So it’s July 5, 2007, and Christmas is on my mind. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Christmas. Is it because I’m so religious? Not really. Is it because I feel that my fiancée and family owe it to me to deliver every DVD set I can dream of come the morning of December 25th? Nope. So why do I love Christmas? It just feels… good. These past few weeks I’ve found myself whistling Christmas tunes while in the stockroom at work. Of course, I do this when no one else is back there. I don’t want to look crazy. And for those of you who are interested, ‘O Christmas Tree’ has been at the top of my Christmas whistlin’ playlist. So anyway, I can’t tell you how “Christmas in July” got started. I suppose if I had an internet connection at home (I’m typing this in the apartment offline and will do a Copy & Paste job later when I get online), I could Wiki & Google (and other fun words) and find out and relay that information to you, the reader. But my gut reaction says it was dreamt up by corporate execs as a way for department stores to spruce up those middle-of-the-year financial numbers by rolling out sales not seen since those heady December days. My biggest memory of the concept of “Christmas in July” would be the holiday movie marathons TBS used to do in July during the early 90s. The Schwarzenegger-directed epic remake of ‘Christmas in Connecticut’ was included in one of those marathons and I distinctly remember TBS hyping it as a July television debut because they said it was just too good to wait until the holidays to air. Okay. Anyway, in the interest of getting my Christmas fix (and avoiding playing The Suffering 2 on Xbox… That game is creepy!), here are my TOP TEN GREATEST CHRISTMAS MOVIES OF ALL TIME!!! No, not really, but here’s three holiday movies “You Oughta Know” (Thanks, VH1!). In the interest of fairness, I’m disqualifying all Rankin/Bass holiday classics. That’s another entry for another time.
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
This was a revered classic in my house growing up. We’re talking regardation (I just made that up!) on the level of ‘The Huggabunch Movie’, ‘Clue’, ‘Howard the Duck’, ‘G.I. Joe: The Movie’, and ‘Haunted Honeymoon’. Weekly trips to Curtis Mathes (an appliance store that also rented out videos) had to deliver one of these movies into my hands. Is Curtis Mathes even around anymore? Or have they gone the way of Peoples Drugstores, BEST, Tons O’ Toys, Roses, and Hills department stores? Does anyone else even know what I’m talking about? Calling Doctor Wiki… Witness John Lithgow play the sleaziest, slimiest, jerkiest person in the history of people! Be charmed by the affable Dudley Moore! Enjoy the prominent Pepsi product placement! You THINK the movie’s really about Santa, but it’s not. Even though the story starts a bit slow and features Santa for the first half hour or so, it’s really about Patch the elf (Dudley Moore). Y’see, ol’ Patch wants to make better toys for the kids. So he ends up in cahoots with a sleazy toy exec (John Lithgow) who really wants to take over Christmas and make it a COMMERCIAL property! This is unheard of and obviously his plan will never work. Of course, Santa does indeed save the day restoring the populace’s faith in all things red & green. Itt’s Christmas… all over the world.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Yes, it’s comedic in tone, but much like the other Vacation movies, I don’t really look at this as a comedy, per se. It’s just a series of misadventures that take place to one family while trying to have a decent vacation. Just like any real-world vacation. Some “comedies” aren’t comedies to me at all, more like “humorousies”. But maybe that’s just me. Nonetheless, this movie is a still a holiday classic BECAUSE it features a series of misadventures. And Christmas. And Chevy Chase, regardless of how hip it still is to say he’s lame. CHEVY CHASE RULES. Now put Ryan Reynolds in the next Fletch movie, you idiots! All Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to do is a have a nice Christmas at home all the while counting on getting a fat Christmas bonus from his boss so that he can afford to put a pool in the backyard. Of course, he has to put up with snooty neighbors (Julia-Louis Dreyfuss!), annoying white trash relatives, annoying elderly relatives, a rampaging squirrel, a curious cat, sewer explosions, getting locked in the attic, and frustrations with getting the Christmas lights to work. But hey, he’s married to Beverly D’Angelo, so it can’t be that bad right? If you said “right”, you haven’t seen the movie! Now pay attention! Things take a turn for the worse when the bonus doesn’t come through prompting ol’ Chevy to go on a tremendous tirade about just how lousy the whole holiday has been. Idiot cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) of course takes it upon himself to kidnap Clark’s boss and bring him to the house. This brings about a SWAT crashing through the house, but in the end, at the behest of the boss’ wife, Christmas bonuses are reinstated!
The Santa Clause (1994)
Okay, here’s another actor that seems to catch a lot of flack. Granted, Home Improvement is a pretty lame show, but Tim Allen does a great job here as Joe Schmoe turned Santa Claus. Toy exec Scott Calvin (S.C., get it?) is a divorcee who has his annoying brat son for the holiday (who’d rather be with his mom and Neil, her snooty new husband). By the way, Scott Calvin isn’t going to win any Father of the Year awards, but his ex-wife and her new husband are the type of wholesome yet snooty people that really burn my scrambled eggs. Scott is better off without the ex and would do well to disown the kid. But this is a Disney movie, a holiday Disney movie, so that’s not gonna happen. Anyway, Santa Claus (keep in mind this is a HOLIDAY DISNEY movie) slips on Scott Calvin’s roof, falls off, and DIES. Let’s assume he broke his neck. Yes, West Virginia, Santa Claus is dead. And you have Disney to thank for it. There’s not even a mourning period as Scott Calvin ends up putting on the Santa suit and reads the card (the Santa Clause) and is unceremoniously made the new Santa. It’s funny how much the death of this Santa affects no one at the North Pole. Even the reindeer aren’t shaken by this fact (and they were there when it happened!) and they gleefully take Scott Calvin & Annoying Brat Son all over the world to finish Santa’s job that night. Scott is welcomed with open arms by all the elves at the North Pole and they never even ask what happened to the previous Santa. For all they know, Scott pushed him off the roof! Nary is a peep uttered about the previous Santa. The guy must’ve not been well-liked around the North Pole. Anyway, Scott begins to get white hair, a white beard, and gains a ton of weight and his annoying brat son is now enamored with his father (Oh sure, now that he can get you any toy you want whenever you want it…) and begins singing the jolly praises of his dad, St. Nick. Of course, Neil and his mom don’t believe any of this and put the blame on Scott saying he’s filling their sons head with crazy notions and believe Scott is going nuts. Well, regardless of the death of a Christmas icon, this IS a Disney movie after all, so soon all of those doubting Thomases are shown the POWER OF CHRISTMAS and realize that Scott is an okay guy.