Brian Volk-Weiss is back with the latest series of Netflix smash hit, ‘The Movies That Made us’… but this time, there is an alteration.
To upkeep with the time of year and for a bit of a change of pace, this second series is called, ‘The Holiday Movies That Made Us’. That’s right, the two-part docuseries features in-depth looks into two of the best Christmas films of all time, ‘Elf’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.
I was very for watching the series in order, so I kicked off my viewing with the ‘Elf’ episode. What I always love about these shows is the heart behind them, how these films are huge passion projects, and this first epsiode displays just that! We are given an insight into how writer David Berenbaum lost his mother around Christmas, and so him and his father would watch Christmas movies together to ‘heal’. How when he moved to LA, he watched Rankin/Bass movies to replicate the feeling of home.
The story of how ‘Elf’ was made is incredible and inspiring. How a group of guys that had never made a film before, managed to book Saturday Night Live favourite Will Ferrell and The Godfather legend, James Caan, turn Jon Favreu into a superstar, and prove everyone at New Line Cinema who didn’t want the film made wrong. Using classic filming methods and some-what outdated but inspired stop motion to give the filming a charming edge, they not only made a heartwarming father/son movie about the magic of Christmas, but a timeless classic.
‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ episode also tells an inspiring story. We are informed of how Tim Burton was shooed out of Disney because of his dark visions and his oddball outsider personality , who then went and made success with films like ‘Batman’ and ‘Beetlejuice’ only to be brought back. For the majority of the filming of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Burton was busy with ‘Batman Returns’ and so there was several issues, to the extent that all the songs were done, but there was no script!
The episode also informs us about the tedious nature of stop motion film making, getting only one minute of footage a week! With budget issues too, this episode is an absolutely fascinating story of one of the best love films of our time! It is also talked about how Tim Burton was difficult to work with having kicked holes in the wall and attacking editing machines, and how ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ which was initially a bit of a flop, was resurrected by Disney to become a cult classic. It’s also an important film, to those who feel as though they are an outsider, that not only the characters, but the people that made it understand that.
Overall, this is a brilliant second instalment to the series, in my opinion a little short opposed to it’s first series’ 4 episodes, but this series does a brilliant job of not only providing fascinating entertainment, but heartwarming, inspiring stories.
Words by Jack Horsley.