Get in the spirit of the season with these holiday movie recommendations
What is Christmas without an advent calendar? This year, the Austin Chronicle film elves prepared a nice list of their 25 favorite holiday movies and TV specials – some traditional, some joyous, some unexpected – and have pulled open a mystery window every day. For the full calendar, and what cinematic delights are tantalizingly hidden behind the last few doors, visit austinchronicle.com/holiday-movies and count down the cinematic season with us. Here are some treats and baubles already unveiled ...
The Shop Around the CornerTurner Classic Movies, Mon., Dec. 25, 5pm
Director Ernst Lubitsch told the New York Sun in November of 1939 that "We must show people living in the real world. No one used to care how characters made their living – if the picture was amusing. Now they do care. They want their stories tied up to life." – Editor Kimberley Jones
Zach Galligan grins sweetly at his hapless father, memorably played by Hoyt Axton (author of "Joy to the World"), whose early Christmas present to his son is a mogwai from Chinatown he calls Gizmo. Voiced by Howie Mandel in baby-speak, the distant cousin to Star Trek's cuddly tribbles soon spawns far nastier clones, who then morph into nightmarish creatures all too gleeful to induce homicidal mischief. Faster than you can yell "run for your lives," a storybook Christmastime town covered in snow devolves into a harrowing night between pest and host. – Music Editor Raoul Hernandez
Krampus, you say? Who he? Well, remember how Santa Claus brings toys and candy and joy to everyone on the nice list? Well, Krampus deals with the naughty column in the annual ledger. Frankly, there's more of Old Scratch than of jolly old Saint Nick about him, as he beats the wicked with birch twigs, and throws the worst miscreants into his sack, never to be seen again. – Screens Editor Richard Whittaker