::Literate Blather::
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
"My Favorite Christmas Movie Is..." (Part 2)

The second part of our Yuletide feature. We asked our distinguished panel a simple question: "What is your favorite Christmas movie and why?" Click here to see Part 1.

We received some remarkable answers!

Dave Zeltserman, author of “Small Crimes”

“My selection is Christmas Time for the Jews, originally airing on Saturday Night Live as part of TV Funhouse. While not a movie, and only 2 minutes and 24 seconds long, my wife and I probably watched this a few dozen times when it first came out (thank you YouTube!), and it perfectly captures the sense of alienation of Jews feel at Christmas -- and yes, we use the days as way to get into popular movies without waiting
in line, and usually end up at Chinese restaurants drinking their sweet-ass wine!”

Bill Crider, author of “Of All Sad Words”

“My favorite Christmas movie? That’s an easy one. A Christmas Story, no question. Why? Let me count the ways.

1. Jean Shepherd. I love the narration, but it’s more than just that. I love it because years before I ever saw the movie, I read Shepherd’s wonderful childhood reminiscences in Playboy (after I looked at the pictures, of course). Later, I bought the collection called In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and read the stories again. I never dreamed that anybody would mine them for movie gold, but Bob Clark did just that and came up with the film that runs for 24 hours on TBS every Christmas and for almost that ma
ny hours on the TV set in our den. Sure, I have the DVD, but the whole family likes to have that movie running on Christmas day. It’s become a family tradition.

2. The setting. I didn’t grow up in the same era Ralphie did, but nothing much had changed by the time I came along. Everything in the movie hits home with me, from the flat tire to the school classroom to the way the kids dressed.

3. The Red Ryder BB Gun. I had one just like the one in the movie, and it was a wonderful thing. Also, like every kid in that day and age, I heard the bit about “you’ll put your eye out” more than once.

4. The Little Orphan Annie Decoder. I sent away for many a radio-show premium. Most of them were just as disappointing as the decoder Ralphie got. I still have my Lone Ranger Silver Saddle Ring. It still glows in the dark.

5. Mouth washed out with soap. Been there, had that done to me.

6. The cast. Darr
en McGavin is great as the Old Man. The profanity. “Frah-gee-lay.” A major award. Melinda Dillon is the mom every kid wanted to have. And all the kids get it right. If you don’t believe me, watch the sequel, done with a (mostly) different cast. Shepherd is the narrator again, but it just doesn’t work.

7. There’s just too much more to go into. For me, this is it, the one, THE Christmas movie.

Second choice: Bad Santa.

Casey Hopkins, blogger, TheCabinet.com

A Christmas Story! Not only hilarious and one of the true Christmas classics, but also directed by the same Bob Clark who got his start with Black Christmas and Dead of Night. Got to stand by them horror directors!”

Hannah Tinti, author of “The Good Thief”

“Usually my family watches the old black and white version of A Christmas Carol, with Alastair Sim as Scrooge. I think it’s still a great movie—very dark and interesting, and some of those images, like the hooded spirit pointing at Scrooge’s grave, and the moment where Scrooge’s sister walks through him, like a ghost, have stayed with me, over the years.”

Malena Lott, author of “Dating da Vinci”

Love Actually. It's a romantic comedy with a huge, stellar cast, multiple story lines and feel good holiday trimming. Perfect movie to watch while snuggled up next to your sweetie.”

"My Favorite Christmas Movie Is..." (Part 1)

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