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When we think of holiday classics, It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street automatically pop into our heads. Rom-coms don’t typically come to mind, unless it’s Love Actually – but let’s face it, that’s gotten a little old. No, when we think about holly jolly movie cheer, we don’t typically think about Sandra Bullock jumping onto the tracks to save innocent businessmen from oncoming trains. While You Were Sleeping is not only the perfect rom-com, but also the holiday classic that has it all – love, laughs, tears, Christmas spirit, and Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows.
Why is it a Christmas classic?
Jon Turteltaub’s Ability to Lift the Human Spirit
Before you roll your eyes just think about it for a second. Remember The Kid? Yes, that Disney movie where Bruce Willis’ character Russ - a stressed out, middle-aged mess gets a second shot at happiness through a younger version of himself. Don’t deny it, Rusty (Spencer Breslin), made everyone cry at the end. Or how about Cool Runnings? We were rooting and shouting for the Jamaican bobsled team like we were standing on the sidelines the whole time, even though we already knew the real-life ending. Turteltaub was the perfect pick to direct While You Were Sleeping, not only because he helped make Sandra the star she is today, but also because he tricked us into rooting for the guy who wasn’t in a coma! During the holiday season!
Sandy is the Ultimate Girl Next Door
Sandra Bullock has a knack for relating to the Plain Jane every-woman – and she always manages to do so in the most genuine way possible, especially in While You Were Sleeping. Lonely Lucy has to work her transportation authority token booth on Christmas because she’s the only employee without family. But this doesn’t stop her from trying to make the most from a melancholy situation. Our hearts break for her as she pathetically decorates her tree in her cheerless apartment while her cat looks on. Yet, she’s so adamant about making Christmas count and her spirit is so contagious, we realize that this is what the holidays are all about – making them count.
That Scene on the Ice
Sexual tensions were running so high between the two from the romantic walk home, it's a shock the ice didn't melt below them. Sorry Peter, your brother has you beat in the suave department. With the combination of a dreamy score from Randy Edelman and those Christmas lights hanging all around, who would be able to stop themselves from falling in love with Bill Pullman?
...and this scene.
Jack Warden's character finds out Lucy's secret from the start and lets her confide in him, like an adorable, adoptive father-figure. Saul is the thread that keeps the family and Lucy together, despite all of the dysfunction and miscommunication.
A Family of Strangers
As soon as they find out that Lucy saved Peter's life, they welcomed her with open arms, without question. Well, after all, she is his "fianceè." Also, if Everybody Loves Raymond has taught us anything, it's that we all want Peter Boyle as our father-in-law.
So after you marathon A Christmas Story, shake up tradition a little and put on this underrated holiday gem.