Christmas Movies!

Y'all, I'm up to my ass in Ho, Ho, Ho at the moment, and, while I'm definitely up to the Mommy designation of my job title, I'm having a hard time coming up with much Smarty. Add to the madness of usual holiday prep the unfortunate confluence of my Smartner getting a stomach bug, my little Smartling's matching stomach bug (complete with violent projectile puking IN THE CAR), and my own brutal migraine that necessitated an emergency shot in the butt, and I've got nothing left. Shoot, I should offer my older, healthy Smartling today's publication slot because she's the last Smarty standing, but she'd just write about elves and Santa and magic and reindeer and...

Ha! Wait! That's what I'm writing about! Because the only thing getting us through this crisis of busyness and ill health are Christmas movies! (And saltines! And weak tea! AND BUTT BANDAIDS!)

1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

This is a movie the whole family agress is fantastic. My little Smartling loves Rudolph with a red-hot passion. My older one thinks Clarice is the tits (Why, I don't know. Because my girl is desperately searching for a female character to identify with, and Clarice is the best the movie has to offer. How sad. How very sad.). And me? I'm a Yukon Cornelius gal from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. I grew up giddily repeating "BUMBLES BOUNCE!," and I'm raising my girls in the grand tradition of celebrating the springiness of a toothless yeti. It's the best birthday present I can think of to offer our Prince of Peace.

Christmas-Birthday-Pool party? Let me get my tanga! (Image Source)

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (original, not Jim Carrey)

Hot off the wild success of her Evil Queen costume, my littlest Smartling has thrown herself into a deep fetishization of all things evil. And thus, she loves the Grinch. Not just the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but the Grinch himself. Because he's evil. And he steals Christmas. She does not acknowledge that he makes good at the end of the movie and gives Christmas back. Her memory of the movie stops at him stealing Christmas.

You guys, I'm scared. SEND HELP.

3. The Legend of Frosty the Snowman

Holy shit, you guys, did you know that there's an updated version of Frosty that stars Burt Reynolds as the narrator and is all about noncomformity and anti-fascism? BECAUSE THERE IS. AND IT HAS THE BANDIT IN IT. It's on Netflix now, and it's leagues better than the original Frosty, which freaked me out when I was a kid because Karen kept almost dying, which was only prevented by Frosty almost dying, and WHAT KIND OF CARTOON IS THIS TO SHOW TO CHILDREN AT CHRISTMASTIME? Anyway, Bandit fixed it. Like he fixes most things. Over and out, good buddy.

Bandit's best friend's nickname? SNOWMAN. For reals. No joke. (Image Source)

4. It's a Wonderful Life

Things that are true about It's a Wonderful Life that you won't understand if you haven't seen the movie, so you should go see it. (And if you haven't seen the movie, well, then I'm not sure there's hope for you anyway. Go see the movie. Get some hope for yourself.):

  • My Smartner and I do a bang-up impersonation of the scene in which George and Mary finally get their act together and start smooching while on the phone to Sam "Hee-Haw" Wainwright. You know the one. The "I don't want any groundfloors..." "George! George!" "Mary! Mary!" one? It's awesome. Awkwardly, I also do a bang-up impersonation of this scene with a former film-loving student, but from across a desk and without the touching and kissing parts.* One finds one's talents in strange places.

  • Adorably, my mother-in-law brought us a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a box of salt when we moved in to our first house, like George and Mary give to the Martinis when they move into their first home.

  • Adorably, I announced my first pregnancy to my in-laws by telling them that my Smartner "lassoed a stork," like how Mary tells George that she's expecting.

  • You know how Zuzu says that every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings? I once told a handful of students that every time you fart, an angel poops its pants.**

You should watch this movie. Do it for your soul. Do it for the season. Do it so you can get these jokes.

5. White Christmas

My Smartner hates all musicals but one with a writhing, fervid passion. The one that gets a reprieve from his loathing is, bizzarely White Christmas. He loves it. LOVES IT. Thus, I get to watch it at least once a year. It's not bad. Some parts are actually really great. Like this scene in which Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney dine on liverwurst sandwiches and buttermilk, sing insipid tautologies at each other, then make out with liverwurst and buttermilk breath.

Also, THIS DRESS. Good lord. Get me one. Get me one now.

It out-Gildas Gilda. Edith Head doesn't mess around. (Image Source)

And Vera Ellen's toe at 1:42. (Trust me. You need to see this madness.)

She's MAGIC.

And this fantastic song, which we used to announce our second daughter's gender.

I realize that I pretty much just linked to the whole movie. But do watch it, won't you? It's excellent kitch and wonderful watched with a boozy glass of something after the kids are in bed.

6. Die Hard

I know, I know. It's not a traditional Christmas movie. OR IS IT?

I'm going to admit something here: I don't actually watch Die Hard every holiday season. But I DO revisit "Is Die Hard Ein Weinachtsklassiker," an essay that Danica wrote back in 2009. Quote our Founding Mother:

"Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Let's look at the Christmas Movie Criteria:

  1. Does the movie occur during the holiday season? Yes, the nail-biting adventure does take place on Christmas Eve.

  2. Is some sort of hope that had been lost restored? Yes, Bruce Willis realizes that his marriage can be saved.

  3. Is overt capitalism shunned in favor of a more egalitarian ethic? Yes, evil Germans who want to steal American stocks/bonds are destroyed so the common everyday man can enjoy the simple pleasures of family.

From the above, I can reluctantly conclude that Die Hard is, indeed, a Christmas movie."

Festive. (Image Source)

There you have it! An excuse to cuddle up on the couch, get cozy with some buttermilk and liverwurst, and absorb some holiday cheer. Happy holidays, friends.

* This student and I would also act out the dialogue from the scene in Godfather 2 where Kay tells Michael she had an abortion. Not best pedagogical practices, I'm sure, but when someone loves the movies you love, it's hard not to start throwing lines at each other. He is now getting a PhD in English. I couldn't be prouder of him.

**Perhaps I was not as professional an educator as I ought to have been. Perhaps it was just a little bit worth it.