And so this is Christmas. A time for movies. Well, it is always a time for movies, right? Okay, a time for family and friends and loved ones. A time for being generous and kind to all around us. Shouldn’t we be doing that anyway? Anyway, yeah, Christmas is a time for presents and blessings and celebrating. And it is a time for putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. Saying that, that time for us at home came early November. Speaking of Christmas trees, Stanley Kubrick had a fascination with them in his final film Eyes Wide Shut – as a bonus, take a look for yourself.
Like I discussed with the television sister-piece, I am still not even aware of what movies are on the scheduling this year. While I have a look, I urge you to take a look at these five great Christmassy scenes that don’t tend to appear on Best Of lists. And I mean watch them – totally worth it.
Christmas is a time for finding yourself, and discovering who are your allies and who are your enemies. And a time for kisses. Though not quite the kind of kiss that Catwoman (the superbly cast Michelle Pfeiffer) gives Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns – though I would hope it had similar bursts of electricity. Figuratively speaking. This great scene at the movie’s close shows the apparent demise of Batman’s (Michael Keaton) enemies. I am surely not the only one who truly feels for The Penguin (Danny DeVito) as he mutters his last words, crumples over, before his penguins take him away. That said, Burton still delivers a genuine feel for the festive season, albeit a dark one. Holy melancholy Christmas Batman.
Christmas is a time for donning Santa suits, and having a good ol’ song and a dance. That, or how can we have a Christmas list without Santa’s Little Helpers? The Tina Fey adaptation Mean Girls is not a Christmas movie per se, but it does have four mean Santa girls jigging to Jingle Bell Rock. Mean Girls did sound like your run of the mill chick flick at the time, but it really is not. It has a depth and genuine laughs in it’s comedy (and a little bit of heart). Not to mention early big screen glimpses of the likes of Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried, and Lizzy Caplan – as well as the aforementioned Fey and Amy Poehler from Saturday Night Live. Totally fetch.
Christmas is about the discovery of joy and good will. And it is not deliberate that we have a Tim Burton film again. One of the many plus points of the animated The Nightmare Before Christmas is that you can watch it around Halloween, then go ahead and watch it again at Christmas. At least we would in my house. Jack Skellington is about to go on a personal journey from scaring people to, well, bringing joy of course. It is the elements of a cracking good musical, comedy and is a real inventive spookfest. Too spooky for kids? I may let you know if I sit down this Christmas to watch this with my little daughter. Good feeling all round.
Christmas is about finding it in your heart to express your intentions, and how you truly feel about someone. And the great James Stewart really knows how to express himself. He played characters like the one in It’s a Wonderful Life who were elaborate and enthusiast – an every man. Here, I have not opted for him running the Christmas lit streets, or reuniting with his family when Clarence gets his wings. No, this scene is when George Bailey (Stewart) conveys to Mary (Donna Reed) how he would give her the moon. You don’t hear people talking about this moment, but they should be talking about – it is one of my favorites. Wonderful indeed.
Christmas is a time to break down your cruel and pessimistic side, and really feel the hope and elation of Christmas. And Frank Cross (a literally show-stopping Bill Murray) in Scrooged is not only redeemed at the end, but he is able and willing to share his delight with everyone (via the medium of television no less). The impact of this euphoric monologue is like no other Scrooge tale seen on film, because it is a modern day re-telling that we can access and embrace quite freely. I have shed tears by the time little Calvin breaks his own silence. And it is testament to a clearly great actor, eyes full of water himself, that we witness Cross being so passionate here that it could almost be Murray himself making the plea. God bless us every one.