It may be Christmas Eve, but in my family we celebrate a much more important holiday – my cousin, Ellie’s birthday. Even though she’s now in her thirties, we still make sure to make a massive day out of her birthday to really differentiate it from Christmas & it’s truly one of my favourite times of the year.
Her mum (my aunt) is exceptional at planning her parties; last year for example was Nightmare Before Christmas themed, with loads of games including a handmade giant Kerplunk made of polystyrene balls painted with Jack Skellington’s face.
Which nicely brings me to what today’s blog post is about – Ellie’s favourite films. She was excellent taste, though we do sometimes disagree (she doesn’t like Cabin in the Woods???), but she is one of the reasons why I’m a huge film fanatic myself – & she introduced me to Buffy!
So here’s the best of the best of Ellie’s favourites, that I think do an excellent job of summing her up.
A Nightmare Before Christmas
When I think of Tim Burton, I think of Ellie. It’s a film that feels like it should be an aquired taste but somehow everyone loves it? It’s stop motion animation (which is stupid to wrap your head around), with amazing songs & characters & a story: the king of Halloween Town finds about Christmas & decides he wants to take the holiday over & run it himself. Ellie loves Halloween & is a Christmas baby so this is basically tailored for her.
Half a Sixpence
I haven’t seen this film in years but it was Ellie who sat my sister & I down in front of her little television in her bedroom & pushed her well loved VHS copy of the film into the player. It wasn’t released on DVD for years (& I’m unsure if it even is now), but it was added to Netflix a while back! It’s about a couple from different backgrounds who when forced to separate, split a sixpence in half to show that someday they will reunite. It’s a classic Hollywood musical with downright charming songs & a wonderful cast.
As a member of our family of course Ellie loves Disney, but I’m putting Monsters Inc as her favourite because she adores Sully & he was the only character she was interested in finding to meet at DisneyWorld when we went in 2014, & even had him as her birthday cake two years ago:
Monsters Inc was absolute magic when it first came out & it’s still BRILLIANT every time now.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
I ADORE this film – I’m actually writing this post with it on the tv right now. This is a family favourite, & rightly so because it’s SO GOOD. Adam marries Milly & takes her home to his house in the woods where he reveals his six brothers – all of whom decide they then want wives too. It’s brilliantly silly with INCREDIBLE songs & an enviable wardrobe department.
This is one of two films that Ellie always tries to watch on her birthday (the other being Seven Brides). Doris Day is incomparable as good old Calam’ herself, the tough & feisty tomboy, & even said that this was her favourite film & role. The music is so good – it actually won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 1954 awards.
I haven’t seen this movie in years (it disturbed me a bit too much as a kid) but I know that I would love it now. It’s such a heartbreaking & lovely story about a guy with scissors for hands finally being shown love by someone & it just hurts to watch, but Winona Ryder is wonderful.
The Princess Bride
Aside from those massive terrifying rats this is a gorgeous story that’s everything you could wish for from a fairytale. It’s told from the perspective of a Grandfather reading to his bed-ridden grandson, who at first is totally disinterested but grows to be as entranced with the story as we are – right up until the last “As you wish”.
So happy birthday to you Ellie. Some of my best bits of this year have been spent with you & I love you to the moon & back – even if you don’t like Cabin in the Woods.