Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 5: Feeling Grinchy

So this weekend was a real blast.  We ate, laughed, watched movies, and shared presents.  It really was a fine start to the Christmas season (Christmas 1 of 3 that is).  It was a real shame to have to come home and restart the work week after all that fun, but alas all good things must end.  So I went out and, after a short interlude to Wal Mart to get some underwear (yeah, its one of those necessary things) and a stop at Kroger for gas, I headed home.  On the way I kept trying to listen to The Nutcracker ballet on my iPod, but my iTrip refused to find an unused radio station so that spoiled that for me.  Then, upon arriving home I was very disappointed to find that I had no packages waiting for me.  I was sure that at least one would have been delivered by the time I got home, but alas no.  So more things were piled on to sour my mood.  However, things got even worse as I got online and finally was able to get tracking info for the one package I couldn't find all last week...the one I was sure would have arrived by now.  UPS tracking had listed that the package, which contained two blurays for myself, had in fact been delivered to my doorstep Friday afternoon after I had left for Athens.  I could only assume one thing then....the package had been stolen from my doorstep.  $30 down the toilet if doesn't send me a replacement or a refund...which I assume will happen.  But I sent them an email about it anyway.  So I've been feeling just a tid bit Grinchy this evening...which put me in mind of Ron Howard's big screen adaptation of Dr. Suess's classic novel, adapted once already in animation by Chuck Jones, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

It is Christmastime in Whoville, the most important time of the year for the Whos, and everyone is getting into the spirit...well everyone except The Grinch, who lives on the top most portion of Mt. Crumpet and looks down over the town.  The Grinch hates the Whos and hates Christmas and he cannot abide watching them be happy while he's so miserable.  So he takes it upon himself to go down periodically and spoil their Christmas cheer.  On this particular day The Grinch goes to the post office to mix up the mail and cause general delivery destruction.  However, by sheer coincidence, The Grinch manages to knock little Cindy Lou Who into the sorting machine.  Taking pity on her, The Grinch rescues her and then leaves before he can do anything else nice.  The damage to his mystique is done however, as Cindy Lou...who has been having serious doubts about the meaning of Christmas...begins to wonder if perhaps The Grinch's heart can be warmed to the Whos and to Christmas.  However, when an invite to the Annual Whobilation goes horribly awry due to the small-mindedness of Whoville's population, The Grinch takes it upon himself to get revenge once and for all.  He decides to steal Christmas.

When you're dealing with a classic like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, one must create its world and characters with a loving but colorful hand.  Ron Howard manages to do this and also manages to expand the story to give viewers a reason for why The Grinch is the way he is and why his experience stealing Christmas is so important for him in the end.  There are some comic missteps in the material, and a few plot extensions that don't exactly help the base story, but overall it is a fairly successful adaptation of Suess's short book...certainly better than the adaptation of The Cat and the Hat.  Jim Carrey is a good and sour Grinch while the supporting cast, including Molly Shannon, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, and Jeffrey Tambor all hold their own as the citizens of Whoville.  The conclusion of the film, where not only The Grinch but also Cindy Lou discovers the true meaning of Christmas, is effectively touching even though its predictable (for both those familiar with the story and those not), but then we've seen so many movies about people discovering the true meaning of Christmas...when you've seen one, you've seen them all.  However, if you're in the mood for a goofy yet charming and familiar could do a lot worse than this version of The Grinch.  Of course, for a quick and satisfying taste...the original is still the preferred treat.

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