Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 1: The Month of Christmas Movies Has Begun

I'd rather not get into how class was today...it seems like I more bitching and less actual happy talk about my job and I think its disproportionate to how I really feel about teaching.  I'll just say that the kids were behaving about as expected after being on a long break.  They'll mellow out in a few days for sure.  Today I'd much rather talk about something I've been looking forward to since I started this blog.  Yes friends, just as some people haul out the tree and decorations and begin to start playing Christmas music ad nausium till December 25th is over, its time for me to start watching Christmas movies again.  I certainly have enough to get through an entire month and I plan to focus on one a day until Christmas is over (and then I'm going to go through one New Year's movie a day until New Year's Day).  Can he do it?  Well if Julie Powell can do 536 recipes in 360 days, I can certainly do 31 movies in 31 days.  Have I mentioned what a fan I am of Mrs. Powell?  I believe I have, and I probably will again.

Tonight we are watching a Christmas classic from my childhood.  I can remember watching this all the time growing up...I believe we recorded it from Showtime or HBO or something back when my father believed in paying for cable (now he doesn't even believe in going to the movie theater anymore...not that I blame him) and it kept me believing in Santa Claus probably a lot longer than I should have.  The 1985 film I'm referring to is, of course, Santa Claus: The Movie.  Opening to successful European crowds and decent American box office, the film was considered the next Christmas classic...despite the fact that it got almost universally negative reviews.  Its not hard to believe really, the film (which was produced by the Salkinds, who were behind Superman: The Movie) follows essentially the same structure of Superman did...it begins as an origin story, explaining how Claus and his wife Anya first came to the elves in the North Pole and how they got him into the toy business and then moves into a contemporary tale involving a rouge elf working for an evil toy maker (much like how Superman moved into a contemporary take with a villain and a sinister plan that the hero must start).  The production design reeks of Superman as well (part III anyway) in that it all looks rather cheap and yet bold at the same time.  The adult actors all do credible jobs, with David Huddleson as Santa, Judy Cromwell as Anya, Dudley Moore as Patch, the fallen elf, and John Lithgow as B.Z. the evil toy tycoon.  The child actors are pretty flat though, as is the norm with movies from this time.  Then again, many people maintain that child actors have gotten worse since then (something I disagree with).  Of course, with all this negativity flying around, you'd probably think that I hate the movie now.  I probably should, but I simply can't.  There's something about watching it that makes me happy in the part of me that still houses my inner child and I think it always will.  If I ever have kids, I hope they enjoy this movie as much as I did.  The trailer is attached below...try not to be too hard on it.