Monday, December 17th, 2012

The Best Holiday Movies To Watch This Week, Proven By Video Clips

Zooey Deschanel, when she was blonde and kind of snarly! Will Ferrell in barely controlled hyper-idiotic hilarity. Bob Newhart! Christmas in New York City. An inexplicable subplot involving an independent publishing house specializing in children's board books. This movie has everything good about the holidays. A little entertainment enhancement goes a long way, too.

A Christmas Story is the Internet's favorite holiday movie, which means it is not quite as good as the Internet thinks it is, but it's still very good. I think we can deal with the longing for a BB gun, despite everything. But if not, skip A Christmas Story this year.

Scrooged! Like a lot of 1980s' "classic SNL cast movies," this one didn't seem very good at the time. But in comparison with, uh, everything that's happened since, it's genius! Really.

Here's a movie with "nightmare" in the title that is actually not terrifying. Yes, of course, eventually anti-aircraft guns are used to shoot "Santa" (Jack Skellington) out of the sky on Christmas Eve, but he falls harmlessly into a graveyard. Mostly this is songs, and stop-motion animation, and it's fun! Except for the violence?

Trading Places is the ultimate capitalist Christmas movie, but sadly all the YouTube clips show Dan Ackroyd despondent with a handgun, sooooooo, think twice, etc.

Nora Ephron (RIP) wrote and directed this 1994 "ensemble of crazy California stereotypes" holiday movie that holds up pretty well, despite how late 1980s everybody looks. But, like apparently EVERY CHRISTMAS MOVIE, this one includes comical suicides and violence, like when Steven Wright puts a gun to his head, because he's a suicidal maniac, ha ha.

And, with that, we will stop, because these are all guns/crime movies. Bad Santa, The Ref, Jesus Christ what is wrong with this country? Did we miss a "good" holiday movie? Please tell us, because ugh ….

14 Comments / Post A Comment

Matt (#26)

What is a George Mason University communications undergrad's Facebook feed doing on The Awl?

IBentMyWookie (#133)

Hi there. Maybe because it's because of Monday or maybe it's because of low blood sugar, who the hell knows, but here goes:

Ken, this is the dumbest motherfucking thing you've done in a while, and i'm including the sale of Wonkette. No, i don't mean the choice of movies (although, come on, I don't care if Chevy Chase personally shat on your pillow, you don't exclude Christmas Vacation). No, what I'm referring to is this American reaction of "Oh, how hard it will be to look at guns! Let's not ever look at a gun again!" which is as ineffectual a reaction to the massacre of a roomful of children as the cries of "let's all go hug our kids!" How about people in your country actually fucking DO something, instead of complaining about guns in movie posters? How about instead of "let's all be sad and upset about guns, but not harness that sadness and anger into anything meaningful, because, you know, whatever"
I know that Ken isn't a dumb guy and he isn't a thoughtless guy, but this post essentially reduces a mass murder to an inconvenience best dealt by puttign the visual signifiers of violence out of our minds for a few days.
Does this comment make sense? Probably not. I'm just really grossed out by how everyone is upset by what happened but only choosing to respond to that grief by saying "no more guns in fiction, you guys!" instead of working to take guns off your goddamned streets.

Ken Layne (#262)

@IBentMyWookie It's not for you, obviously. It's for freaked-out kids in your family or extended family who are presumably allowed in the house while everybody's watching Xmas movies, and nobody remembers all the gun suicides that are usually good for laughs but might not be ideal for some people, at this moment. Where did anyone say "Let's not ever look at a gun again," anyway? Oh, only in your comment.

In the course of throwing together some holiday video clips to give ideas for the Netflix queue, most of my intended favorites only had YouTube clips full of gun violence, which is fine but probably not ideal for this week, if you have someone in your family (or at the house you're visiting) who might be upset over kids being slaughtered in elementary schools. If that's the "dumbest motherfucking thing" I've done "in a while," I've got no complaints.

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@Ken Layne Hiding kids from fake violence while doing nothing to even slightly mitigate the chance that they will be victims of actual violence is exactly the wrong thing to do. I think that people spending the next month, or two, or year, feeling fucking awful and besides themselves is exactly what's needed right now. Or else, by the time John Kerry's nomination for Secretary of State is announced, the news cycle will move past this massacre and fuck all will be done about gun laws.

@IBentMyWookie I've said it before, I'll say it again: we are capable of caring about, expressing our outrage, and acting on more than one issue at once. It's not either/or.

We can be outraged about mental health issues AND want to take guns off of the streets. We can be sensitive about gun imagery AND actively lobby our representatives for stricter gun control.

Christ, I can sit on a conference call, Gchat, and comment on The Awl at the same time. Aren't we capable of successfully multitasking our responses to this tragedy?

IBentMyWookie (#133)

@Clarence Rosario No, I get that that CAN happen. I have just seen, over the past decade, much more of the sorrow than the action, you know? People responding to the imagery and the superficial aspects of tragedy much more than to the sources and enablers of this sort of violence. That's why I get so upset when I see a post about how to avoid scenes with guns, as though that means fucking anything a few days after actual violence was inflicted. It strikes me as an effort to control the most meaningless, inconsequential representations of an awful act, rather than reacting to the awful act itself.

Mr. B (#10,093)

On they used to have this game where every morning they'd post a random still image and commenters would guess what movie it was from. So one day about two years ago the image was a regular old shot of the Twin Towers (the movie was Trading Places), and there was a litany of complaints about trigger warnings and so on. This was in 2010, mind you. So, yeah.

Mr. B (#10,093)

That's an extremely low bar to be setting for Scrooged, Ken.

@Mr. B Scrooged is empirically awesome.

Although the best scene is when the Ghost emerges from the TVs in Frank's office while he's negotiating with his vodka and Tab — just beyond his fingertips — to "come here, if you were my friend, you'd come here".

Mr. B (#10,093)

@Clarence Rosario It's empirically something, that's for sure. Among Bill Murray vehicles from the wasteland of the late '80s, give me Quick Change every time.

@Mr. B No argument there, I own it.

Brunhilde (#1,225)

I always end up watching Gremlins.

keisertroll (#1,117)

Rocky IV.

Maro (#242,289)

That's why I get so upset when I see a post about how to avoid scenes with guns, as though that means fucking anything a few days after actual violence was inflicted. It strikes me as an effort to control the most meaningless, inconsequential representations of an awful act, rather than reacting liquidy to the awful act itself.

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