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7 favorite holiday movies picked by Minnesota film lovers and experts

In more than 100 years of moviemaking, Hollywood has produced plenty of holiday heartwarmers: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “Miracle on 34th Street.” “A Christmas Story.” “Die Hard.” Moviegoers love cozying up with their seasonal favorites. But what if you’re looking for something different? What if you’re tired of watching the same old movies every year? With hopes of expanding seasonal watch lists, we asked a handful of Minnesota film experts and movie buffs about their preferred holiday fare. Their answers (sent via e-mail) were edited for length and clarity.


Catherine Allan, documentary film producer, retired from Twin Cities Public Television

Her pick: “Elf” (2003) by director Jon Favreau.

Why it’s a favorite: “The sheer goofy sweetness and hilarity of Will Ferrell as Buddy dressed in a giant elf costume encountering Christmas for the first time in Manhattan gets me every time. I love the slapstick scenes of discovering life on Earth, like when he goes giddily round and round the revolving doors of the department store until he gets sick. Ferrell has the perfect face for projecting a child’s excitement about Christmas. I never saw the film when it first came out and only ran across it by accident one night on television. Now I try to catch it whenever it’s playing this time of year. Like ‘Groundhog Day,’ the film is a classic with a good script, strong cast and an iconic performance by Ferrell.”


Stephanie Curtis, co-host of MPR News’ “Cube Critics” podcast

Her pick: “A Matter of Life and Death” (1946) by directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

Why it’s a favorite: “In a melancholy version of a ‘meet cute’ scene, a dashing British World War II pilot contacts an American radio operator as his crippled plane descends to Earth. Unperturbed airman

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