Happy holidays Criqueteers,
As always, these are the halcyon days to sit inside the house and be thankful for not having to mow the lawn again until spring. Yes, the golf clubs lean against the cold wall of the garage, unused and unremembered for a few months, the heads of the irons bowed sadly from neglect. But really, what time place to celebrate the 19th hole than from your couch – bathed in the ethereal glow of millions of tiny TV pixels. I speak, of course, of the holiday movie tradition. Yet, one musn’t go watching holiday movies all willy-nilly. There are only so many hours in the day and there are presents to be wrapped and spiced ciders to be sipped. Lest you end up spending your time accidentally slogging through Ernest Saves Christmas, I have compiled a short list of some holiday classics to enjoy and others to avoid. Here they are, in no particular order.
Disney does Dickens and does ‘im well. Chuck probably never imagined that his beloved tale would one day be usurped by Walt and retold involving an old duck, a goofy dog and a mouse. But let’s be honest, it’s really the only way most of us have ever heard of Tiny Tim and Ebezener Scrooge. America, 1. Classic literature, 0.
Hey, remember that awesome Tim Allen movie where Santa gets killed at the beginning and passes his Santa magic to Tim Allen? Yeah, me either.
If you haven’t seen these works of art then you’re ruining Christmas.
This is the movie we all know by heart, but none of us have seen in its entirety. When does the kid stick his tongue on the pole? When does Ralphie beat up the bully? Does mall Santa kick him down the slide at the beginning or the end? When does his dad get the leg lamp? It doesn’t matter — this is quintessential Christmas day. And the fact that no one has seen it start to finish, and still revere it, is itself a Christmas miracle. Pour yourself a Kahlua and Ovaltine and enjoy this tradition in all its TBS commercial-segmented glory.
AAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHHHhhhhhh…guess you could watch this again. If you really want to. It’s probably just like you remember it. And probably holds up better than, say, Police Academy 5. Probably.
Oh holy night, this movie has it figured out. They didn’t need a script or a budget. Just a loose plotline of Martians kidnapping St. Nick, a lot of heart, and a whole lot of booze at the craft service table. Santa? He’s the star. Aliens? Hell yes. A giant robot named Torg? You’re Goddamn right there’s a giant robot named Torg. There’s also a song called “Hooray for Santy Claus!”, Pia Zadora, a dude in a polar bear suit, and — why are you still reading this and not tracking down a copy already?
And the bad guy alien has a mustache. And a blow-dryer gun. And, seriously, why have you not started watching this RIGHT NOW.
A Christmas classic. It’s a bit like getting socks and underwear as a gift – you know it’s coming, but there’s something, well, comforting about that knowledge. And when you put on those new socks and underwear you think: “well, yes, this is just what I needed.” So when the weather outside turns a bit nipply, grab a hot buttered rum or three, and slip into this one like you would slip into a new pair of Smartwool.
Nothing says “holidays” like a good ol’ Lars Von Trier movie. If by “holidays” you mean “you’ll never spend the holidays near other people again.” So, if killing any happy memories of tree-decorating and gift-wrapping is your goal (you certainly won’t look at scissors the same way!) gather the family ‘round the yuletide big screen, dim the lights and press play on a tradition no one will forget. Or forgive. Ever.*
*Please don’t do this.
Hating this movie is like hating puppies. Puppies snuggled with kittens sleeping peacefully next to the world’s cutest toddler curled up in a warm woolen blank hoisted by a host of pudgy asexual cherubs. Sure, there are a few people out there who would hate something like that. But they’re probably at home watching Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist.
Great Burl Ives’ Ghost, here it is. The best Christmas movie ever made. A tail of tragedy and redemption. Of love and longing. Of dentistry and …er… reindeer aeronautics. Rudolph has top billing, but he’s outdone by the Abominable, the great Yukon Cornelius and, quite possibly, the first openly gay claymation elf ever. The saga of all these misfits is one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told.
One sidenote (noticed in later viewings): Santa’s a real jerk-hole in this movie. Always complaining. He hates the elves’ singing, he doesn’t want to eat, he chews out Rudy’s dad for having such a failure of a son, and then only accepts Rudy in the end when the red nose suits his purpose. Guess you can’t blame him. Guy lives year round in a tundra wasteland surrounded by flying reindeer all jockeying for “senior vice president of lead sleigh-horse.” Still, that’s no excuse to act like the Grinch.
With that I shall leave you to your flatscreens, my good fellows.No doubt I have left off some favorites – Charlie Brown, perhaps, or as one comrade reminded me Gremlins is a Christmas movie, too (a moment of reverence for Phoebe Cates, if you please).
But this should set you on the right path for now.
Merry viewings. And be the ball.