There are a slew of Christmas movies out there, which seems rather unfair because it’s the only holiday where movies are made specifically for it. There are no Halloween movies, only horror movies. There are no Fourth of July films, only historic U.S. war epics. There are no St. Valentine’s Day movies, only porn.
Who knows why this happens? Maybe it’s because Christmas is one of the few holidays with a specific legend and a story. Maybe it’s because Christmas has its own built it marketing scheme that makes it ideal for pitching movies. Maybe it’s because watching a movie on Christmas morning is better than talking to relatives who wait to talk about what the surgeon pulled out of their gall bladder just as you’re biting into a slice of turkey.
My family watches a lot of movies at Christmas time, not because we don’t get along or would rather fend off wild animals than spend time with each other. It’s just the most relaxing thing to do after eating your body’s entire weight in starches and poultry. We eat just enough so that we’ll have enough energy to lift the remote to either change the channel or throw it at the head of someone who talks during it.
Usually we watch the good stuff, but this year a different title came across the TV Guide listing, one that pitted my internal movie geek and movie snob against each other in a mental deathmatch to the death. It was “Home Alone.”
Meet Paul and Pierre. Paul is my mind’s movie geek, the guy who goes to movies that have tons of the three B’s: boobs, big explosions and Berry, Halle. He’s the only person I know who developed a drinking game for “The Crying Game” and didn’t vomit at the end.
Pierre is my mind’s movie snob. He thumbs his nose at the mainstream establishment and prefers films with meaning, depth and a lesson other than “Aliens and robots are inherently always evil” or “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” He feels the only reasons you should watch any of the “jackass” movies are if you are being tortured for information or you are completely blind and deaf.
When “Home Alone” first came out, I was ravenous for it. I saw it at Christmas time and had to see it again. I think I saw four times during its initial run, which seemed to last well into the summer. Then it came out on home video and I watched it until the machine ate the tape and the machine stopped working, possibly because the machine was so sick of watching it that it felt the only way it could destroy the evil was by sacrificing his own life in the process.
Now that I’m an adult (depending on who you ask), I actually get a little embarrassed that I liked such a mindless, retarded and somewhat bad movie. It’s basically 90 minutes of dull jokes and sappy sentiment followed by 10 minutes of cartoon assault. It’s only considered to be a Christmas movie because it’s set at Christmas time. The only way it could be a true Christmas movie is if the annual holiday tradition involves smacking kids with paint cans as they ran down the stairs to open their gifts on Christmas morning or covering them with spackle and feathers before to commemorate the birth of Jesus.
The movie finally kicked into high gear when Joe Pesci gets shot in the crotch with a BB gun. The sound of Pesci screaming like a girl bolted him out of his easy chair and got his full attention. He was laughing and it was contagious. He’s in my brain. If I ignored him, he would have given me a tumor so big, I could give it a name.
Pierre jumped in between us and starting rattling off the reasons I shouldn’t be entertained by such bottomless tripe.
“One, only monkeys laugh at stuff like this and you’re not a monkey, despite the fact you eat bananas and occasionally scratch yourself in public,” he said while slapping each boney finger against the palm of his other white as White-Out hand. “Two, your mind is capable of digesting healthier forms of entertainment and I’m not living in a brain that’s furnished with wall-to-wall crap, and tres, this is something for little kids who can’t grasp the concepts and the effects of being desensitized to violence.”
Paul jumped in and kicked Pierre square in the sperm basket. Pierre fell to the ground holding his junk like he was afraid he was going to lose it.
“Hey Danny,” Paul screamed. “I found his Achilles’ balls.”
I settled back in my Aunt’s easy chair, just in time for the scene where Daniel Stern does a full foot plant on a pile of glass Christmas ornaments. That’s when I cracked a smile. By the time Stern smacked Pesci in the gut with a crowbar, I was laughing my ass off.
Violence may not solve everything, but I know it solves one thing – humbuggery.