I have a suspicion that everyone has a piece of pop culture they don’t want to look at too closely. Something you love so much and have derived such pleasure from that you just can’t face being analytical about it, in case it all comes apart on you. I mostly feel that way about childhood icons. She-Ra/He-Man, Thundercats (holy proselytizing batman!), Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Muppets.
So because I can’t do it, I’m going to invite your comments and insights on a short list of childhood holiday movies. I’m not assuming there are feminist faults to be found, but I’m interested in other people’s associations with these movies — positive or negative. Did the muppets eating a vegetarian Christmas dinner warm the bunny-loving cockles of your heart? Did Hermey the gay dentist elf make you more comfortable in your sexuality?
I preface this by saying that I’m a die-hard atheist (it’s my dream to be banned one day by the Halton Catholic school board). I watch these movies from the secular side of the holidays, so I won’t be pointing out any missing baby Jesuses.
* A Muppet Family Christmas *
Muppets in a truck driving up to the farm? Forget about it. You had me at “haul out the holly”. The icy patch? Kermit in a plaid vest? A fraggle rock tie-in?!
* Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer *
I know lots of people think it’s not Christmas until they watch this movie, but I’m not its biggest fan. I really only watch it for Sam the Burl Ives Snowman. That and decorating the trees in the forest. Do I ever want to decorate a tree in the forest.
And the island of misfit toys? That’s a cool message. I love the irony that you can now buy figurines of the misfit toys. And that they regularly sell out.
* Frosty the Snowman *
I kind of can’t watch this one. Everyone in it gives me the willies. Including Frosty, but especially the magician. Maybe because the animation style has that understated “we were all on acid”ness to it.
Speaking of acid… how about A Cosmic Christmas?
That’s all I’m going to say. You’ve seen it and it’s terrified you, or you’ve been spared.
* How the Grinch Stole Christmas *
This is a similar story to A Charlie Brown Christmas in that they’re both for people who at least start off the season in a bit of a funk. Either feeling like you’re not fitting in, or resenting the over-the-top merriment around you.
I feel for the Grinch, I really do. He just wants to be surly up in his mountain. My downstairs neighbours can be redonculously loud, so I am totally with him on the inconsiderateness of the Whos down in Whoville.
That’s my quick skim. How do you feel about: The First Christmas (claymation nuns? Even an atheist can enjoy that…); Nestor the Long-Eared Donkey (the mother should never be killed off in a Christmas movie); It’s a Wonderful Life; National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation; Miracle on 34th Street (old and/or new); A Christmas Carol?
What’s on your ‘have to watch’ list this time of year? What seasonal movies make your heart grow three sizes? Which, if any, do you find the most inspiring?
Confession: I look back up and see that there’s only one movie I really said I like. Though even if I don’t have a copy of them on my shelf, seeing the promos for just about any of these is enough to make me feel festive. But… there is another movie I didn’t mention that I do like to watch every year.
I have a terrible blind/soft spot for The Bishop’s Wife (original).
As I alluded to at the beginning, I don’t want to look at it too closely. I know I know, you don’t even have to look closely. But maybe someone else can look for me.