Friday, December 11, 2009

"Tinsel" Town - Not Exactly Your Mama's Christmas Movies

Not all Christmas movies depict frolicking in the snow, caroling door-to-door, trimming the tree or decking the halls. Some holiday films come camouflaged in genres that seem almost conflicting to this merry time of year.

For example…

Gremlins – a fantasy/horror/comedy 80’s flick brought to us by Chris Columbus, the writer and director who also gifted us with Goonies and the obvious holiday-themed Home Alone. Sure, blowing up an impish monster in the microwave may not spell C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S C-H-E-E-R to most of us, but let’s face it, if Billy hadn’t received Gizmo for a Christmas present, that adventure rocket would never have left the ground.

Better Off Dead – a retro teenage angst movie, also from the 80s – the decade for teenage angst movies – starring John Cusack as Lane Meyer. Although spanning a time frame of an entire school year, when I think of this movie, two lines immediately pop into my head. The first, not seasonally related, is the dreaded paperboy stalking him with the threatening, “Two dollars. I want my two dollars!” The second line confirms this as an unlikely Christmas favorite – Mrs.Smith, Lane’s neighbor and hostess to French foreign exchange student, squeezing poor Monique’s cheeks together to help her pronounce, “Crriss-musss. Crriisss-musss!” Should be on a Master Card commercial because it’s priceless. (Of course, there’s also: wearing socks in the shower, the holes in the cereals boxes, mom’s worse-than-poison cooking, and the Asian racers who talk like Howard Cosell.) “So… get the lead out. That is all.”

While You Were Sleeping – a romantic comedy featuring too-cute-for-her-own-good Sandra Bullock as a lonely heart who has to work Christmas Day because she’s the only one without family. The bright side - if she hadn’t been working that day, her life wouldn’t have changed! The Callaghans are a typically dysfunctional yet intoxicating family full of life with plenty of love to go around. Who wouldn’t have trouble confessing to the lie that landed them in the middle of such warmth? My favorite line? I have two - “These mashed potatoes are so creamy.” And “Lucy…I have to ask you a question.” Out of context, not brilliant. But in the course of the story… ahh…

The Holidayanother romantic comedy I must mention, it’s about two women from different worlds trading houses for the holidays to escape emotionally strenuous circumstances at home. Of course, they both meet potential beaus, but the most touching relationship forms between Kate Winslet’s Iris and her new next door neighbor, a lonely 90-year-old, legendary Hollywood writer played by Eli Wallach, a legend in his own right. Although I garner many positive lessons from a seemingly amoral plotline, I love this movie for one scene… Graham, Jude Law’s character, has two daughters, Sophie and Olivia. They win the cutest-kids-in-all-of-movie-history award. From drinking hot chocolate, to Mr. Napkin Head, to laying under paper stars hanging from the ceiling of their make-shift tent, those two could charm the grouchiest Grinch and the crabbiest Scrooge. “Berry kiss it is, then.”

Die HardOf course this is a Christmas movie - Christmas wreathed with action! Besides the setting, the film is riddled with Yuletide themes - good guy verses bad guy, nobility outsmarting greed, shunned love prevailing through suffering, bloodshed, cusp of death!

Okay, so I’m having a bit of fun here. And I don’t pretend to justify every movie I like by moralizing or analogizing it.

But I don’t pretend not to either. J

Would love to hear your thoughts! What are your favorite unlikely Christmas flicks?

Don’t forget to visit again on Monday for What I Write Highlights. I'm introducing one of my leading ladies who's... not from around here. J

Merry Christmas, friends of Dry Ground. Only 14 days left!

Oh, and remember... I don't recommend these movies to all audiences. Know your boundaries and please don't claim that I suggest you cross them.

(Photos by


KM Wilsher said...

I love Holiday!!! I own it!

How about Queen Latifah's LAST HOLIDAY absolutly ADORABLE!!!!

Okay, unlikely? Well, each year at Christmas the previous years season of LOST comes out . . . very unlikely, YES, but I spend 2 weekends watching last season’s episodes LOL!!!!!

LynnRush said...

LOL. Die Hard a Christmas movie? LOL. The Holiday....I just watched that this past weekend. That movie is sooooooooo good. Makes me feel good.

I have to say ELF is my favorite Christmas Movie. He just makes me smile.

SarahtheBaker said...

You've inspired me to watch "While You Were Sleeping" yet again. It's one of my favorites. I've never seen "Better Off Dead," but I really want to, now!

I just love movie recommendations, and have a feeling I can trust yours. All the best. - Sarah B.