Christmas movies:
December 18, 2001 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Christmas movies: I have noticed that Christmas movies, especially made-for-TV Christmas movies, come in two flavors: someone discovering the "true meaning of Christmas", or somebody saving Christmas. Sometimes the two are combined. Are there Christmas movies out there without these plots?
posted by meep (28 comments total)
 
You DO have a point, but I can think of a few: A Christmas Story - you know, the Red Rider BB Gun one. Oh, and Robbie the Reindeer (similar in make to Wallace and Gromit).
posted by thunder at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2001


A Christmas Story is by far the best holiday movie ever. Best part: Ralphie standing in line to see Santa brushing off the kid in the goggles who won't shut up: "Leave me alone. I'm...thinking."

That kid should be the Patron Saint of MetaFilter.
posted by ColdChef at 9:09 AM on December 18, 2001


Yeah, I thought of A Christmas Story, and possibly It's a Wonderful Life, which was more about what makes life worth living than about Christmas.

Still, as a holiday, how good can it be if it requires so many people to save it each year? Noone talks about people saving the 4th of July or Halloween. And noone is confused about the "real meaning" of these other holidays. What's up?
posted by meep at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2001


"Fra-gil-ay...must be Italian"...I love 'A Christmas Story'. I remember seeing it with a cousin at a theater in NYC.
posted by msacheson at 9:17 AM on December 18, 2001



"The Ref"
--a twisted take on the "Wonderful Life" theme--is my favorite christmas movie. ever.
posted by whatnot at 9:30 AM on December 18, 2001


Still, as a holiday, how good can it be if it requires so many people to save it each year? Noone talks about people saving the 4th of July or Halloween. And noone is confused about the "real meaning" of these other holidays. What's up?

It's the guilt/frustration people feel about the dissonance between ideas of Christmas being a religious holiday, or a time to give to people in need, or a time to enjoy family, and that often it becomes more about greed or a hectic rush as you feel obligated to buy lots of stuff for people.

The 4th of July is "supposed to be" about drinking beer, watching fireworks, and listening to the national anthem. And a lot of people get to do that, so everything's fine.
Same with Halloween. What you expect (costumes and candy) is what you get.

But for a lot of people, Christmas is "supposed to be" a quiet, happy time with family, or time for spiritual reflection and celebration, but fewer people get to experience that.

Thus all the movies about the "true meaning of Christmas" or "saving Christmas".
posted by straight at 9:37 AM on December 18, 2001


the true meaning of christmas is materialism and greed.
posted by tolkhan at 9:40 AM on December 18, 2001


I don't think A Midnight Clear (1991) falls into either of those categories. But it is a really good movie...
posted by dgeiser13 at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2001


Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas,
posted by skwm at 9:41 AM on December 18, 2001


btw, what happens if the hero or heroine doesn't "save christmas"?
posted by tolkhan at 9:43 AM on December 18, 2001


I love the little brother eating his mashed potatoes too. *grin* A Christmas Story doesn't have any of the 'wanting stuff is bad' hype. And it doesn't try to do something heroic and selfless like 'saving Christmas'. And that kid has imagination, god forbid, AND he gets in a fight, and says the 'F' word and he STILL gets what he wants - tsk tsk. (Reminds me of all the casual swearing in GOONIES - very realistic and not 'cleaned up' and 'safe for kids'ized and perfectly... cromulent - breath of fresh air)

Maybe all the 'saving Christmas' stuff came from Rudolph - didn't he start it, what with the threat of Santa canceling Christmas? Hmm. The 'real meaning' thing could be the result of people writing for propaganda purposes - WHICH real meaning is the right one, after all? Or maybe networks use it as the only acceptable drama to get people to watch. I'm not really sure, and I get REALLY sick of transparent writing tossed together to support an agenda. Hey - also - A Christmas Story is about RALPHIE, not about him being some pawn in a drama - kind of. Anyway... must go watch Ralphie beat up Scott Farkas to renew my holiday spirit.... *grin*
posted by thunder at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2001


"Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie!"
"Daddy's not going to kill Ralphie."
posted by ColdChef at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2001


I'm a traditionalist, but I think that "A Christmas Carol" is pretty darn good. The original black-and-white is the best, but the Patrick Stewart one is pretty good, and not too tarted up for a latecomer.

The rest of it, including that little doofus with the bb gun, you can keep (though I do have a soft spot for Heatmiser and Snowmiser).
posted by UncleFes at 9:52 AM on December 18, 2001


I always try and see my favorite Christmas double-feature,

"I Spit on Your Grave"

and

"I Thumb Through Your Magazines"
posted by Skot at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2001


Whatnot: I've been trying to remember the title to that movie for a long time now. Whee.
I think there needs to be a film adaptation of The Little Matchstick Girl:

She's. poor. She's hungry. She sells matchsticks(whu?).
And then she dies.
Merry Christmas! Let's eat!
posted by Su at 10:24 AM on December 18, 2001


I like the old ones as much as anyone, but what to make of the stuff they're doing now? This year's CBS Christmas movie is practically a parody of the "genre":

The "reporter who has given up on love," played by an inoffensive principal from the network's stable of sitcom stars;

The "child in a depressed fishing village who writes Santa, saying, 'I'm ready to leave this world and I know how to do it.' ";

The "struggling writer who just lost his job at a greeting card company";

The "unexpected matchmaker in Max, a mysterious stranger played with grizzled-elf charm by Peter Falk."

It's a Wonderful Life this ain't. It's more like Christmas porn, right down to the review: "For all its Christmas charm, Town could have done with a little more plot and a little less fantasy."

Humbug! :-)
posted by coelecanth at 10:52 AM on December 18, 2001


I think there needs to be a film adaptation of The Little Matchstick Girl

There have been a bunch of film adaptations of Hans Christian Andersen's story. The only one I can vouch for is Jean Renoir's silent 1928 version, which is magical.
posted by liam at 11:18 AM on December 18, 2001


Couldn't link ("bunch") to the full list of Little Match Girl movies. Sorry.
posted by liam at 11:25 AM on December 18, 2001


Die Hard 2.
posted by bingo at 12:09 PM on December 18, 2001


I'd go with the first Die Hard. And wasn't there a movie a while back that had a serial killer Santa?
posted by kittyloop at 1:27 PM on December 18, 2001


Watched Charlie Brown Christmas with my 7-year-old daughter and she was perplexed: "I don't get it. Why is he sad about Christmas?" I don't think that one is o much about the true meaning of Christmas as about Charlie Brown's need for psychiatric care.
posted by Bootcut at 1:32 PM on December 18, 2001


BTW, TNT will be showing A Christmas Story again for 24 hours straight this Christmas.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:06 PM on December 18, 2001


the true meaning of christmas is materialism and greed.


You say that like it's a bad thing....
posted by rushmc at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2001


National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?
posted by amanda at 5:58 PM on December 18, 2001


kittyloop: Silent Night, Deadly Night. I'm not going to link to all 5 of them...

What about Gremlins?
posted by chiheisen at 8:50 PM on December 18, 2001


or that wookie christmas thing?
posted by chiheisen at 8:50 PM on December 18, 2001


Sheesh -- you guys are a buncha amateurs...

Santa Visits the Magic Land of Mother Goose
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Santa With Muscles
posted by Dirjy at 9:37 PM on December 18, 2001


Umm, didn't they "save" Christmas at the end of "A Christmas Story"? When Dad took the fam out to the Chinese restaurant when the turkey was taken by the Bumpas' dogs?

Oh, and my favorite quote is "He lay there like a slug. It was his only defense."
posted by jaustinspace at 10:23 AM on December 20, 2001


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