Seven Great Actors with Merrimack Valley Ties Who Starred in Holiday Movies and One Great Holiday Movie
ONE: Adam Sandler, “Jack and Jill”
While several of the movies on this list deal with a certain Santa-centric holiday in late December, this one proves that Thanksgiving can be mined for comedic gems. After all, the likelihood is high on that day that people will see family members they desperately avoid all year. “Jack and Jill” (2011) stars Adam Sandler, born in New York but raised in Manchester, N.H. Known for his unique and hilarious roles, this time around he plays the roles of both brother and sister twins. It’s funny, and even funnier after a few glasses of eggnog.
TWO: Seth Meyers, “New Year’s Eve”
“New Year’s Eve” (2011) unfolds in a series of interconnected vignettes featuring a huge ensemble cast, including Halle Berry, Robert De Niro and Jessica Biel, along with Seth Meyers, a former resident of Bedford, N.H. Meyers plays Griffin Byrne, a scheming husband who’s hoping his pregnant wife can produce the first baby of the year and thus earn him enough money to pay off his student loans.
THREE: Mandy Moore, “Christmas in Conway”
Although Mandy Moore didn’t spend much time in Nashua, N.H., she was born there. Perhaps most famous as a singer, Moore’s acting skills earned her a starring role in Hallmark’s “Christmas in Conway” (2013). Moore plays Natalie Springer, a nurse who takes care of a woman named Suzy, whose thoughtful husband, Duncan, wants to put a Ferris wheel in their backyard to relive his proposal to her.
FOUR: Bette Davis, “The Man Who Came to Dinner”
It’s nice to know that a great talent like Bette Davis came from Lowell, Mass., my hometown. People consider her one of the greatest actors ever, which is reasonable since she starred in so many classic films. “The Man Who Came to Dinner” (1942) is a comedic Christmas film revolving around an injured radio personality who gets too comfortable in another family’s home. Davis plays his assistant, Maggie Cutler. What follows is a complex series of schemes and counterschemes.
FIVE: Scott Grimes, “The Night They Saved Christmas”
“The Night They Saved Christmas” (1984) is a made-for-television film with an intriguing concept. It features a young Scott Grimes (born in Lowell) and the plot involves Santa Claus’ village being endangered by the activities of an oil company. At its heart, the film is about the importance of family, whatever the season.
SIX: Olympia Dukakis, “The Christmas Spirit”
Olympia Dukakis, raised in Lowell, was featured in the 2013 romantic comedy “The Christmas Spirit.” The film concerns Charlotte Hart, a journalist played by Nicollette Sheridan, whose still-living soul becomes disembodied after a car accident. As a spirit, she tries to convince people to vote against a real estate development in her hometown. Dukakis plays Gwen Hollander, a lonely woman who can see Hart’s troubled spirit.
SEVEN: James Spader, “Less Than Zero”
“Less Than Zero” (1987) isn’t your typical Christmas film. It’s set in Beverly Hills and stars James Spader, who went to school in North Andover. Spader plays Rip, a vengeful drug dealer who’s in conflict with one of his customers. Unlike some of the other films on the list, this isn’t one for the whole family. It’s also unusual in that critical reaction — it originally was panned — has softened since its debut, making it a rare piece of cinema that has gotten better with age.
EIGHT: “The Christmas Chronicles”
Finding an eighth holiday film actor from the Merrimack Valley wasn’t easy, so we decided instead to include a film that was shot in our region. Luckily, we found one that starts and ends in Lowell. The film is called “The Christmas Chronicles,” a Netflix original that was released in 2018 and stars Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. It follows two kids who help deliver Christmas presents after Santa’s sleigh experiences difficulties. ‘The Christmas Chronicles 2″ premieres Nov. 25 on Netflix.