Tuesday, 25 December 2007

A very merry Xmas to all

Well, merry Christmas everyone.

It's the time to enjoy the company of family and friends, to eat too much, drink too much and wish goodwill to all men. These are, after all, Christmas traditions.

One my other favourite Christmas traditions is to bemoan the overt consumerism that's taking it over, and to reminisce about a (largely fictional) past back when Christmas apparently really meant something.

How far back in the past you have to go to find this universal "meaning" depends on your point of view. In historical terms you don't have to go back particularly far before it stops being a Christian festival at all, and becomes one revolving around the pagan worship of trees.

Actually, yeah, let's do that.

The other great tradition is, of course, the Christmas movie. I'm not talking about Jingle All The Way or (God help us) The Santa Clause. Not the usual sappy Hollywood fare pitched at 12-year-olds high on sugar and excessive brand-name consumption.

I'm talking about those movies where Christmas is simply used as a convenient and somewhat subversive backdrop for some hellish horror, knockout action, or piss-funny comedy.

These might be a few to consider after packing down the turkey and champers:

Bad Santa (2003)

It's nothing to do with Christmas or Santa at all. It's just about Billy Bob Thornton being a drunken asshole. Funny as hell from start to finish. And the fact that he does the whole thing in a santa suit makes it just that little bit funnier.

The Ref (1994)

Small-time crim Dennis Leary breaks into the home of Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis on Christmas Eve. He ends up holding them hostage, but it's not long before he finds out he's the one in danger. For the family, it turns out to be the best thing that's happened to them in ages.

Die Hard (1988)

Action classic in which Bruce Willis braves terrorists, encroaching baldness and the perception that he's only a comedy actor to save his wife, Christmas and the American way. Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker.

Gremlins (1984)

Director Joe Dante meticulously recreates the town of Bedford Falls (featured in that other Christmas perennial It's a Wonderful Life) for the sole purpose of seeing it destroyed by marauding miniature demons. Brilliant.

Trading Places (1983)

Contains the iconic scene in which Dan Aykroyd, after being royally screwed over by Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy, pathetically and hilariously fails to shoot himself in the head. While drunk and wearing a santa suit. We wouldn't see such a great bad santa again until, well, Bad Santa.

Enjoy the season folks, and don't forget to get your entries in for the 2008 Dead Pool.

Email your nominations to me at mattsdeadpool@gmail.com.


Sam Sejavka said...

When I was a kid I'd leave out a football sock for Santa. Polly's mum, who's 35, would leave out a pillow case. Polly left two pillow cases out last night. I know I'm partly responsible but do you think there's a kind of Moore's Law in operation here?