One needn’t be Christian to appreciate the majesty of Christmas; Buddhists, Jews, Hindus and Mooslims far and wide recognize that in 33 AD, the world became a better place because Santa Claus rose from his cross and gave toys to crippled orphans living in the desert. And Philadelphia, I think.
The infallible truth that CHRIST-CLAUS IS SUPREME has built a cottage industry around the little holiday that initially began as a creative workshop idea of Walt Disney and Sam Walton; today, there are MILLIONS of ways to celebrate Christmas, from a simple, festive sweater to a sweaty make out session with someone who isn’t your wife in the chemical closet at an office-sanctioned “Winter-Festivities” party.
But Christmas waits for no man, regardless of whether they’re sans sweater or grotesquely unemployable. The beauty of Christmas is that it’s the Mountain Dew of holidays: it’s IN YOUR FACE and UNAVOIDABLE!!
Even if the poors don’t have things like “sweaters” and “jobs,” they have television, goddamnit, and the easiest, surest way to get into the spirit of the Lord is through Christmas movies. But there are so many! they scream around their rotted teeth and intrinsic bounty of self-loathing. Listen, pal, I’m here to help.
So without further ado, here are the holiday movies that shouldn’t be missed, this year or ANY year, for that matter.
This 1984 classic tells the tale of precocious 1940’s Indianan child named Ralphie who wants nothing more for Christmas than the heralded “Red Ryder BB gun,” despite persistent warnings from all that “YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR FUCKING FACE OFF, DIPSHIT!” The first two strikes are that it takes place in Indiana, and it takes place in the 1940’s. Essentially, the time and location pretty much mean that the film is set in the 7th Circle of Hell. Seriously. There’s nothing worse than Indiana, and there’s no worse time to be there than in the 1940’s when moms were repressed and dads only showed you (drunken) attention with their fists or hurtful words.
This film—highly regarded by some as a testament to a much simpler time—gets shown on TBS for 24 straight hours, because hey, the only thing better than dry anal rape is TWENTY FOUR CONSECUTIVE HOURS of dry anal rape.
Who It’s For: perverts; sad people; victims of Indiana and/or the 1940’s.
“The Grinch,” as it is affectionately known by assholes of the highest order, is an animated adaptation of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s most acclaimed work, “How Das Grinch Stolen Sie Holidazen und Eradicated das Who.” Riddled with oppressive undertones and illustrated by abused Filipinos trapped in sweatshops, this cartoon is a delight for anyone who enjoys the premise of a monstrous dictator who lives high above the riff-raff and exists solely on the misery of the less fortunate and downtrodden. Legend has it that Geisel was strongly pressured by parent-production company CBS to limit the fascist imagery of the cartoon; the Grinch was shaved clean of his “Hitler-stache” in last-minute post production measures.
Who It’s For: those two Aryan twins who used to show up on Hard Copy; Neo-Nazis; most other children.
This is a really funny fucking movie with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Jango and the chick from Natural Born Killers and Rusty. It’s a sequel to Europe Vacation but it’s weird because in Europe Vacation, the kids were all different.
In this Christmas classic, Clark Grisland is a hard-working, suburban-Chicago dad who just wants to provide a really nice Christmas for his kids and his family, even though his family is way messed up. First of all, Dennis Quade is his drunken, loutish cousin “Eddie” from the first movie. And if you think he was messed up in “Vacation Lampoon’s,” you haven’t seen ANYTHING yet. Cousin Eddie is white-trash, and he lives in an RV that he parks in front of Clark’s house. And Elaine Seinfeld is a bitch and there’s a crazy-squirrel and a cigar and a sewer related mishap and HOLY SHIT, THERE’S BILL MURRAY(‘s brother) as Clark’s asshole boss who didn’t want to give any bonuses which ultimately cost Clark the pool that he imagined while beating off in front of his niece.
Christmas Vacation is full of laughs and good-times, even if Chevy Chase has subsequently grown into the most insufferable dickhole this side of almost any British rock band. Seriously, Chevy Chase is the WORST. First of all, he was NEVER as talented as Belushi, Aykroyd, or Murray. He was just kind of… there. And he has harvested the accolades for far too long.
So in the true spirit of Christmas, I say fuck you, you talentless hack. I love this movie, but you’re kind of a douche-bag. Have fun now that no one but Old Navy will work with you, twat.
Who It’s For: Anyone who likes Christmas movies, anyone who likes laughs, Chevy Chase lovers and haters alike.
It’s A Wonderful Life:
This historical docu-drama is all about the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980’s, and the subprime mortgage crisis of the 00’s, and that’s all really weird because this film was made back in the black and white days before people found a way to add color to film.
Banker George Bailey (brilliantly portrayed by Jimmy Stewart) gets himself into a whole heap of trouble when he begins loaning money to seedy Italian construction companies who turn the funds into shoddy housing for returning war vets. Because he fucked everything up royally, he decides that the only honorable thing to do is kill himself. He’s poised to jump off of a really fake looking bridge when his guardian angel Clarence Clemons appears and shows him what life might be like if he’d never been born. With a newfound clarity, and an invigorated lease on life, he rushes home to his wife and 14 children, including the one who shrieks about “EVERYTIME A BELL RINGS! CLARENCE CLEMONS PLAYS A RIGHTEOUS SAX SOLO!”
And then everyone’s happy, but by that point, I’m already asleep on the couch due to too much nog and because it’s hard to stay awake during black and white movies, and SOMEONE at the family Christmas function has inked a poorly rendered penis on my cheek with an arrow pointing toward my mouth. Ah, the holidays.
Who it’s for: Jimmy Stewart’s grandchildren, every old person you know, Bruce Springsteen fans.
Christmas on Division Street:
Nobody knows this movie, but Christ-in-a-handcart is it EVER one of my faves. It came out in 1991 and was made strictly for television, aka, a “made for TV movie.” It stars Fred Savage from the Wonder Years as a slightly nervous young boy who is angry about his family’s move to Philadelphia. While researching a history project at a local library, he meets a homeless man named Cleve (Hume Cronyn), and after some initial time spent wondering whether or not he was being targeted as a potential rape-victim, Savage decides that the smelly old homeless man is a-ok.
A fast friendship is born (which is cool, because my parents were always SUPER-pissed when I’d bring home homeless old drunks) and I think at some point Savage’s character Trevor declares that this wise old wino is basically his grandfather, or whatever.
And then—SPOILER ALERT!—Hume Cronyn dies and Trevor cradles his frozen dead body in an alley and that’s messed up because if there’s one thing worse than holding a hobo, it’s holding a DEAD hobo. And this all happens on Christmas Eve, if memory serves. HAPPY HOLIDAYS, KID!
Anyway, I’ve cried watching this movie. More than once. And although I probably SHOULD be, I’m not ashamed to admit it. People freezing to death, especially around important winter holidays, is the WORST.
Who it’s For: People who wanted to see Kevin Arnold in 1991 Philadelphia, people who have heard of Hume Cronyn, children who need to learn that people fucking die sometimes.
So there you have it. Five movies that you should DEFINITELY watch at least once a year, preferably around Christmas. Next week, we’ll take an in-depth look at the top 15 Boxing Day movies ever made. Let me know if you need suggestions between now and then.
Happy holidays, and don’t forget to find me on Twitter @StanfordWhistle.