The season is approaching! The Christmas season that is. Although Christmas is still technically weeks away people are already getting into the holiday spirit. Soon there will be Christmas trees going up in living rooms, lights being hung from houses, and ovens in full bake made. One of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit is by watching Christmas films! Over the next four articles I will be discussing four of my favorite holiday movies that I continuously go back to each year. These movies represent the pinnacle of holiday entertainment. In order to properly take in all that the Christmas season offers its best to start watching these films as soon as possible, especially if you've never seen them before. Of course, that would be quite hard to believe as the films I'll be discussing are so tightly associated with the holiday season it would be almost impossible for an individual to go through Christmas, year after year, and not watch them.
The first movie to dive into for this year’s holiday season is Elf. Yes, that same Elf that is consistently on cable TV from the beginning of November until the end of January. Do people still actually have cable TV? Yes, yes they do. It is hard to believe but there was a time, long ago, that people watched movies through their cable provider and not online or on Netflix. It was during these ancient times, back in 2003, that the movie Elf first hit the box office. Ever since then it has remained an important part in many family's holiday traditions, given its family friendly comedy element.
Elf was directed by Jon Favreau and written by David Berenbaum. The "elf" in the movie Elf is named Buddy and is played by Will Ferrell. The film also stars James Caan as Walter Hobbs, Zooey Deschanel as Jovie, Mary Steenburgen as Emily Hobbs, Daniel Tay as Michael Hobbs, Ed Asner as Santa Claus and Bob Newhart as Papa Elf. The movie has seen unprecedented success since its release in 2003 and grossed over $200 million worldwide. Elf went on to inspire other Christmas films and musicals including Elf: The Musical and Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas.
Elf begins as Buddy, who is human that was raised by elves in the north pole, overhears Papa Elf explaining that he was actually born to Walter Hobbs and Susan Wells of New York. Papa Elf further explains that Susan died, and Walter is unaware of Buddy's existence as a Christmas elf. He tells Buddy that his biological father now works for a publishing company in the Empire State Building in New York City. Buddy then sets out to New York City on his own to find Walter however has considerable trouble adjusting to the basic human lifestyle, such as the food they eat and the clothes they wear. Eventually the giant elf discovers the Empire State Building but is thrown out by security. He then visits Gimbels department store in downtown New York. He is mistaken for an employee with his Christmas elf outfit and subsequently meets Jovie, an employee of the department store that he is immediately fond of. Buddy unfortunately lands himself in jail as he confronts, and pulls the beard off of, a fake Santa visiting the department store. Insistent that Walter Hobbs is his true father Buddy gets Walter to bail him out of jail. Walter, however, is dead set against the idea of Buddy being his long-lost son, especially after witnessing his bizarre behavior. Therefore, he takes Buddy to get a DNA test, which confirms that Buddy the elf is in fact the son of one Walter Hobbs. Walter reluctantly takes Buddy home to meet his new wife Emily and 12-year-old son Michael. Michael is put off by Buddy's odd behavior but Emily insists they have a duty to look after him in his "time of need." After a while Michael warms up to Buddy and encourages him to ask Jovie out on a date. During the get together Jovie realizes that despite Buddy's odd behavior he is a kind and comical person. Meanwhile Walter is in danger of losing his job and brings in famous children's author Miles Finch as a last-ditch effort. Unfortunately, Buddy interrupts Walter's meeting with Finch and mistakes the children's author for an elf. A fight occurs with Finch storming out and Walter, angry over Buddy's interruption, disowning his elf-like son. On a tight timeline, Walter and his team find a stroke of luck when they discover Miles Finch's notebook. While presenting the new book to his boss, Michael storms in and informs Walter that Buddy has run away from home. Realizing that family is far more important than a damaged job Walter resigns and joins Michael in finding Buddy. While Buddy wanders Central Park on the eve of Christmas Santa's sleigh crashes in the park and it’s up to Buddy to fix it. Eventually, Walter and Michael find Buddy at Santa's sleigh and can hardly believe their eyes. Walter apologizes to Buddy and with the help of Jovie they raise enough Christmas spirit from the citizens of New York to get Santa's sleigh working again. In the end Walter has started his own publishing company and Buddy and Jovie are now happily married and living in the North Pole among fellow elves.
You would be hard pressed indeed to find someone who has not seen the movie Elf. The Christmas comedy has sealed itself as a holiday classic. Families across the country settle into the couches each year to follow the journey of the elf like human known as Buddy. Whether it’s his hilarious attempts to fit into the norm of human culture or his faithful effort to gain his father’s approval Buddy the elf will leave a lasting impression of holiday spirit within you.