 20.5%
- Die Hard (1988) - 11.2%
- Scrooged (1988) - 6.6%
- Gremlins (1984) - 5.7%
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - 5.4%
- Miracle On 34th Street (1947) - 4.6%
- Brazil (1985) - 3.4%
- Black Christmas (1974) - 0.5%
- Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (aka Santa Claus Versus The Martians) (1964) - 0.4%
A Christmas Carol (1951) was originally on the list, but was taken out for the insertion of The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Mark conceded that Santa Claus Conquers The Martians was only there because it had a great title, and it was actually a terrible film - like Teenage Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell.
Although the 1947 version of Miracle On 34th Street was the one people were asked to vote for, during the results programme Mark revealed that actually preferred the 1994 Richard Attenborough version, directed by Les Mayfield - "who is a terrible director, but if you're listening, happy Christmas Les." There then followed a number of happy Christmases to the likes of Jean de Boorman, Julian Sands and Danny Dyer - and Chris Columbus.
Columbus' Home Alone (and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York) were excluded from the list simply on the grounds of being Chris Columbus movies, and Mark refused it simply saying "Chris Columbus." Simon Mayo said "you can't just say, "Chris Columbus and therefore"," but Mark insisted, "I can - I just did." This all came to a crashing conclusion when a listener pointed out that Gremlins had been written by Columbus: "That is so busted," Mark confessed. "For the first time in a long time, I have been hoist by my own petard, and worse, I am speechless." There then came a silence of some 5.23 seconds.
Other films suggested but rejected included: The Apartment; Poltergeist; Digby The Biggest Dog In The World ("Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without an animal in peril and Jim Dale"); National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ('I hate that film"); Scrooge (with Alistair Sim, from 1951), Planes, Trains And Automobiles (Simon ruled it out because a Thanksgiving film); City Of Lost Children; Bad Santa; and Trading Places.