Can’t Miss Holiday Flicks

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and if there’s one thing a fat man like me knows all about, it’s how to be jolly. If you’re anything like me, you’re eating too much turkey, drinking too much eggnog (non-alcoholic, of course), and traveling to celebrate this jubilant holiday season.

And, if you’re like this fat jolly balding elf, you’re so tuckered out from all the eating and drinking and driving you just don’t feel like playing 42 with Uncle Billy Bob, Aunt Edna, and that guy who happens to be seriously dating your cousin until January 2. And, if you’re like me, you’re just too fat and out of shape to join the teenagers for the 25th Annual Alfalfa Bowl behind the old junior high school. There’s really only one gig out there for a jolly old fat man with a graying beard like me, and that job is already spoken for so what’s boy to do?

How ’bout a movie? DVD or VHS or streamed via the Internet, it really doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you keep your integrity by reaching your 36th birthday without having learned to play 42. All that matters is that you plant your happy self on a nice cushy sofa and stay warm while the young ‘uns brave the cold to play their annual grudge match. All that matters is that you have membership to a video store, or, if you’re like me, have an extensive library of films in your home.

Let me offer-up some “Can’t Miss Holiday Flicks” to help aid your digestion this holiday season.

For the entire family: “It’s a Wonderful Life”

One the reasons I’m so fat and jolly these days is in no small part due to spending the holidays with my late grandmother. Man! She could cook. But she also had this television in the bedroom my brother and I shared and there, on some obscure cable channel, we would stay up all night watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” over and over again. To this day, George Bailey is one of the greatest characters ever penned. Jimmy Stewart and Donna Read make Frank Capra’s film a timeless classic. Remember. No man is failure who has friends.

For the boys: “A Christmas Story”

What did I want for Christmas when I was growing up? Why, an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass on the stock and this thing, which tells time. And what did I get? A chorus singing, “You’ll shoot your eye out! You’ll shoot your eye out!” (I got a Daisy BB Gun instead, sans compass and this thing, which tells time.) “A Christmas Story” taught us that the word “fragile” was actually Italian, that we should never stick our tongue on a flagpole in subzero weather, that Palmolive has a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness, and that icicles have been known to kill people. For some gut-busting laughs, and a trip down memory lane, I highly recommend this film.

For the girls: “Miracle on 34th Street”

This movie has been remade at least a dozen times, but nothing tops the original story about Kris Kringle, his intervention in the dreaded Macy/Gimble feud, his battle with our wonderful judicial system, and his efforts to give one little a girl a home of her own.

For the guys: “Die Hard”

Not only is “Die Hard” the greatest action film ever made, it’s also one the greatest Christmas movies of all time. There really is no way to measure just how much this movie changed the action genre but, this time every year, it’s the story that gets me going. John McClain (Bruce Willis), a hard nosed cop from New York travels to Los Angeles to visit his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). Holly happens to be a major player in a huge multi-national, but when Hans Grueber (Alan Rickman) and his European pals crash the party, McClain must take them down one-by-one all on his own in order to save the woman he still loves. Man, if this is their idea of Christmas, I gotta be here for New Year’s. “Die Hard” is rated R and for good reason so wait until after the kiddies have gone to bed.

For the gals: “Serendipity”

I’ve debated long and hard about this movie. Is it a holiday film, or isn’t it? It begins on a holiday and ends on a holiday but nothing in between has anything to do with Christmas. Even so, I decided to put in on my list anyway because, by gibers, I dig Kate Beckinsale. Serendipity is a relatively clean romantic comedy about two people who leave their future to fate after a chance meeting on Christmas Eve. It’s the kind of romantic comedy even a guy’s guy can enjoy because John Cusack and Jeremy Piven are an absolutely brilliant comedy team. They should work together more often.

For adults: “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation”

I grew up in a home where my father would actually ponder, “What would Clark W. Griswald do in a situation like this?” Chevy Chase is phenomenal as Clark, another brilliant character and, although he wasn’t created specifically for the holidays, he certainly makes it special in his own twisted way. The “Vacation” films aren’t for everybody but I think every Dad has a tendency to pull “Clark W.” from time to time. At least, I hope that’s normal. Don’t watch this one on a full stomach and make sure the kiddies are snug in their beds with visions of sugarplums in their heads.

No wonder I’m such a jolly fat man. I’m always thinking about food. Oh, well. ‘Tis the season.