Well, we are fast approaching another Christmas, my friends. I've bitched and I've parodied my way up to here, but this past weekend's snow and the extra twenty-five pennies I found in my car this morning so that I could buy coffee at work have put me in the moodiest of holiday moods. And so, I thought maybe I'd set aside the dick jokes and the drooling over large breasted women for just a moment and reflect on what the season is truly about: Holiday specials.
Now, my friend Joshua, Master of the Technical Parent and all-around nice fellow, has a little Tuesday event he calls "Top Five Tuesday" wherein he lists five things that he likes and gives a short description of them. Since Tuesday was reserved for me
electronically and mentally stroking myself talking about my birthday and the end of the world, I was too full of myself busy to participate.
Well, better late than never.
Unless we're talking about ovulation cycles.
Anyway, since I'm a day late on the whole Top Five Tuesdays thing, I thought I'd break my top five down into two categories: favorite animated holiday specials and favorite holiday specials.
Five Favorite Animated Holiday Specials:
5.) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: There's just something about clunky stop-motion animation that gets me. Well, at least here. The rest of the Rankin-Bass stable kind of sucks. Except for their version of The Hobbit and The Return of the King, but those aren't stop-motion animated. Anyway, there's probably a lesson to be learned in there somewhere when Rudolph takes the high road and doesn't rub it in everyone's faces that he saved Christmas. Way to be an exemplary humble little reindeer, Rudolph. Especially since your name means "famed wolf".
4.) Mickey's Christmas Carol: While I'm not a big fan of the Disneyfication of stories, this one works for me. Probably because Mickey himself is just a supporting character. Oh sure, it's his lame little kid that melts Scrooge McDuck's heart, but we all know that it's really Pete's cigar smoke what changes Unca Scrooge over from the miserly old bastard to the generous and lovable grandfather figure in the story. Tragically, the story of Tiny Tim drowning when he tries to swim in Scrooge's Money Bin is buried on the back page of the papers.
3.) A Charlie Brown Christmas: I know I might have given Chuck the old run around a couple of days ago, but at the heart of it, Charlie Brown just wants us to remember the spirit of the season. And he's got a point. Everyone's pretty dickish the other eleven months of the year, can't we at least be decent during the month between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day? What's that? Not while we're stealing each other's parking spots at the mall? Fair enough.
2.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Boris Karloff's voice really makes this for me, but overall it is the ultimate story of redemption that doesn't involve lightsabres and big, black breathing apparati. I wonder what it would sound like if Karloff read it in Latin! *shivers down my spine* Not to mention, my favorite color is green and I think Max is perhaps the ultimate name for a dog. Put all that together and stir in some Chuck Jones animation and that's a recipe for awesome.
1.) Phinneas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!: Maybe it's that the shine hasn't come off this new holiday special, but I sat and laughed through the whole thing. Whether it was Frosty getting his smarmy ass creamed by a snowplow in the opening scenes or the little cut-scene references to A Charlie Brown Christmas or the not-so-subtle O. Henry "Gift of the Magi" subplot, I loved the whole thing. I even got a little teary-eyed when Perry the Platypus gave Doofenshmirtz some almond bark. Okay, so the tears were because I was laughing so much. Bait and switch, baby. Bait. And. Switch.
And now for the live-action holiday specials! Bring on the eggnog and brandy!
Top Five Favorite Holiday Specials:
5.) White Christmas: No holiday list is complete without the Binger's White Christmas on it, be it holiday special or favorite songs. It's charming, it's heartwarming and it's just a fun movie to watch. It sort of gets your right here. And by right here, I mean in the "...sisters, eh? Why don't you ladies drop those feather things and let's get going" gland. Plus, thanks to White Christmas, every year, I aspire to have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since the Binger tap danced with Danny fucking Kaye.
4.) Miracle on 34th Street: This makes the list because I watched it a lot as a kid. Back then, the miracle of this thing called a "VCR" was new, and my father, being too
tight economically-minded bought blank video tapes and then we recorded the Christmas specials off channel 55 out of Fort Wayne. Problem was, he didn't want to deal with those commercial bullshit (my dad, so Charlie Browny), so I would have to sit there with the remote and push pause to avoid having the commercials in the recording. So, yeah, I watched this a lot. Nice to see the USPS can deliver a shit ton of letters to the courthouse but they can't get my wife's fucking last Christmas present to me on the day that they promised. Cock knockers.
3.) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Did I mention something about the Binger tap dancing with Danny fucking Kaye? I sure did. And when Santa squeezes his fat ass down the chimney, he's going to find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. I've seen this movie a lot, too. It's stuck with me. Now, if you'll pardon me, I've got some work to do. The shitter is full.
2.) Die Hard: What? It's Christmas effing Eve. There's an exploding helicopter, a platoon of dead Germans, plastic explosives tied to an office chair, Alan Rickman playing an evil German (as if there's any other kind), and Notre Dame playing football against USC...though why we're playing the Trojans on Christmas Eve still kind of confuses me. Let it Snow... is playing as the end credits roll. Plus, you know that the kid Reginald VelJohnson shot was Urkel! I'm so fired up, I'm going to have to go find this DVD somewhere. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfuckers.
1.) A Christmas Story: Could it have been any other choice? We dorky white kids with glasses growing up in Indiana have to stick together, and while I didn't grow up during the depression nor did I ever ask for a b.b. gun for Christmas (I got a .22 when I was 12), I just have a connection with Ralphie that's primal, gutteral...maybe it's the blond thing, maybe it's the glasses, maybe it's the hounds (my brother had a pack of hounds), maybe it's the love of romance languages (fra-jee-lay), maybe it's just that the family kind of reminds me of mine, but I love this movie. The building where I went to kindergarten could have doubled for Warren G. Harding elementary, and while I grew up outside of da Region where the movie was set (before it became the armpit AND asshole of creation), I can still appreciate the story. Plus, I had a friend whose last name was Farkas when I was a kid. No lie.
So, there you have it, folks. My top five animated specials and holiday movies. Feel free to dissect and discuss all you want.
I would be remiss if I didn't add this little bit for your viewing pleasure, however. Given the year we just went through, I think this is a touching tribute to a fallen star. Plus, it mixes movies and puppetry, so it's kind of like this post.
And, if I don't see you before Friday, Merry Christmas.