He’s the meanest creature on the planet, but perhaps that’s to be expected. After all, his heart is “two sizes too small.”
He enjoys sending nasty letters to the people in the next town. He gets jollies out of stealing presents. He even eats glass.
The Grinch – who lives on an intimidating mountain overlooking the kind people of Whoville — just may be the most unlovable “thing” ever made. But not everyone agrees.
Little Cindy Lou Who – a bright-eyed young girl from Whoville – believes the Grinch is capable of good. She even claims he saved her life!
So, when the townspeople push back against Cindy Lou’s claims about the Grinch, she launches an investigation. What she finds is shocking: Long ago, a younger Grinch was (heavily) bullied by the kids of Whoville. He subsequently left town and climbed up the mountain, and the people haven’t heard from him since. Perhaps that’s why he is so mean. And maybe if someone is kind to him, he will return the favor.
It’s all part of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (PG), the highest-grossing film of 2000 and one of the top choices for Christmas-themed streaming selections in December. It is playing on Netflix.
This delightful and mostly family-friendly film was directed by Ron Howard and stars Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Is also won an Oscar (Best Makeup).
Although purists of Dr. Seuss’ books might be troubled by some of the additions, it nevertheless maintains messages on kindness and redemption. The bullying angle gives it a timely 20th-century lesson. It does contain a few scary parts that might trouble young children, and one or two slightly inappropriate scenes.
Among other Christmas-themed selections this month:
White Christmas (1954, unrated) – This musical-comedy about a pair of singing-and-dancing men won an Oscar (Best Song) and stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.
Also playing: Lots of Hallmark-type romantic Christmas specials. Just type “Christmas” into Netflix. Enjoy!
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (2002, unrated) – This isn’t the Charlie Brown Christmas that we all love, but for 20 minutes of entertainment with Snoopy, it’s not bad. Just don’t expect a Gospel message. Animated.
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003, unrated) – Ever heard of Snoopy’s brother Spike? He’s featured in this one – and he’s hilarious. Animated.
If You Give A Mouse A Christmas Cookie (2016, unrated) – Based on the popular series of children’s books, this cartoon likely will have your kids cackling in the floor. Animated.
Christmas with the Kranks (2004, PG). In this comedy, a family decides to skip Christmas and go on a cruise. It doesn’t go well. Starring Tim Allen and Dan Aykroyd. Rated PG for brief language and suggestive content.
Also playing: Lots of old Christmas cartoons that haven’t aired on television in several decades. Search for “Christmas cartoons.” Additionally, The Mayflower Voyagers – a classic Peanuts cartoon about the Pilgrims and their faith – is also on Amazon Prime. It’s never too late to teach history!
Christmas with the Kranks (2004, PG). See above. Otherwise, it’s a slow month for Christmas classics/family-friendly entertainment on Hulu.
Note: The 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas is not available on any of the major streaming services. But it often is available on YouTube. A Charlie Brown Christmas is temporarily available on ABC online at http://abc.go.com/movies-and-specials/a-charlie-brown-christmas.
— by Michael Foust
Foust has covered the film industry for more than a decade. Visit his website, MichaelFoust.com