Theaters would usually be packed this time of 12 months with people assembled to observe revered vacation movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Frank Capra’s 1946 heart-tugger often returns to huge screens over the vacations, together with an annual weeks-long run on the IFC Center in New York.
But with many theaters now darkish, followers looking for a extra communal expertise have been compelled to get inventive.
Here are some (largely) digital methods to develop the magic of basic Christmas cinema proper.
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
An annual competition goes digital on the 10-year-old It’s a Wonderful Life Museum in Seneca Falls, N.Y. This 12 months the museum celebrates the 74th anniversary of this treasured movie.
Friday via Dec. 13, there’s a jam-packed calendar of on-line occasions. Among the highlights is a collection of chats with three actors who performed Bailey youngsters: Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu), Carol Coombs Mueller (Janie) and Jimmy Hawkins (Tommy). Jeanine Roose, who portrayed younger Violet and is now a psychologist, anchors a dialogue referred to as “Having ‘A Wonderful Life’ During the Pandemic.” There’s additionally an “Auld Lang Syne” singalong and an “It’s a Wonderful Life” watch occasion on Zoom. (Stream the movie on Amazon Prime, however for the love of Christmas, keep away from the colorized model.)
Comic Con however for Christmas: That finest describes this fan conference devoted to all issues vacation, with an emphasis on the sweet-as-candy-cane rom-coms that rule Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel.
There can be on-line meet-and-greets and chats with a number of widespread actors, together with Melissa Joan Hart (“Holiday in Handcuffs”) and Joey Lawrence (“Hitched for the Holidays”). Panels can be moderated by Jacklyn Collier and Shawlini Manjunath-Holbrook, the hosts of the Hallmark Channel’s Bubbly Sesh podcast. Kids can schedule a digital go to with Santa.
Over 9,000 individuals attended Christmas Con final 12 months, in response to Christina Figliolia, a co-owner of Thats4Entertainment, which organized the occasion. Figliolia stated she deliberate a digital pivot this 12 months after listening to from followers early within the pandemic.
“We had to go virtual. It just means too much to so many people,” she stated.
‘A Christmas Story’
This 1983 household comedy about younger Ralphie Parker and his frenzied quest for a Red Ryder air rifle is the Christmas film for a lot of households.
For a extra immersive expertise, the Christmas Story House and Museum, positioned in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, provides excursions and in a single day stays in the home the place components of the movie had been shot. (Mask necessities and different pandemic protocols are in impact.) Its on-line present store will ship fan merchandise like leg lamps and pink bunny swimsuit pajamas.
The museum’s web site additionally hosts a 24/7 on-line livestream that provides viewers a chicken’s-eye view of the home. When a Cleveland snowstorm hits, the digicam provides followers an virtually cinematic vista.
This 12 months brings two new methods to get pleasure from this 1954 musical romantic comedy starring Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Vera-Ellen and Danny Kaye as a gaggle of entertainers who attempt to save a failing Vermont inn throughout World War II.
A brand new exhibition on the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, S.C., options unique costumes, props and memorabilia from the movie, a lot of it from the everlasting assortment on the Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, Ky.
Short movies concerning the exhibit are on view without spending a dime on the museum’s Instagram and YouTube channels. Among the highlights are Edith Head’s shimmering blue attire she designed for Clooney and Vera-Ellen to put on once they sang the sassy quantity “Sisters.”
For a giant display expertise, head to Chicago, the place the Music Box Theater is presenting “White Christmas” (and “It’s a Wonderful Life”) on a number of dates from Friday via Dec. 24 on the Chi-Town Movies drive-in. Each outside displaying kicks off with a Christmas carol singalong.