First, an updated look at our brackets:
It's a Wonderful Life took care of Miracle on 34th Street in an efficiently quiet manner, and now moves on to face either A Muppet Christmas Carol or the movie I'm currently staying up until 2:30am to watch: White Christmas.
And THAT is our first battle of today's doubleheader:
Classics genre: (2) White Christmas vs. (5) A Muppet Christmas Carol
Full disclosure: I really expected you guys to be a bigger fan of the Classics bracket, and your lack of response has me worried about the championship viability of this genre. That said, A Muppet Christmas Carol is in this "region" by default, only because it's a remake of a classic. To be honest, I didn't even expect it to get past Alistair Sim's 1951 version of A Christmas Carol.
But here we are, and The Muppets, better known for spending the early 80s carrying The Fraggles out of the now-defunct "puppet" conference, have a chance, however slim, to unseat the epitome of every old school, Bing Crosby musical: White Christmas.
Now, take it from someone who despises musicals: White Christmas is not Grease. It's not Fame, or Glitter, or some other awful garbage that some musical theater lover in your life has tried to cram down your throat at some point in your life. It's Bing & Danny Kaye chasin' dames and honoring their ol' general from World War II, and just in general acting the way dudes in the 50s acted: Like men. Add in the facts that Vera Ellen is a fox and Dean Jagger makes you want to go find your favorite father/uncle/mentor figure and thank him for every damn thing he ever did to make you the man you are today, and you don't even care that in the end the whole thing doesn't really have a crap to do with Christmas, or get white, until the final 10 minutes. Vote for this matchup here.
The other half of Friday's doubleheader is a pair of Post-2000 "new" classics that are becoming a staple of the basic cable post-Thanksgiving rotation:
Post-2000 genre: (1) Elf vs. (4) The Polar Express
As noted in the 1st Round, The Polar Express comes back around to the classic Christmas theme of belief in the unseen, and does it through fairly creepy computer animation and the ubiquitous nature of Tom Hanks' voice.
Elf, for the most part, gets by on star power: Will Ferrel, James Caan, Bob Newhart, and pre-"New Girl" Zooey Deschanel are funny stars though, and some clutch cameos by Peter Dinklage, Andy Richter, and Artie Lange keep the thing moving along despite the fact that it could probably be distilled down to a really excellent SNL skit. That's not to take anything away from Elf, but let's be honest: Without Ferrel being himself and Jon Favreau's name on the directorial credit, this isn't a movie that people now make sure to watch every year.
Vote for this matchup here.