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'The Grinch' Vs. 'Elf'

Austin Bruns
December 30, 2019

Happy post-holidays everyone! And with the holidays, of course, there were Christmas movies.

It seems like every time a discussion arises amongst friends about our favorite Christmas movie, it inevitably leads to an argument about which is better – Will Ferrell’s Elf or Jim Carrey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I’m not sure why it’s so easy to draw comparisons about these two movies in particular. Maybe it’s because both were released in the early 2000’s, they’re both comedies, and each features a prominent comedian who brings a lot of personality to the starring role. Whatever the case, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf seem to have earned spots on many people’s list of favorite Christmas movies. 

For starters, both movies have the underrated quality of being extremely quotable. It’s not infrequent, especially around the holidays, to hear someone shouting "I love smiling! Smiling’s my favorite,” or answering the phone, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” The Grinch is also filled with great quotable moments, like near the end of the film when the sleigh of presents is about to tumble over the mountainside and the Grinch reacts in this hysterically uncharacteristic way. 

“Oh, no, the sleigh, the presents, they’ll be destroyed, and I care! WHAT IS THE DEAL?” 

Or when Cindy Lou Who is about to get swallowed up by the gift-wrapping machine and the Grinch utters sarcastically, “Bleeding hearts of the world UNITE.” 

It helps that they both have a legendary comedian leading the way in Jim Carrey and Will Ferrell and both actors are virtually perfect for the respective roles. 

Will Ferrell is terrific as Buddy the Elf and is able to bring out the child-like joy and naivety of the character, while also delivering the lines with his usual comic genius. His 6’3” frame adds a touch of humor to the story as well. It’s easy to laugh at Ferrell trying to fit in an elf-sized bed, shower, or try to sit in his elf-dad’s lap. Also, I think it’s safe to say there is just something funny in itself about Will Ferrell in an Elf costume. 

While Ferrell is perfect as the Christmas-loving Buddy, Jim Carrey, on the other hand, thrives in the role of the Christmas-stealing Grinch. It’s hilarious (and hugely impressive of the make-up team) that the Grinch costume is able to bend and contort along with Carrey’s famously goofy faces throughout the film. He’s also perfect for delivering the grumpy and sarcastic lines that the Grinch is known for. 

Most importantly, though, is both How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf bring the Christmas merriment that we all love in our Christmas movies. Each film concludes with a main character changing their tune and getting in touch with the Christmas spirit, and that always gets me excited during the holidays!

I know people like to argue about which of these films is better or funnier, but I can’t pick a favorite between these two great movies. So, as I do every holiday season, I just watched them both!

What movie do you like the best? What are your favorite parts in How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf?