Ever since I can remember, I’ve been force-fed the standard “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” etc. Well, maybe not ever since I can remember, as I recall watching “The Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Toxic Avenger” as a six year old. Ever since I can remember my parents realizing the choices they make with regard to what my impressionable brain was exposed to, I had to endure the mundane, albeit well produced, crap the masses said was appropriate for the yule tide. While I still have nostalgia for the stop-action Abominable Snow Man (mostly because I grew up to appreciate the works of Ray Harryhausen), I never really got the warm fuzzies from the standards. Let’s make a list of new standards, some of which you may already enjoy as part of your Christmas tradition…
- No brainer, it’s Die Hard. It’s on every list. Nobody actually watches it anymore, but it’s kind of obligatory. Plus, Alan Rickman.
- Ghostbusters 1 & 2. This is arguable, but don’t tell my wife. I don’t know that the time of year is ever mentioned, but I’m pretty sure the first GB takes place around New Years (hence the party a stereotypical nerd can get a ton of people to come to), and I don’t believe the second explicitly mentions it, but it’s definitely taking place during Christmas. Regardless, I’m still going to display my inflatable Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Halloween until the new year.
- A Christmas Horror Story. I tried watching “Krampus”. I made it about twenty minutes in before I fell asleep. In all fairness, this isn’t unusual for me. However, I had zero desire to watch the rest when I woke up. “A Christmas Horror Story” on the other hand, I adored, and it had Krampus done in a much more satisfying way. Added bonus: Bill Shatner!
- Batman Returns. Arguably the most underrated comic book movie of all time. If not for the (comical? sadistic? comisatistical?) portrayal of The Penguin, it may have been in the running for an award or two. I mean, come on. Michael Keaton finally being taken seriously in a role he was born 6 inches too short to portray. Micheal Pfeiffer simultaneously confusing people trying to spell Micheal, Michael, Pfeiffer, and masturbation all in the same article. Those same people trying to master their worst Christopher Walken impersonation. I love Danny DeVito, but…
On second though, this was darker than I remember. I can’t wait to rewatch it with my loved-ones! (Thank you Tim Burton!)
- The Star Wars Holiday Special. Okay. I know this is absolute garbage. But it still has entertainment value, especially for fans of the franchise, if for no reason other than to appreciate how far the franchise has come. This movie was up against what was meant to be the blockbuster of the goddamned millennium, Clash of the Titans! (sorry Ray Harryhausen) Everyone involved with both the movie and the special gave a rat’s ass about it because they assumed it would flop. Which makes this gem even more enjoyable, albeit no easier to watch.
So, buck the trend. Watch something you may actually enjoy with your child. Sure, you may have to cover their eyes on occasion, but that’s a small price to pay for sharing the joy this holiday season.