Classic Christmas movies with a Utah Valley twist

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Polar-Express

Here are some beloved Christmas movies — with a distinct Utah Valley twist — you may have missed, but can watch during the holidays. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll fall asleep in your grandma’s fruit cake.

An Algie Brown Christmas

BYU running back Algernon Brown discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Hilarity ensues when Lucy fakes a handoff, sending Algie tumbling to the snowy turf while muttering, “Good Grief!” Meanwhile, Snoopy gets in a sparring match with Cosmo.

Polar Express

Just days before Christmas, the heater on the UTA FrontRunner from Salt Lake County to Utah County malfunctions. It gets so cold on board that passengers stage an impromptu Cuddle Party.

The Little Drummer Girl

A biopic about Elaine Bradley, the drummer for the Provo-based band, Neon Trees. The film also explains the origin of the group’s name — inspiration struck when the band was opening gifts around a larger-than-life, blinking Christmas tree in Las Vegas.

Mr. Kruger’s Christmas

On Christmas Day, Cleveland Browns linebacker Paul Kruger — who played quarterback at Timpanogos High in Orem before being turned into a defensive player at the University of Utah — has a career-day with six sacks and he sends the opposing quarterback out of the game with a lacerated spleen. Heartwarming for the whole family.

Miracle on University Parkway

In this Christmas classic, the hope of a young girl who is questioning the existence of Santa Claus is restored by a sensitive but cheery University Mall security guard who rides a Segway. Starring Kevin James.

The Bishop’s Wife

A long-suffering Utah Valley woman waits through long, lonely nights with her six, flu-ravaged children as her husband, the local bishop, burns the late night oil taking care of tithing settlement for ward members.

It’s A Wonderful Life

The Las Vegas Bowl sees all of its Christmas wishes come true when it invites BYU and Utah to play in its annual bowl game in December. In a poignant scene, Cougar and Ute fans put aside their bitter rivalry and come together at Sam Boyd Stadium, locking arms and singing “Joy To The World” before kickoff. This movie reminds viewers that every time an official blows his whistle, an angel get his wings.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

In this frightening documentary, hundreds of Utah County shoppers share harrowing tales of waking up in the middle of the night to hit the malls on Black Friday. Cameras follow some shoppers who are sent to the emergency room after getting pushed, shoved, slugged, cold-cocked and hip-checked while trying to snatch the last “Doc McStuffins Take Care of Me Lambie” at the Cedar Hills Wal-Mart.

How The Utah County Commissioners Stole Christmas

Utah County commissioners unanimously vote to enact a 45 percent tax on Christmas Trees, wreaths and mistletoe, making those yuletide items unaffordable for most county residents. The commissioners become so unpopular that nobody wants to touch them with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot selfie stick. Voters get their revenge, however. During the next election, the commissioners are banished to the top of Mount Timp.

Home Alone

An Alpine boy is inadvertently left home alone for an entire week while his family goes on a trip to Europe. However, the boy never notices he’s by himself because he’s either binge-watching TV shows on Netflix or playing Candy Crush on his iPad. He also fails to notice a pair of two-bit criminals stealing all of the family possessions.

Christmas Vacation

Thinking they are outsmarting the rest of Utah Valley, the Higginbotham family of Lindon decides to go to Disneyland over Christmas break rather than during UEA (Utah Exodus to Anaheim) in October. Much to the Higginbotham’s dismay, half of the county also has this bright idea. They salvage the holidays by singing Christmas carols while waiting in two-hour lines for Space Mountain.

Christmas Shoes

Members of the BYU basketball team who have family members that played for the Cougars participate in a hoop-related gift exchange. Holiday smiles all around for Kyle Collinsworth and Chris Collinsworth; Jordan Chatman and Jeff Chatman; Nick Emery and Jackson Emery; Alan Hamson and Jennifer Hamson; Jakob Hartsock and Noah Hartsock — as they present each other with brand-new Nikes.

Elf

As a baby, Buddy was accidentally transported to the Spanish Fork Festival of Lights and is raised by Santa’s Spanish Fork elves. Unable to fit in, the adult Buddy hitchhikes to the big city, Salt Lake, in elf garb in search of his real father. There he is magically reunited with his dad, a grumpy old book seller, at City Creek Center. Starring Will Farrell and James Caan.

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Jeff Call has covered BYU sports since 1993, including the past 16 years for the Deseret News. He, his wife and six sons live in Cedar Hills.

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