200 Words with Paul Dini #41 – The Real Man’s Holiday Movie Guide

November 26, 2008

Ungowa, guys! Nothing to watch Thanksgiving day after football? Try these yuletide offerings for us real MEN! 

PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES: Best guy’s Thanksgiving movie ever. Most unforgettable scene – John Candy driving and playing the dashboard to Ray Charles’ “Mess Around.” Well, that and Steve Martin’s 18 f-bombs fired into Edie McClurg’s smug face.

LA CONFIDENTIAL: The opening ten minutes of this flick, where Russell Crow beats a creep unconscious with a plastic Santa and Reindeer are really the only holiday entertainment a real man needs to see.

DIE HARD and DIE HARD II: Of course they’re on the list. John McClaine has become such a fixture of the real guys holiday season, Hallmark should sell talking ornaments of him. Yippie-kai-yeah!

DRAGNET – “THE BIG LITTLE JESUS“: If the ending of this classic episode doesn’t have you crying like a baby girl, watch for buzzards, because you are dead.  FATHER ROJAS: “Paco’s family… they’re poor.” JOE FRIDAY: “Are they, father?”

TWILIGHT ZONE – “NIGHT OF THE MEEK”: Great performances by Art Carney as an alkie with a Santa complex and John “Piglet” Fiedler as an a-hole store manager.

ELF: Enh, so what? It’s Ferrell, it’s Faves, it’s great.


Paul Dini is the Emmy and Eisner Award winning writer of Batman: The Animated Series,Superman: The Animated Series, Detective Comics, Countdown among many, many other things. You can find him online at either kingofbreakfast.livejournal.com or http://www.jinglebelle.com/.



  1. I miss John Candy.  🙁

  2. home for the holidays is also endearing to me.

    "we don’t have to like each other, we’re family"

  3. I hated Elf……I threw up a little in my mouth the only time I saw it…….You want a holiday classic?


    Go for the MAN……WILLIAM MURRAY…….




    I’m aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive! And so are youuuuuuuuuuuuu!

  4. Elf is awesome.  Zooey Deschanel singing?  Sold.  

    My favorite Christmas classic and the greatest film of all time?  IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!  Accept no substitutions.  

    Back me up, Ron! 

  5. ELF is definitely the best Christmas movie that’s been made in ages.

  6. I’d also like to nominate LOVE ACTUALLY as a modern Christmas classic.  It’s not even a guilty pleasure for me. It’s just an awesome romantic comedy.  

  7. Yes, now tha I think about it LOVE ACTAULLY is the best modern one, followed closely by ELF.

  8. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0317640/


    And I’m not sure this is it:


    It tells a story where santa just lost a bet and had to be kind for a long time and now he can return to his evil self and he attacks a small town where there is someone that knows his true nature, and there’s lots of violence… 

  9. LA Confidential was a great movie. The imagery you mentioned was overpowering, and it is typical of the James Ellroy books that take place in LA in the ’50’s (the so-called "LA Quartet").

    If you want to read a book that gives you nightmares for weeks, check out White Jazz. It shares a number of the characters with LA Confidential, but pushes the envelope further. It would make a great graphic novel – maybe Ed Brubaker would script it.

  10. i don’t think "love actually" would belong in the real man’s holiday movie guide. sorry guys.

  11. Depends on your definition of a real man.  

    Then, we weren’t really talking about a "Real Man’s List" anyway.  Just our holiday favorites.  

  12. I like to consider myself a real man and it’s on my list, so…


  13. i would also say that both Lethal Weapon are the two best xmas movies not on this list Batman Returns.  nothing says happy holidays like a suicidal mel gibson, am i right?

  14. hey i wasn’t questioning anyone’s masculinity, i’m just saying love actually didn’t seem to fit the list above.


    for instance, home alone is a great xmas movie, but i wouldn’t think to add it to this list. anyhow, i’m just saying. 

  15. @Preacher – Yessss, sir! Great movie, one of my personal favorites; I watch it every year…

    That, and a "It’s a wonderful Life" and "Love Actually" and…oh crap, I love the holiday season…

  16. I saw Love, Actually the first time the other day, at my girlfriends. Its a very good movie. but, my only compliant is that it had a horrible soundtrack!!! the only good music in the movie, besides Bill Nighy hilarious Rod Stewart impersonation, was Otis Redding and The Beach Boys.

  17. There is a terrific Kelly Clarkson song in there, man.  

    I’ve already said too much… 

  18. I’m not a man of any kind, and I love watching Bud White beat the crap out of people.

    Not so big on "Love Actually". 

  19. Or just go with episode specials – like Mr. Bean, Only Fools And Horses, Jonathan Creek, Porridge, Keeping Up Appearances etc.

  20. I really enjoy Family man with Nick Cage.

    And Nightmare Before Christmas Is a family fav. over here in our house. 

  21. Love Actually is pretty good, but not exactly the first flick I think of when making a fave Christmas movies/shows list.

    Since I’m a nerd, my list would include the Christmas episode of Justice League, where Hawkgirl and John Stewart spend Xmas in an intergalactic bar fight along with other League members spending the holidays in their own way. 

    Jingle All The Way – (at least I think that’s the title) where Arnie goes on an insane quest to get the toy that his son wanted. It’s always nice to see the lengths a parent would go through for their kids instead of giving up and buying "the next best thing" instead.

    Family Man was also a nice, heart wrenching spin on the Scrooge-type story that it didn’t even have to be set during the holidays to be effective in getting it’s point across.

  22. But, Family man has Ratner stink all over it.

    Nobody’s gonna mention the Dr.Seuss,Chunk Jones,Boris Karloff trinity that create the awesomeness that is How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

    No love for A Charlie Brown Christmas, its one of the greatest things ever and has amazing music to boot.

    A personal fave of mine is Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire. It has always seemed very real and having very fucked up/bad parents i could always relate to it a lot.

    A Christmas Story!!! Whats more manly then a pink bunny suit? the answer is nothing.  

  23. Paul’s Top Ten X-Mas Films/Specials

    10. A Garfield Christmas 

    9. The Shop Around the Corner

    8. Elf 

    7. The Office (UK) Christmas Special/The Office (US) Benihana Christmas

    6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

    5. Charlie Brown Christmas

    4. Love Actually

    3. The Muppets Christmas Carol

    2. A Christmas Story

    1. It’s a Wonderful Life

    Honorable mentions: Home Alone, The Santa Clause, Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol, White Christmas, All Rankin and Bass Christmas specials, Meet Me in St. Louis, Noel (West Wing episode), Scrooge

  24. cylonpete (aka: my nemesis) is correct. Scrooged is the best Christmas or any holiday film ever made. I watch it every year, it’s a tradition. No other holiday film warms the cockles of your insides or gets you in the holiday spirit like Scrooged.

  25. @eyun fuck yea, ill watch scrooged in the the middle of july if its on tv (and it has been).  that move is the shit!  richard donner and bill murray doing a modern version of a christmas carol?  that is the muther fucking shit!

  26. I want to give it up to Paul for giving the nod to Planes Trains and Automobiles.  It’s a classic and good every time.

    Love Actually is a fantastic film.  Man or otherwise.  Bill Nighey (sp?) owns in that movie.

  27. Bill Nighy is Christmas.  And Christmas….is Billy Mack.



  28. I have waited so very, very long for a Love Actually thread to randomly occur on iFanboy.