5 Movies That Bring Out The Actual Spirit Of Christmas

By Doug Norrie 2011-12-23 12:36:00discussion comments
Well, it’s that time of year again.  The freaking holiday season.  And you’ve probably spent the past month or so either fully embracing the rash of Yuletide flicks or avoiding them like the plague.  Whichever it is (and it's rarely in the middle) I’m here to present with a group of movies that honestly and truly represent what the holidays have become. Enjoy.

Excessively Pointless Decorating (especially the lights)
Tron
No other holiday has more inane decorating traditions attached to it than Christmas. And the stupidest of the bunch would be stringing 14,000 tangled, knotted, low-voltage, multi-colored lights around every square inch of your home’s exterior.  And I know you're looking for a little Clark W. Griswold to embody the Christmas spirit with his knowledge of exterior illumination.  But I don’t think that cuts it. 

For sheer nausea inducement, needless flashing and randomized blinking effects we have to go for something like Tron.  And not the fancy-pants remake.  No, we need to go fullscale cheesy original.  Please just do yourself a favor and check out the trailer for the original Tron.  If you don’t feel like slogging through the whole 1980’s-we’re-just-figuring-computers-out thing,  skip to about the 1:00 mark and take a look at what Christmas pretty much looks like.  Rotating illuminated faces, random blinking lights, colors flying every which way, blinding flashes.  This is like my white trash neighbor’s house but put on the big screen.  Actually, I think he's the Master Control Program trying to recreate the Digital World.

Guilt-Induced Gift Giving
Se7en
If you’re like me, you’ve waited until the very, very last second to do any shopping for anyone on your list and have spent twenty-five minutes in the Target parking lot trying to find a spot because your little nephew just “needs” the newest Thomas the Tank Engine and if he doesn't get it the universe will implode on itself or something.

And if you’re like me, after an experience like that, there’s just a teensy part of you that thinks back to Se7en and wishes you could just pull a Kevin Spacey/ John Doe on everyone to prove just how insanely our gift giving culture has spiraled out of control.  I’m not saying it has to be an actual person (I’m not an animal, people), but sometimes you just need to throw Gwyneth’s head in a box, slap a bow on it and let everyone in your family know you’ll be organizing the Secret Santa next year.  Christ it has to be better than going to Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Traveling at a Snail's Pace in Apocalyptic Traffic
The Road
Sitting on the tarmac being told your flight will be shortly (three hours) delayed?  Hopping on a packed Amtrak car full of screaming kids and old people snoring?  Just driving down the Turnpike along with the rest of the human population?  Whatever your travel plans, you probably feel a lot like Viggo Mortensen and son slogging across a nuclear winter-ish landscape in an effort to basically hurry up and go nowhere. And while those two had child eating cannibals to deal with  (among other things), you're on twenty fourth gallon of gas at $3.99 a pop, sixteenth run through "White Christmas" on the Holiday station and your five year old is karate kicking the back of your chair with "end of days" like power and urgency.  Suddenly the apocalypse doesn't sound so bad. 

Barely Suppressing the Urge to Kill Your Family
The Shining
Now no one is suggesting actually following through with urges like these and typically the lack of patience applies solely to your extended family.  After all, you've had years of numbing and callousing yourself against the grating nature of your immediate kin with extended formal dinners, birthday parties, life etc.  But the holidays bring the extended family out of the woodwork (where they belong) and they often kick things off with questions like "Does writing about movies even count as work?" or "How much wine are you planning on drinking?"

And you, like The Shining‘s Jack Torrance, think all this familial work and no play is making you a dull boy.  You gaze longingly at the weighted candlestick.  Then at the firepoker.  Then recall there's an axe in the garage and finally just settle on the simplicity of running everyone over with your car.  But unlike Jack, you resist the urge because these people are your family and you love them damnit!

Drinking To Make It All Go Away
Leaving Las Vegas
Destroyed wrapping paper litters the floor.  The brand new model train is shattered in pieces.  The fire's on its last embers. Remnants of ham lay like a badly butchered autopsy on the dining room table and the kids are finally shoe-horned into bed. 

Enter Leaving Las Vegas and the Ben Sanderson plan.  And while I'm not advocating running off to Sin City, loading up the liver to the breaking point and shacking up with some hooker until sweet, sweet death finally comes for you, it probably is about time to break out the newly gifted Glenfiddich (that you effectively paid for) and try to forget the old bank account is three large lighter than at the beginning of December.  Feel free to drink enough to get you through the rest of the week and into the New Year.  Happy Holidays everyone!
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