I have written about my love of Christmas films before. I have shared that I think there are two kinds of Christmas people: Christmas Vacationers and Christmas Storiers. And that I suppose there is even a third type… the Christmas Classicer. I won’t lie, I’ve stopped each time that I see It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street
on my AT&T Uverse Guide.
*Note: I have decided that if I start to mention products through this blog that eventually one of these companies will want to pay me loads and loads of money to keep doing that. Fingers Crossed.*
This year a new debate has arisen. I feel strongly about this one and my opponents feel just as strongly that they are correct. They are not. They are mistaken.
- He’s on his way to see his family for Christmas, bad guys steal someone else’s presents, good guy helps return them to their rightful owners. Great Christmas songs like the rap song in the limo, Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee when the vault opens. Christmas movie. ~ Greg Artkop
- Dead terrorist in elevator, wearing Santa hat, and sign saying “now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho.” that’s a Christmas movie. ~ Gary Rudnick
- Terrorists planning a vacation out of town, visions of 20 percent interest dancing in their heads. Christmas movie. ~ Greg Artkop
People. There is no question it is a Christmas movie. The only question is, is it the GREATEST Christmas movie ever. I say YES. ~ Mark Docherty
Every time a bullet pings, an angel gets its wings. Greatest Christmas movie ever. ~Artkop, again.
Now let me tell you what I think. In all great Christmas movies a main character is redeemed in some way. The truth, purity and joy of Christmas bring about his saving and many times even the bad guys are redeemed through the Spirit of Christmas. They start to BELIEVE in the miracle. Let me give you some examples:
THE OBVIOUS. It’s A Wonderful Life. George Bailey realizes the impact he has on others and the good that he has done in Bedford Falls. He sees that while he questions his value; the people around him never have. And then Zuzu does something with petals and angel’s wings.
THE CHICK FLICK. Miracle on 34th Street. The world-wise single mother focused on her career finds love and learns to trust again through believing in an old man named Kris Kringle. Bonus on this film is that we, the viewer, get to watch a dreamy Dylan McDermott be all manly and defend ole Kris… all the while showing his sensitive, caring side. Ahhhh….
THE EIGHTIES. Christmas Vacation. Do I really have to explain this one? From the Christmas tree lot, to “I don’t know Margo”, to Cousin Eddie… Christmas Vacation is etched in most our memories as a detailed replay of our Christmas’s past. And Clark? Well Clark is the hopeful believer that finally let the world disillusion him. He has allowed
crazy family and work take away the joy of the holiday. But he is redeemed in the end. He doesn’t let any of this get in
the way of the true meaning of Christmas. As the family is led by Ruby Sue to gather on the front lawn, Clark discovers that Christmas means something different to everyone. The finale scene showcases the true spirit of Christmas. A group rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” It always brings a tear to my eye at the Christmas Eve Candlelight
service when the choir leads us in that song. The stillness of the night simply envelop me. It’s my favorite Christmas
PORN. LoveActually. While not actually porn, this movie is absolutely some kind of Holiday porn. It also happens to be my favorite movie of all time, not just Christmas. My sister has watched it at least 4 times this week. I know because
I’ve heard the score and recognized it from the other room. The only thing you need to really know about this one is that they are all redeemed because Christmas reminds them each how they love and want to be loved. For some, like Colin Frizzell… it’s a bit less benevolent… its about getting American ass. Butwhat’s more Christmas than a random Christmas Eve hook up in Milwaukee?
KIDS. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I have to admit that I have never actually seen this one. I am sure that I have broken some sort of Christmas movie law. But I know that the Grinch’s heart grows like three times as big or something. Personally, I think Jim Carey as the Grinch is freaky and that’s why I have never watched it. I scare easily.
THE BELLY LAUGH. Elf. This is a serious front-runner in the Christmas movie game. Some debate could exist that perhaps Elf deserves a place right up there with a Christmas Story and Christmas Vacation. I can’t lie, when he jumps into the tree, I pee my pants a little bit every time. Every time. But redemption exists in Elf as well. The redemption of a father and a son, and the redemption of a Santa and an Elf.
THE BOOMERS. A Christmas Story. This one is for my parents and their generation. I don’t believe there is any debate that “electric sex beaming in the window” is a solid piece of screenwriting genius. As I thought through this one I wondered which character was most redeemed in this classic… was it Skut Fergis with his green eyes, was it the Bumpus’s dogs or was it the Dad? I believe it’s the main character, Ralphie, that is ultimately redeemed. He finds the joy and beauty in his memories and that sometimes with true faith, we can each get our very own Red Rider Carbonine Action BB Gun.
THE CLASSIC. White Christmas. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you who is redeemed in this one. But I know this much…”Bing Crosby tap danced with Danny-fucking-Kaye” in it. And years later, it was a part of Clark Griswald’s redemption. And that is enough.
THE ACTION FILM? The closest I can come up with is Home Alone since Die Hard is not in the vicinity of being a
story of redemption. My friend Ricky has a very different point of view. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was
wrong about this. That Die Hard is “It’s a Wonderful Life just with Terrorists… and Hans.” The terroristsare just as evil as Mr. Potter and are trying to steal money from the people of Bedford Falls. That Lt. John McClane doubts himself as much as George Bailey. And its only when everything is stripped away that he and his family realize their importance to each other. And I guess that guy from Ghostbusters that plays the reporter… I guess he’s Clarence.
Here’s what pissed me off about that… I didn’t really have a rebuttal. Is Die Hard theIt’s a Wonderful Life of my generation?
Shit. Die Hard might actually be a Christmas Movie.
And then, one of the contributing editors of thisblog provided me with very sound rationale about why it might not
be… Die Hard has sequels. Christmas movies don’t have sequels.
Contributing Editors: Steve Pitlik and Ricky Brennes