My Favorite Holiday Movies

It’s that time of year again– when the holiday movies start flying off the shelves! This year, I’ve decided to put together a list of 5 of my favorite family movies and 5 adult movies perfect for the holiday season!

For the Family (Rated G-PG):

santa-clauseThe Santa Clause– Single father Scott Calvin and his young son Charlie’s home is visited by Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When Santa falls off their roof and is injured, Charlie persuades his dad to take over Santa’s job.

prancerPrancer– A little girl finds a wounded reindeer in the woods and believes it is Prancer. Her efforts to nurse it back to health so she can return it to Santa bring about wonderful changes in the lives of everyone- her father, their neighbor, a grouchy vet, a department store Santa and the people of the town.

how-the-grinch-stole-christmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas (with Jim Carrey)– Why is the Grinch such a grouch? No one seems to know, until little Cindy Lou Who takes matters into her own hands and turns both Whoville and the Grinch’s world upside down, inside out, and funny side up in her search for the true meaning of Christmas.

mickeys-once-upon-a-christmasMickey’s Once Upon a Christmas– Mickey, Minnie, and their famous friends gather together to reminisce about love, magic and surprises in three wonder-filled stories of Christmas past. Featuring the entire case in a finale of merry, magical Christmas songs.

elfElf– A human baby accidentally ends up at the North Pole and grows up among the elf community. Buddy, as he comes to be known, knows that he’s “special”. When he’s 30, Buddy learns from Santa that he’s really a human. He decides to go in search of his father, to find out where he belongs. He walks to Manhattan, and is immediately run over by a cab. His father at first rejects him and Buddy ends up in a department store where other elves are working. But all the while, things are looking bad for Santa Claus. When Santa crashes his sleigh in Central Park, it’s Buddy’s moment to shine.

For Adults (Rated PG+):

love-actuallyLove Actually– Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

christmas-vacation-1989Christmas Vacation– Christmas is the perfect season for Clark Griswold and his family. Clark’s a disaster waiting to happen. You have to see it to believe it. There are 25,000 lights on the Griswold rooftop. An exploding turkey. And a house full of relatives.

its-a-wonderful-lifeIt’s a Wonderful Life– A man is saved from a suicide attempt by an angel and is then shown how important he is to the people who love him. A Christmas classic.

christmas-storyA Christmas Story– A young boy must convince his parents that a toy rifle is the only Christmas gift that will make Christmas worthwhile. Not only do his parents face what many other parents do during that time of the year, but their actions fit in with the All-American Christmas.

home-aloneHome Alone– When eight-year-old Kevin McCallister’s family left for vacation, they forgot one minor detail: Kevin!


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Zoey’s Staff Picks for December

Here is what I picked for this month, including short reviews!

Love Actuallylove-actually
dir. Richard Curtis, feat. Bill Nigh, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, and Emma Thompson

“Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.”

Love Actually is one of the very few holiday movies that I can sit through, and actually enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I try not to think of myself as a Scrooge or a Grinch, but some holiday movies are super cringe-worthy and cheesy to me. And you can only watch classics like A Christmas Story and The Santa Clause so many times before it gets old.

What I enjoy most about Love Actually is the intertwining stories. While each character and their story line are unique in their own respects, characters are related in a variety of ways, ranging from an affair, to a friendship, and to even siblings. My favorite story line? I’m going to have to go with the Prime Minister and Natalie, played by Hugh Grnat and Martine McCutcheon, respectively. Their budding romance is quirky, yet sweet. Alan Rickman is memorable in his role as well, and Martin Freeman adds a perfect hint of comedic relief. I think another aspect which could explain Love Actually’s popularity, more than 13 years after its initial release, is that classic British humor. The wit and sarcasm isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if it’s yours, and you love Christmas, definitely give Love Actually a shot, if you haven’t already.

Love Actually is that perfect adult holiday movie bound to get anyone in a Christmas-y mood.

American Beauty/American Psychoamerican-beauty-american-psycho
by Fall Out Boy

I know it seems a bit odd to recommend a summer feeling album in December, but I recently came across the album while stuck in traffic. Needless to say, listening to it all the way through brought back memories, and my mind was certainly no longer focused on the traffic.

Fall Out Boy was a band you would most certainly find on my iPod when I was in high school. So when they made their return from their hiatus back in 2013 with Save Rock and Roll followed by their 2015 release, you could say I was beyond thrilled. If you want to feel a little nostalgic for Fall Out Boy or other “emo” or pop-punk bands, pick up American Beauty/American Psycho.

My favorite tracks are: “Twin Skeletons (Hotel in NYC)”, “Novocaine”, “Jet Pack Blues”, and “The Kids Aren’t Alright.”

Images and Summaries taken from

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Jamie’s Staff Picks for December

It’s a Wonderful Life its-a-wonderful-life

Summary: “An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed. A Christmas classic.”

This movie probably does not need any promotion, but it is nonetheless one of my favorite Christmas movies and is on my “Required Christmas Movie” watching list every year. I can’t let the holiday go by without seeing the gym floor open up to reveal the pool underneath at the dance, or watching George lasso the moon, and crying at the end when the town comes together to help him. The holidays can be sad just as much as they can be happy, so if you are in need of something life-affirming, this should be on your watch list this month too.

P.S. You can rent this DVD individually using the link at the top of this post OR you can rent it as part of our Holiday Favorites Binge Box! For more information on Binge Boxes, see this post.

Once: music from the motion picture once
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

An excellent soundtrack from this sort-of-musical. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend checking it out. This is definitely not your typical musical, and the soundtrack is more of a folksy rock/pop album than a broadway show-stopper. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are a great pair both on screen and musically; if you enjoy singer-songwriter types, then this will be right up your alley. Their song “Falling Slowly” won an Academy Award, and this soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy.

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New Releases 11/29

Movies the-bfg
Pete’s DragonPete’s Dragon
Don’t Breathe
The Wild Life
The Intervention

T.V. Series
House of Lies, Season 5 talking-as-fast-as-i-can

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

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New Releases 11/22

Movies bad-moms
Captain Fantastic
Bad Moms
Hands of Stone
War Dogs
Mechanic: Resurrection
Hell or High Water

T.V. Series
Poldark, Season 2

Music 24kmagic
Hardwired… To Self-Destruct by Metallica
Voices of Angels by Celtic Woman
24K Magic by Bruno Mars
DNCE by Dnce
Moana Soundtrack
Prayers for the Blessed by Sixx: A.M.
Merry Christmas from Andra Day by Andra Day
Glory Days by Little Mix

Audiobooks moonglow
Moonglow by Michael Chabon
I’ll Take You There by Wally Lamb
Victoria by Daisy Goodwin
Thank You for Being Late by Thomas L. Friedman
Kathy Griffin’s Celebrity Run-Ins by Kathy Griffin

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Kim’s Staff Picks

Valiant Ambition:  George Washington, Benedict Arnold and the Fate of the American Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick [AV 973.382 P; audiobook]

Like Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck), Philbrick is a mastervaliant-ambition at unearthing new or hitherto forgotten information and shining new light on people and events in our history.  (See also The Last Stand and Bunker Hill.)  In Valiant Ambition, he juxtaposes the lives of commander-in-chief Washington with one of his ablest but also most troubled—and eventually traitorous—generals, Benedict Arnold.  It’s almost a certainty that Arnold’s delaying tactics on Lake Champlain (1776) and aggressiveness at Saratoga (1777) saved the Revolution.  Also true is that he was mistreated by mean-spirited officers and members of Congress.  Nevertheless, as Philbrick points out, Arnold had a huge character flaw, namely what was best for Arnold was best for all.  He was inspirational but often lacked consideration for others.  Washington, who valued Arnold but because of political in-fighting could do little to advance him to the positions he deserved, also comes alive as a flawed but ultimately heroic figure who saved the Revolution.  Philbrick contends persuasively that Arnold also saved the nascent nation, first, because of his actions on Lake Champlain and at Saratoga, and, second, because his treason renewed a sense of patriotism when the conflict’s outcome remained in doubt.


The quality of Austrian-born Billy Wilder’s Hollywood movies was matched by perhaps foreignaffaironly a half dozen other directors.  His resume includes The Major and the Minor (1942), Five Graves to Cairo (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945 Best Picture Academy Award), Sunset Blvd. (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960 Best Picture Academy Award), and One, Two, Three (1961).  Only recently has A Foreign Affair (1948) begun to take its place in Wilder’s canon.  The story:  Congresswoman Phoebe Frost (Jean Arthur) visits postwar Berlin (and it really was postwar as the wrecked city was filmed by Wilder’s crew in 1947) to investigate how things were going in the U.S. zone of occupation.  It wasn’t going well, that is, there was widespread graft and corruption.  Captain Pringle (John Lund) tries to conceal as much as possible while falling for the Congresswoman even as he makes liaison with German cabaret singer Erika (Marlene Dietrich).  The film is a sharp commentary on the military, German guilt, and political machinations—as seen through Wilder’s satirically perceptive eyes.

By Kim

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New to CCL — Binge Boxes!


The Multimedia Department at Chester County Library has added 17 Binge Boxes to our collection. “What are Binge Boxes?!” you ask? They are mini movie collections of typically 4-6 DVDs set around a theme that you can rent for one week for $3.18. Binge Boxes are great for sleepovers, movie nights, holiday weekends, or building up your film knowledge.

Below is a listing of the Binge Boxes we currently have. Check them out!

  • Biopics — A Beautiful Mind, The Blind Side, Dallas Buyers Club, Julie & Julia, The King’s Speech, and Ray
  • Daniel Craig as 007 — Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre
  • Disney Classics — Bambi, Fantasia, The Jungle Book, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Disney Princesses — Cinderella, Frozen, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, The Princess and the Frog, and Sleeping Beauty
  • Foreign Favorites — City of God, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, A Royal Affair, Rust and Bone, and A Separation
  • Girls Night In — Baby Mama, Bridesmaids, Dirty Dancing, The Heat, Trainwreck, and 27 Dresses
  • Holiday Favorites — A Christmas Story, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Elf, Home Alone, and Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Hunger Games — The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay: Part 1, and Mockingjay: Part 2
  • John Hughes — The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Weird Science
  • Marvel’s The Avengers — Captain America: The First Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor, and Thor: The Dark World
  • Martin Scorsese — Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, The Aviator, The Departed, Goodfellas, and Raging Bull
  • Page to Screen — The Devil Wears PradaGone with the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pelican Brief and Silver Linings Playbook
  • Pixar — Cars, Finding Nemo, Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 1, Ratatouille, Toy Story, and Up
  • Sleepover Movies — A Cinderella Story, Clueless, Miss Congeniality, She’s the Man, Sleepover, and 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Sports Favorites — Bull Durham, Hoosiers, Invincible, Miracle, and Rocky
  • Stage to Screen — Grease, Into the Woods, Les Misérables, My Fair Lady, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Sound of Music
  • Star Wars–Han Solo — Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi, and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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New Releases 11/15

Finding Dory
Men Go to Battle
Fort Tilden

T.V. Series
Game of Thrones, Season 6
Looking, The Complete Series
Wentworth, Series 1
The Mindy Project, Season 4
Better Call Saul, Season 2 gots6

57th & 9th by Sting
Long Live the Angels by Emeli Sande
Simply Christmas by Leslie Odom Jr.
Jessica Rabbit by Sleigh Bells
Goodnight City by Martha Wainwright
Slugger by Sad13

No Man’s Land by David Baldacci
Catalyst by James Luceno
Mistletoe Secret by Richard Paul Evans
The Sleeping Beauty Killer by Mary Higgins Clark & Alafair Burke
Chaos by Patricia Cornwell
Superficial by Andy Cohen
Settle for More by Megyn Kelly

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Remembering Leonard Cohen

News broke a few days ago that singer, songwriter, and poet Leonard Cohen had passed away at the age of 82.

If you’re looking to reflect back on Leonard Cohen’s talent, here are some titles you can check out from the library.


The Best of Leonard Cohen (1975) cant-forget

Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour (2015)

Dear Heather (2004)

I’m Your Man (1988)

Live in London (2009)

More Best of Leonard Cohen (1997) im-your-man

Old Ideas (2012)

Popular Problems (2014)

You Want it Darker (2016)

Films live-in-london

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (2006)

Live in London (2009)


Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters by Leonard Cohen (2014) book-of-longing

The Favorite Game: A Novel by Leonard Cohen (2003)

Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen (2006)

Leonard Cohen Anthology (1991)

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New Releases 11/8

Movies indignation
Sausage Party
Morris from America

T.V. Series
Into the Badlands, Season 1
Turn: Washington Spies, Season 3
Black Sails, Season 3 turn-s3
Billions, Season 1

This House is Not for Sale by Bon Jovi
Black America Again by Common
Here by Alicia Keys
A Wonderful World by Susan Boyle
If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home by Now by The Chris Robinson Brotherhood this-house-is-not-for-sale
Eternally Even by Jim James
Now That’s What I Call Music 60

This Was a Man by Jeffrey Archer
Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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