Monday, December 23, 2013

On My Mind: Holiday Movies

Occasionally, I have thoughts about movies that are not connected to a specific one. I wanted to find a space for these among all the reviews that fill these pages. These are just things that are on my mind...

Every year, my family has several gatherings during the holiday season. Usually, there is one big one at Thanksgiving and two smaller ones within a week or so of Christmas (one on each side of the family). At all of them, the night usually ends with a movie or two. Either myself or my sister-in-law usually provides whatever it is we wind up watching. We both try to pick crowd pleasers, which means lots of popcorn flicks. The general rule of thumb is stick with action or comedy. In fact, action based comedies work best. Also, there is almost always a horror flick on hand just in case one of these get-togethers runs late and most of the squeamish folks skip out early. Things usually work out pretty good.

In thinking about what films we partake in as a group when we've gathered in a festive spirit, I realized we rarely watch any holiday themed movies. In fact, I can only remember one over the last ten years. About five years ago we watched the Will Ferrell flick Elf. That’s it. When I put it on, everyone was groaning and ready to exclude me from any further reindeer games. You see, I have been known to make a not-so-popular choice from time to time. I mean, the kind of movie I might praise in a review that most of them call boring. However, I had seen it before and felt confident it would fly. Indeed it did. Everyone laughed all the way through.

Still, the stuff we watch during the most wonderful time of year has far more explosions than yuletide cheer. For us, watching things get blowed up real good is part of the season’s traditions. So is stuffing our face with desserts while having a few laughs at some juvenile comedy. In the biggest offense to my cinephile’s sensibilities, there is often plenty of loud talking throughout. I let it slide. This is not the time for me to shush people. This is the time for us to kick back and enjoy each others company, even if most of the movie’s dialogue is drowned out by our own.

I do watch holiday movies. Every year I watch at least a couple. I almost always find time to give A Christmas Story another viewing, out of my own collection not the commercial interrupted version TBS plays on a 24 hour loop once a year. It is my absolute favorite Christmas flick of all time. Perhaps that’s because it came out during my youth when I was only a bit older than Ralphie. Though I never desired a Red Ryder BB Gun, there was always something I just had to have under the tree. Some years I got it, some years not. The point is, it is a film that spoke to me then and continues to do so. I also try to catch one or two others on TV. And if I’m confident my youngest kids are fast asleep, I sneak in Bad Santa. However, these are all watched at home either alone, or with just my immediate family. When the cousins and in-laws come over, red suits and reindeer just aren't seen.


  1. Will Ferell's most loved movie, surely? So funny and a nice heart. And of the funniest scenes with the 'South Pole elf'

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