It’s been a hell of a year, folks.
This year’s news was a constant parade of nightmares and horror, and it was easy to get lost in the torrent of sorrow. The plight of Syrian refugees; Paris, the City of Lights darkened by terrorism, and then rising from the ashes in glorious solidarity; the destruction of world Heritage sites by madmen; natural disasters; mass shootings; and of course, the inevitable callousness that comes with being inundated with such tidings. I’ll never forget the moment I said the words ‘Wait, which mass shooting from this year are you talking about?’ because there had been too many to keep track of.
So I think we all need a break. We need warmth, joy, family and friends, and to remember the important stuff – and I don’t mean all the shit we just put ourselves into debt to buy. I mean the REALLY important stuff. And so today’s entry includes five movies that celebrate that aforementioned REALLY important stuff. I am sorry they’re all just for Christmas – I wish I knew of some Jewish and Muslim holiday movies to discuss! Maybe next year I’ll have found some.
These are all movies my family gets together to watch. My Dad and I get drunk and bray like donkeys at the screen, and my Mom disapproves but laughs along with us.
Have a read and enjoy!
5. Die Hard – Do the best with what you have.
John McClane didn’t need a team of commandos and an arsenal to take out twelve vaguely European terrorists. NO SIR. Granted, he was a hardened New York City (an 80s New York City, not its current iteration) cop, but beyond that all he had was he had a scrappy, can-do attitude. He didn’t even let a lack of shoes slow him down.
FUN FACT: In the film, McClane tries this guy’s shoes on to find they are too small. In real life, Bruce Willis is about six feet tall. Andreas Wisniewski, pictured above, is about 6’4. While it is possible that McClane’s feet are just huge, I love the idea of the thug having weensy, dainty little feet compared to McClane’s. Because [dumb jokes about footsize and its equivalence to male genitals HURRRR ‘MURICA].
4. Gremlins – Not everyone likes or celebrates Christmas.
Kate’s gruesome story about why she doesn’t celebrate Christmas is only one of many reasons why you shouldn’t go around waving tinsel in everyone’s face at Christmas. I hate how people have politicized the situation and insist there is a ‘War on Christmas’ – I’ve ALWAYS just said ‘Happy Holidays,’ because I grew up around a lot of Jewish folks and knew that Christianity wasn’t the only thing happening in the month of December. Likewise, there’s the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed, which some Muslims celebrate and some don’t. America is a big country full of all kinds of people; until you know what someone wants to hear, you say something noncommittal and go about your business.
Additionally, the holidays can be stressful. Beyond all the financial and social obligations, there are other strains that can be felt – that first Christmas without a recently passed family member, for example, or the first holiday after a divorce. Single people are continually asked when they’re going to settle down and get married/have kids/buy a house/other first world milestone.
3. Bad Santa – Being forgiving of others’ faults.
I’m not saying Marcus needs to forgive Willie for being a useless drunk; far from it! But Marcus knew what he was getting into when he called Willie for that last heist. If you invite a dog who shits on the rug into your house and he shits on the rug, you really shouldn’t be surprised. Whose fault is that, really? Everyone’s trying their best, for different values of best.
I’ve already written an extensive review of Bad Santa, so I won’t spend much time on it. I hear there’s a sequel in the works – I’ll reserve judgment until I see it.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Don’t let the pursuit for perfection ruin your fun.
In National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Clark Griswold is enamored of the idea of the ‘fun, old-fashioned family Christmas’ and puts his family through jolly hell in the pursuit of it. He’s also attempting to recapture the nostalgia of a time that never actually happened, as his own father points out later. There are the standard family moments of fighting, drinking, shouting, and some extra comedic moments of tree fires, explosions, dog attacks, and a visit from those jolly old elves themselves, the Chicago SWAT unit.
Within the mad scramble for the perfect toy, the perfect meal, the perfect gift, the perfect tree, the perfect lights, the perfect ugly sweater lies madness. Don’t go that way… the goal for holidays should be having fun and trying to make happy memories. Or at the least, facing little disasters with a good humor.
- Scrooged – Be good to others.
This is the penultimate holiday movie for me. Nothing gets better than Frank’s speech, so here it is.
Whatever you’re doing in December, whatever you celebrate and whether you celebrate or not, I hope you’re finding some fun and peace, and that you’re feeling warm, safe and loved.
… And if you don’t feel that way, then I seriously, earnestly hope that things get better for you, in the new year and for ever after. I’m sure that they will.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS! 😀