You have the tree picked out, every box of yard decorations categorized, and the yuletide music at full blast. Now all you need are some choice movies to fully embrace the reason for the season. At this time of year, more than any other (with Halloween as a possible exception), we use films as a way of connecting to that elusive holiday spirit. Per tradition, I know I will dust off a few titles on my shelf for their annual viewing. You can also grab friends and family and head to one of the local theaters serving up nostalgia in the coming weeks.
Tacoma's Blue Mouse Theatre kicks things off Dec 1 with a classic, 1954's White Christmas. Director Michael Curtiz shrugs off the cynicism in his Casablanca and plunges into this unabashedly sentimental musical starring Bing Crosby. The teary finale makes the singing and dancing near worth it.
As part of the Proctor Holiday Fest, the Blue Mouse will host a free screening of Santa Clause 2 on Dec. 3. Patrons that day are asked to donate food and/or cash to FISH (Friends In Service of Him) Food Bank of Pierce County. Contributions will carry over to Dec. 8 for a screening of It's a Wonderful Life (regular admission prices apply). If the sight of friends bringing money to bankrupt George Bailey doesn't move you to give, you're worse than crusty old Mr. Potter.
Everyone should make Wonderful required viewing at least once a year, preferably with a large group. In case you miss the Blue Mouse showing, it plays again Dec. 22 at Puyallup's Liberty Theater, the last in a holiday series that includes the hilarious National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (Dec. 20) and A Christmas Story (Dec. 21). Each film runs in the afternoon and evening, with a full dinner provided for the later crowd.
The Grand Cinema will also host its own wintertime treats. Begin by throwing some animation into your diet and feast on the eye candy of The Polar Express (Dec. 4 and 6). Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, a strangely good gift from Finland, returns to the Grand Dec. 11 and 13. Finally, another Santa story comes to town Dec. 18 and 20 with the original 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street.
Whether you lean toward sincere, sappy or silly, let these movies sweeten your season.