Shannon’s Top 10 Movie Rentals For Your Holiday Break


Shannon O'Donnell

Since the weather outside is turning frightful (at least by California standards…”oh no, some drizzle and highs in the 50s–look out!”), staying indoors and watching movies sounds more and more inviting. In our household, we don’t own many DVDs as I don’t like to watch the same story over and over again. However, there are a few exceptions.

I have to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ at least once every Christmas season (and since it’s on pretty much non-stop for the last two weeks of December, it’s not hard to catch it). I always completely lose it in the first 10 minutes of the movie, where a young George Bailey is getting his ears boxed by the old pharmacist for not delivering a prescription on time. When it’s revealed that he had accidentally put ‘poison’ in the bottle instead of the intended medicine and that George had saved the patient’s life, I always cry as hard as the distraught, not-so-sober pharmacist. My other perennial favorite is ‘The Sound of Music’–I was in awe of all of those dancing, singing children from the first time I saw the movie at age four. My little boys often go to sleep to Mommie’s warbly version of ‘Edelweiss’ or ‘Raindrops on Roses.’

You can count on those two classics to hit your local small screen several times a year, but if you’re looking for something ‘old-school’ to add to your Netflix order, here are my top 10 favorites that time may have forgotten:

1) For your young daughters: Anything Shirley Temple. Again, I guess I’m impressed by adorable young children who can sing and dance. My Grammie & I used to watch these together when they were featured on TV every Sunday morning, so they’re sentimental to me. My favorites are Heidi, A Little Princess, and Captain January, but they’re all great! Much better than all the too-sassy shows (‘Bratz’? Ugh!) out for little girls nowadays.

2) For your little boys: Disney’s’ original The Fox and the Hound. I see that a sequel was just released, but the original version was a favorite of mine and my brothers throughout our childhood (the record we had of this got as much play as our ‘Greatest American Hero’ 45!). I love the story of Copper & Todd, ‘should-be enemies’ who remain the best of friends. My brother and I still quote the, “And we’ll always be friends, forever” part that echoes over the hills at the end of the film.

3) For teenaged girls: Steel Magnolias. I know, I know, this is THE chick-flick ‘most-hated’ by all the guys out there. But any woman worth her salt has to see it in her lifetime, and I think there is a whole generation of young ladies out there who has not been exposed to Sally Field’s powerful cemetery scene… the combination of anger and profound grief she expresses upon losing her daughter makes me ‘like her, really like her!’ And when Olympia Dukakis’s character drawls, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me…”; well, let’s just say that like it or not, most women gossip, and this statement sums it all up.

4) For mother and daughters: The Joy Luck Club. This may be my all-time favorite movie. It’s the one I quote the most to be sure. I.E. “you take worst quality crab, because YOU have best quality HEART” and, on occasion when various girlfriends of mine have gone through a bad break-up with a guy that wasn’t good for them, “losing him does not matter. It is YOU who will be found.” But somehow you have to use these quotes with the thick Chinese accents of the characters in the movie, otherwise they lose their oomph! At any rate, the strong mother-daughter relationships of the four sets of characters in the movie breaks all cultural boundaries. I LOVE this movie.

5) For the lovelorn: The Mirror Has Two Faces. Starring Barbra Streisand as the underdog who finds herself, and finds true love, in the process.

6) For those that HATE scary movies: The Sixth Sense. Believe it or not, there are still people out there who have not seen this movie, including some close friends of mine. I try to tell them that it’s much MORE than a scary movie, that it’s a story about everlasting love… a story about our connection to the ‘other side,’ but they refuse to see it thinking it will be along the lines of the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ movies. My favorite scene is when the little boy tells his Mom that, “I talk to Grandma. She wanted me to tell you…”

7) For those that don’t get the Reese Witherspoon phenomenon and her Oscar win (I mean, didn’t she like, just star in those Legally Blonde movies?): Election. Brilliant acting, extremely clever script, tongue-in-cheek black humor. Love it!

8) For those that have never seen a Hitchcock movie: Rebecca. This spooky, suspenseful movie won best picture in 1941. One of my faves.

9) For those that love a good nail-biter: 12 Angry Men. This 1957 masterpiece features Henry Fonda as the juror that forces the other eleven to consider the meaning of ‘reasonable doubt.’

10) For your teenagers who think Lindsay and Hillary run the world: St. Elmo’s Fire. Or 16 Candles. Or Can’t Buy Me Love. Any of the good 80s movies about teen angst! Teenage stars may fade faster than you can say ‘rehab!’, but these are the classics of MY generation.

11) Bonus feature: 24. I know, this isn’t a movie. It’s better. When my husband and I rented season 1 the first time, the guy at the Blockbuster just shook his head and said, “uh oh.” I asked what the problem was, and he said, “you may as well be starting a crack addiction.” Sure enough, Kiefer Sutherland’s ‘Jack Bauer’ is James Bond-meets-MacGyver in this oh-so-twisty-turny-clever television show. I’m a bit partial to it as my husband looks an awful lot like Kiefer; it’s not a total coincidence that we named our newborn son ‘Jack’…!

Alright! Make a good tub of buttery, salty popcorn, and enjoy!

Shannon O’Donnell
NBC11 WeatherPlus Meteorologist


One Response to “Shannon’s Top 10 Movie Rentals For Your Holiday Break”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Here’s another pick, Smallville seasons 1-5. I really like the entire season especially that Shannon O’Donnell is similar to Allison Mack’s Chloe Sullivan charecter as her body double Louisa Hodge from KTXL FOX 40 is her cousin Lois Lane.

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