Opinion

Christmas movies could use a makeover | Humor

I love Christmas movies. Generally, I consider myself something of a film snob. But during the holidays I’m willing to put up with an exponentially higher degree of corny dialogue, canned acting and tinsel-thin plots. But even I am reaching my limit as I see more and more recycled themes popping up on my TiVo’s “Christmas” category search.

There now appear to be 14 basic story lines. They all start on a low note: Thieves go on the rampage wearing stolen Santa suits; towns forget Christmas (apparently, there are towns without retail outlets of any kind) and it is frequently the Depression. In fact, I’m convinced that if all the holiday movies set in the Depression were run back-to-back, they would last longer than the actual Depression.

But then they build to impressive crescendos of the spirit, when everyone involved — including the Salvation Army bell-ringers whose Santa suits were stolen — discovers the true meaning of Christmas. (Bet you can’t guess what it is!)

Here’s a summary of what you can expect to see this season:

1. Woman makes holiday wish; perfect man shows up; snow falls; marriage occurs.

2. Neighbors deplete their retirement accounts trying to best each other via escalating outdoor holiday displays.

3. Man dons Santa suit, gains weight and/or breaks and enters.

4. Extended family unable to get along until Christmas Eve epiphany.

5. Angels assist (choose one): a) unbelievers, b) bankrupts, c) doctors, d) troubled families, e) unbelieving bankrupt doctors from troubled families.

6. Reindeer/snowmen become self-aware.

7. Every kind of jerk — including Mickey Mouse — gets a series of visits by redemptive ghosts.

8. Children try to get divorced parents back together by Christmas Eve.

9. Stranger, stranded over holidays by automotive breakdown and/or blizzard, rekindles family’s Christmas spirit.

10. Santa retires; hilarious search for replacement ensues.

11. Mistletoe actually works; heterosexual lawyers fall in love.

12. Dogs, cats, squirrels, donkeys, hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, orphans, Hercules and Charlie Brown all save Christmas.

13. Family members go to visit grandmother who is ignored most of the year, only to discover that she has been run over by a reindeer.

14. Grinch steals Christmas.

Please, Christmas, don’t be late — or we’ll be stuck with these movies all the way to the Super Bowl. But there’s a way for Hollywood to pull out of the narrow rut its fiberglass sleigh has cut into the fake snow. Our culture has matured to the point where we can handle a little reality along with our Christmas magic, so how about trying some of these movie plots:

1. Woman makes holiday wish; imperfect man shows up; rain falls; woman lowers standards.

2. Children are excited about parents’ pre-Christmas breakup, knowing they will score big in compensatory gifts from the one not awarded custody.

3. Mistletoe actually works; law office Christmas party gets out of control; all must resign to avoid crossfire of sexual harassment charges.

4. Santa gets Alzheimer’s; sentient reindeer take too long trying to figure out new GPS; millions of children have no Christmas.

5. Frosty T. Snowman faces an identity crisis when he discovers that he’s one-quarter Abominable on his mother’s side.

6. Family secrets are revealed at Christmas gathering, causing all to question previous support for WikiLeaks.

7. Santa has coronary due to “bowlful of jelly” being too close to heart.

8. Reindeer/snowmen continue to lack insight into large-scale problem-solving.

9. Chipmunk receives hula hoop (regulation size).

10. Child of pragmatic parent(s) doesn’t believe in Santa; Santa shows up; child never again trusts parental judgment.

11. Rudolph meets his Uncle Tripp, whose 60s drug experiments resulted in a black-light nose.

12. Global warming decimates Vermont ski season, forcing platoon of singing World War II vets to stay home and spend the holidays with their families.

13. Grinch returns Christmas for refund after store’s 60-day limit has expired. Enraged Grinch steals Easter and runs out of store.

 

— Cindy Hoyt is a writer and performer for Church of Great Rain.

 

 

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