Monday, December 22, 2008

When is a Christmas movie a Christmas movie?

Tis (read: it is) the season when many holiday films are broadcast on television. Scrooged, It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Bad Santa, A Christmas Story, Santa Claus: The Movie, Jingle All the Way, etc., etc., etc. I'm sure you can rattle off more.

Sometimes, a movie gets lumped in with Christmas just because it takes place during the holiday season. The Santa Clause, starring Tim Allen, is obviously a Christmas movie, because if you take the Christmas aspects away from the film, it does not stand on its own. It can't. It's about Santa. Well, I guess it could stand on its own, but it would just be about a man that gets really fat, talks to dwarves and delivers presents to children. It really changes the feel of the film.

However, a film like Die Hard is often grouped together with other Christmas productions, but Die Hard doesn't need Christmas. Bruce Willis can fight terrorists any time of year. It's not like he's killing Hans with a sharpened candy cane or grenades of holly.

There are some gray areas. It's a Wonderful Life and Home Alone could be arguable. Certainly Home Alone could have worked in the summer time if you replace ornaments with martini glasses. It's a Wonderful Life may need that Christmas thing more than Home Alone, but suicide and angels are hardly only for Christmas.

Overall, it makes me wonder, what is the true meaning of Christmas movies? I think, during this special time of year, it is a question all of us should reflect on.


Gorilla Bananas said...

In Britain, there was a WW2 movie called The Great Escape which used to be shown every Christmas. Long films work well because people feel like plunking on a sofa for three hours after eating too much.

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ChrisV82 said...

GB - Steve McQueen is a holiday present worth sharing with the whole family.

SC - Were they not able to get the rights to the Grinch?

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