Fairly sophisticated stuff for an animated movie, Frozen became a bona fide classic in large part due to its songbook by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, with “Let It Go” standing out as an anthem for self-empowerment and the realization of identity. And if you overlook the fact you heard that song probably five thousand times, it still has that same resonance, which is why children are drawn to its message, as well as Elsa’ irresistible ice powers brought to dazzling life. When you factor in Anna’s own awkward charm, the power the two radiate together is warming in any season.
Home Alone (1990)
Another holiday classic from Fox, Home Alone remains a millennial touchstone for this time of year, and a gift that keeps on giving. Yes, everyone remembers the end where Macaulay Culkin tortures two bumbling goons (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) as if they’re Elmer Fudd, but the movie has a lot more going for it than just slapstick sociopathy. Indeed, when Kevin McCallister isn’t being a sadist, this film has an earnest appeal about celebrating the fantasy of a kid living by himself at home.
When his parents leave Kevin McAllister home alone for Christmas—it was an accident!—he has a luxury house to himself that he lounges about as if it were a giant playground with free ice cream, pizza, and R-rated movie viewing parties. Things go a little pear-shaped though when crooks try to rob the joint, but he handles that in glib fashion, all while sweetly pining for his mother. In fact, as you get older, Catherine O’Hara’s trials and tribulations to get back home to her baby boy in time for Christmas are as amusing as Kevin’s hijinks. (John Candy! Polka music!! Polka Christmas music!?!) But probably the reason this is a real classic has a lot to do with John Williams’ eternally heartwarming score.