I was a little grumpy last holiday season, McBoners. Sorry about that. I guess that poor guy getting trampled at Wal-Mart sort of set me off. Happily, this year all is well with the world. Without anything negative to blog about, it's about time to start popping the Christmas movies into the old DVD player, pull on that favorite sweater and throw a few logs on the fire. Eggnog anyone?
Unlike Christmas music, which basically turns my stomach with very, very, very few exceptions, I actually enjoy Christmas movies. You have to be careful, though. Getting stuck with the wrong Christmas movie can be a fatal mistake.
However, some Christmas movies I look forward to watching with my gal every year. Here is a short list of McBone-certified Christmas flicks:
1. It's a Wonderful Life - The quintessential expression of Capra-corn and the ultimate Christmas movie, Alex and I have watched this one about 8 years in a row. I love it more every time. Who wouldn't love the sight of Jimmy Stewart alternately defending his town against that scoundrel Potter (second only to Darth Vader on my list of movie villains), inadvertently(?) removing the robe of a nubile Donna Reed, cussing out his four brats and tearing like a crazed lunatic through Bedford Falls shouting "Merry Christmas!" to every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Bert and Ernie) he happens upon? No one I can think of. Too many great moments to count. Official McBone Rating: 5.0 McBones.
2. A Christmas Story - The desires of a child burn with the fire of a million suns, and few films capture that terrible, wonderful emotion so well as A Christmas Story. I first saw this picture as a kid coveting a holy grail present of my own...
...so I can really relate to Ralphie and his yen for a Red Rider BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. Scott Farkus (Yellow eyes! He had yellow eyes! So help me god, yellow eyes!) once dined at the restaurant where I worked (his eyes were not yellow, disappointingly). That it was filmed in Cleveland only seals its rating: 5.0 McBones.
3. Miracle on 34th St. - Edmund Gwenn is an acting genius, and casting him in the role of Santa Claus was an equal stroke of genius. Maureen O'Hara's acting, on the other hand, is so exquisitely wooden, so amateurish, so bad, that it actually reaches the transcendent. This movie has a near perfect balance of cloying sweetness and genuine hilarity, and you simply can't beat the trailer. 4.5 McBones.
4. Bad Santa - Billy Bob Thornton boozing, cussing and pissing himself as the ultimate Mall Santa/ thief/ sociopath who meets his match in a hopeless, doughy dope of kid. The most vile and offensive of Christmas movies somehow has a heart, granted it is a diseased and rotten heart covered with flies and maggots. 4.0 McBones.
5. Scrooge - Ugh. I can't believe this is on my list. I hate musicals almost as much as I hate Christmas music, and some of the songs in this movie really make me sick, but with Albert Finney as Scrooge and my all-time favorite actor, Alec Guinness, as Jacob Marley, Scrooge has to be my no. 1 take on a too-oft-told story. 3.5 McBones.
6. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The Dr. Seuss classic narrated by Boris Karloff! These songs don't bother me partly because I could never hate a song about a triple-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce. 4.0 McBones.
7. Black Christmas. An unseen killer whacks Margot Kidder and then terrorizes the most beautiful woman to ever grace a film, Olivia Hussey. 3.5 McBones.