Ambiguous Christmas – Part 1: Tidings of Great Joy

Christmas time is here,
happiness and cheer,
fun for all,
that children call,
their favorite time of year…

I am a fan of Christmas, and not because of the gifts. I love the food, the music, the Christmas specials, the people watching (specifically, the feeble attempts at good cheer to mask the bitter resentment of kith and kin), but most of all I love the movies.

Of course, there are the traditional Christmas movies–your White Christmas, your Miracle on 34th Street, your A Christmas Story, your It’s a Wonderful Life, and what have you–but I’m also talking about some of the less traditional holiday fare. Sure, the classics are great, but we’re living in a modern age. And sometimes you need a cinematic breath of fresh air as you survey the icy landscape of a winter wonderland littered with enough yuletide cheer to give the Grinch a coronary.

Think of this ongoing list as a sort of belated cinematic Advent calendar, chock full of suggestions to keep you amused and jolly for all twelve days of Christmas, which are–in case you were wondering–December 25th to January 5th (Epiphany). Some are heart-warming classics, some not so much, but all revolve (at least somewhat loosely) around Christmas. Naughty… nice… these are the Christmas movies that are fun. (And unless otherwise noted, these are in no particular order.)

And so begins my continuing list of Christmas movies, not with a whimper, but a bang…

Lethal Weapon (1987) – Dir. Richard Donner

Writer/Director Shane Black seems to have a thing for Christmas. Most of his movies are set during Christmastime. And we will probably be seeing more of him on this list in the near future. So, I find it fitting to start off with Mr. Black’s first foray into Christmas carnage, which also happens to be our introduction to one of the most famous buddy-cop duos ever, Riggs & Murtaugh. (Sorry, Joe & Tutti Bomowski.)

Riggs is the loose-cannon. Murtaugh is “too old for this shit.” It’s a buddy-cop classic that also happens to be brimming with Christmas puns and sardonic yuletide cheer.

From the opening credits over “Jingle Bell Rock” to the Christmas tree lot drug deal to Mr. Joshua yelling, “It’s god damn Christmas!” at the TV when Scrooge asks what day it is, Lethal Weapon is sure to contribute to your holly, jolly Christmas. Stay tuned, there’s more to come between now and January 5th.

Part 1 • Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6


9 responses to “Ambiguous Christmas – Part 1: Tidings of Great Joy

  1. I maintain that It’s a Wonderful Life is not a Christmas movie…and yes Lethal Weapon most certainly is.

    • Seriously? The major plot device of the film comes into play on Christmas. That’s good enough for me, that and the fact that it’s pretty much universally considered the greatest Christmas movie of all time, but whatever. I know how much you like to argue. Besides, there are films on this list that have far less to do with Christmas than It’s a Wonderful Life.

  2. There is this amazing Christmas special that played on Nickelodeon in the 90’s called “The Christmas Toy” made by Jim Henson that is my very most favorite Christmas special of all time. It’s basically the plot of Toy Story but shorter, Christmas based, and with puppets.

  3. Yeah, but most of the movie is all about this dude and his life.

    I didn’t see it for such a long time because it was THE Christmas movie and I purposeful avoided it. But when I finally watched it, I was surprised to find it had nothing to do with Christmas.

    It’s just a really great, life affirming movie.

    • It has everything to do with Christmas. It’s all about Christmas spirit, peace on earth, good will toward men, charity, community… Even the credit sequence is Christmas themed. The whole thing hinges on Christmas, thus it is a Christmas movie. And the world agrees with me. So, you can try to spread all the Grinchitude you want. But we all know the truth. Saying that It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t a Christmas movie is like saying that water isn’t wet. You’re just a contrarian. You’ve already admit you’re a heartless bastard in your Rabbit Hole review, you don’t have to keep going out of your way to prove it. We know.

  4. Says the man who led off a Christmas list with Lethal Fucking Weapon. (Not that I disagree)

  5. Pingback: Ambiguous Christmas – Part 2: Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas | Shooting the Script

  6. Pingback: Ambiguous Christmas – Part 3: Noir Before Christmas | Shooting the Script

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