Friday, December 08, 2006

On Christmeme

Okay, so I don't really know how many bloggers have to take up an idea to make it a meme, but I'm going to arbitrarily set the threshhold at two. That way, I don't have to feel like I'm copying, because you're supposed to push a meme (see what I did there?). And all told, it's kind of crappy as memes go, but a not-unfun post, so here goes.

Josh at Martians Attacking Indianapolis (which is, as I've said many times before, the best blog name evah) and Stanicek of Pasqua and Stanicek are listing their five favorite holiday movies. Stanicek's are fairly traditional, Josh's somewhat less so, and may I say that at Christmastime, having the cinematic taste of a 60-year-old woman is no sin at all.

I realize that I'm supposed to be bitter and cynical and jaded, and I do my best, but I just can't not like Christmas. The whole Christmas season. Now don't ask me why; I don't quite know the reason... Ahem. Actually, I suppose it's the holiday season as a whole, because I don't particularly care what holiday is coming up next as long as the entire city is covered in candles and little white lights and smells like fresh-cut fir. This is coming from a girl who used to have to spend every Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas dragging a photographer around Lenox Square for Monday's retali rundown - I still love the season. I have been known to do all of my shopping online (to avoid the hassle) and then spend the afternoon at the mall, sipping a peppermint mocha and looking at the decorations and watching everyone else do their holiday shopping. I don't start decorating for Christmas until December 1, but I do allow myself Christmas music starting the day after Thanksgiving, and I never, ever get sick of it. I pack all of my sentimentality for the year into one month, and that month is December, and I am unashamed.

So yeah, Christmas movies are big for me.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - The animated Boris Karloff version, of course, rather than anything involving Jim Carrey and eleven yards of FunFur. I can recite the entire thing pretty much by heart, and I've got "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" on my iPod. I think "You're a crooked, jerky jockey and you drive a crooked hoss" is a fanastic insult. I love watching the Grinch's heart grow three sizes. Love, love, love...

2. Love Actually - The first time I saw this movie, I cried and cried and cried because I was just about two weeks removed from the worst breakup of my young life. I cried for the couples who were unhappy, and I cried over the couples who weren't. With distance and healing, however, I came to love the movie for its general brilliance, the happy couples and sad couples, Bill Nighy in nothing but an electric guitar singing "Christmas Is All Around," young Thomas Sangster proposing to get the shit kicked out of him by love, Billy Bob Thornton as the oh-so-slimy president of the US, Martine "Plumpy" McCutcheon looking gorgeous and falling in love with the Prime Minister, Andrew Lincoln with his "to me, you are perfect" sign... Sigh. It still makes me cry, but now in a good way.

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol - A fantastic take on an old classic, with an excellent Michael Caine as Scrooge and the Great Gonzo narrating. Great music, great story, hilarious all around. This is one of those movies that's as much written for adults as it is for children; my mom's another big fan.

4. It's a Wonderful Life - When I allow myself some sentimentality, I take it all the way. The story is sappy, the kid who plays Zuzu is so annoying, but... I mean, come on. Watching George Bailey realize how much he has to live for? Watching him courting Mary during a flashback? Watching the entire town of Bedford Falls come together to help George out? Classic. Jimmy Stewart rocks my stockings. Trivia: This movie was actually labeled as "subversive" by the FBI because the use of a nasty, Scroogey businessman was "a common trick used by communists."

5. A Charlie Brown Christmas - That scraggly, pathetic Christmas tree. Linus reciting the Christmas story from the book of Luke... Excuse me a moment... I've just got something in my eye...

Honorable mentions: Miracle on 34th Street (the old one), The Nutcracker (the Balanchine version; ask me about my night at the Midget Nutcracker), Serendipity (it's a Christmas movie because I said so), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (that poor elf!)

And a bonus:
Mickey's Christmas Carol - But not the movie. I don't know how long it's been since we had the book to read along, but I don't remember a Christmas without the Disney version of "A Christmas Carol" to listen to as we wrapped gifts. My mother and I know the songs by heart and can and will sing them - in harmony - at the merest passing mention.

Honorable mention: Claire Bloom's reading of The Nutcracker ("Snoooow was fohhhling outside the home of the Staaaaahbaums...")

Favorites, anyone? Die Hard, perhaps?

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