December 22, 2006

Beedoo’s Picks for Top Holiday Viewing

OK, so it’s been done before, and done better. But between this and railing about which Christmas tunes make me want to put out my own eyes (next year), I figured this topic gives me an equal chance to gush about what I love as spitting venom at the total waste of time that is A Christmas Story (I tried to wait, but I couldn’t. I hate that movie. Hate hate hatety-hate boom-titty-titty hatesucks). From the top:

1. It’s a Wonderful Life. We know how I feel (and when I feel it, and how I show it) about this movie. It’s a classic; even as a non-holiday movie it ranks in my top ten. It’s a shame that it’s been sampled so much in various films, ads, and plotlines that people are opposed to viewing it, because if you haven’t seen it at least once you are missing an essential badge on the boy scount uniform of your soul.

2. A Christmas Carol. Specifically, those starring George C. Scott and Alastair Sim. They are both faithful to the text, but I prefer the AS version just a hair more, because the grainy film quality lends an eeriness that most other versions lack. It’s an uplifting tale, but it is more importantly a ghost story—and the ethereal creepiness that scares Scrooge straight gets lost in a lot of adaptations. I am not a fan of Patrick Stewart’s interpretation; I love the man, in a grandfatherly yet vaguely inappropriate way, and Capt. Picard has a special place in my heart, but something was just not right with this version; it kinda sucked. The Muppet Christmas Carol, however, is not to be missed. If you can keep your eyes dry while Michael Caine is crying and singing a duet with his long-lost love—well, you have a heart of cold, hard stone.

3. Miracle on 34th Street. Ah, for a time when a man could share a bed with another man onscreen and not lose endorsements. When men were men—you could tell by their pipes and overcoats—and women were women because they didn’t wear pants, and absolutely everyone wears a hat. Yeah, the oldies are the goodies. I’m aware there’s a redone version of this with that annoying little girl in it—not Dakota Fanning; the one that was annoying before her that we’ve forgotten now—but I don’t really give it credence. On this one, it’s go old or go home.

4. The Ref. Yes, I do like some movies that were made after the advent of Technicolor. This is a lovely modern Christmas tale—meaning, not so much about the fuzzies and warmth, but more about the family death threats, drinking and therapy. With Santa suits! So, probably more relatable than Maureen O’Hara having Santa committed. Plus, it stars a pre-fame Kevin Spacey and the criminally underused Judy Davis, with a pinch of (okay, it’s mostly about) Denis Leary. Good movie for when the kids are asleep and you desperately need to hear some f-bombs, or when you just can’t take the same damn claymation specials again this year.

5. The Claymation Specials. Yeah, well, they’re basically sugar-coated marketing ploys. And they’re obviously dated (and not in a good way)—but you have to remember that ILM wasn’t even a zygote when these were made. Rudolph, The Little Drummer Boy, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town—all made for the express purpose of entertaining children in the 60s. [And all from the same recipe: take a holiday tune, add some biblical references, fold in soundtrack of catchy tunes aimed at youngsters, top with rubicund poseable miniatures. Serves: too many.] These go firmly in the “see them once so you get the parodies later” category, but if you make them a family staple, the most fun for your buck is had 1) mocking them so far into the ground you strike crude and 2) by playing the drinking game. [Rudolph: Every time Herbie says something overtly homosexual DRINK! Every time Clairce doesn’t say something Pollyannaish DRINK! Every time the dialogue is ripped straight from the song SOCIAL! You get the idea.] The only feature of this ilk I recommend for actual, non-facetious viewing is The Year Without a Santa Claus, because of the Miser songs, and the playful squabbling over which Miser is better (Snow Miser, duh).

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Not even the proselytizing of Linus the Gay Priest can spoil my affection for this holiday special. The soundtrack is also a must-have; whether for the drive to the parents’ house, opening presents, or the big family dinner, it’s perfect because there are no (inane) lyrics, just pleasantly innocuous background noise. The other cartoon specials (Frosty, Garfield, etc.) are worth seeing, but Peanuts is undoubtedly the best of the bunch. The sequel is also funny, in spots (again, we’re working with material written 50 years ago); it’s not better than the original, but complementary, and the two together will only run you an hour.

7. Not A Christmas Story. Ok, so as far as I can figure, the deal with this movie is either you were raised on it and love it, or saw it sometime when you were old enough to make decisions and hated it. I understand about loving movies through the associations they have regardless of the plot, but I don’t get people who actually think this movie is funny. The jokes are obvious, and take too long, and the charcters are stereotypes and that kid should have run away and joined the circus or a porn ring or something. “But that’s the point!” No, it’s not. It’s really more sad than funny; I end up crying for Ralphie where I should be laughing, so it’s not funny. “But… ‘you’ll shoot your eye out!’ HA HA H—" Shut up. It’s not funny. Especially not after twenty years, so quit telling me it is, and, TBS? STOP PLAYING IT ON LOOP EVERY CHRISTMAS DAY. ANNOYING. EYES. PUTTING OUT. THANK YOU.

These are what I’ll be watching Sunday evening with coffee nog, my dog and a cookie, which sounds like a Shel Silverstein poem but isn’t. Have a happy holiday of your choosing; I wish you the best, and will see you in aught-seven.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

First: Heat Miser is best. Everyone knows that.

Second: You did NOT just talk about Linus. That Hermie thing was right on, though.

Third: Flick actually did get into porn...in real life.

Have a good'un with the fam. Maybe you'll get a five pound box of money. Or some respect. But probably the money. Much hugs and kisses for you.