The two have nothing to do with each other, of course, but I came here wanting to write all about my favorite Christmas movies. Etch in those moments of nostaglia. I don’t know quite what it is, but it hasn’t really felt like Christmas to me in a couple of years. I mean that true Christmas spirit. I’d known the truth about Santa Claus since I was 12, so I know that can’t be it. At age 22, I think I’m too young to feel so old that the Christmas spirit really isn’t there. Where’s the real magic? Maybe because I am getting old *sigh* or because the the magic of the holiday isn’t quite there anymore. It feels like just another day to me. It’s Christmas Eve and I should be excited. But I’m not really. I’m more willing to bet that its not really like it used to be because there aren’t as many presents under the tree. Most of the things there are things I asked for, therefore, no more surprises. Christmas surprises are part of that magic, after all. The last surprise I ever got was “The Breakfast Club” on DVD when I didn’t ask for it. Then of course, I’d only watched the DVD a couple of times since I got it since its on TV enough.
I watched it the other day actually and there was all that 80’s nostaglia. I wish my high school was anything like that, though I’d rather not be in detention (on a Saturday no less). The other day, I also got nostaglia coming to me from watching a couple of old Christmas VHS tapes. One of which was a gift that we never even took the plastic off of.
I’d only seen a couple versions of the all-famous “A Christmas Carol,” but my favorite has to be with the Muppets. I love all of the songs in that movie and the comic relief of Gonzo & Rizzo adds to the entertainment value. Then there’s always the one scene during Scrooge’s trip with Christmas Past where his girlfriend Belle sings about them not being in love anymore. Oddly, I could see it from Scrooge’s point of view, why they can’t marry… meaning that Henson probably didn’t get the true meaning of that scene. That song makes me blubber more than most Christmas things. It kills me. This time, it killed me more than the scene in Christmas Future where they find out that Tiny Tim dies.
Then the other movie, we didn’t even take it out of the package yet. I remember my youngest Aunt gave us the tape years ago, but we never opened it because we already had it.
This special really did take me back to the good old days.
Growing up, we had this old VHS tape (its been showing its wear and tear) where we recorded all of these Christmas specials. A lot of them don’t even show on TV anymore. Here’s the list:
* Muppet Family Christmas
– It starts with Fozzy’s mom on her way to spend the holidays in the tropics and Doc and his dog Sproket come to watch the house while she’s away. Fozzy and company stop by completely by surprise and all of the muppets take over the house. Doc starts out cynical about the fact he doesn’t get the house to himself, but slowly gets into the spirit. A snowstorm comes, keeping Miss Piggy from getting to the old farmhouse, but Doc manages to find her when he offers to go for Kermit. Kermit also spending the holiday with his nephew, Robin and there’s a love triangle between Gonzo, Camilla the chicken and the Christmas turkey (who meanwhile tries to talk Swedish chef into cooking someone else for Christmas dinner and he stops in his quest when Big Bird serenades him). The muppets from Seasme Street come later on and the house is filled to the brim. It ends with everyone singing Christmas carols and Jim Henson makes a cameo (probably among his last specials before his passing)
I haven’t seen that one in YEARS, but supposedly its on YouTube where my sister had been watching it. Maybe I’ll make an effort to do so later.
*Disney Christmas cartoons and Mickey’s Christmas Carol
– the supposed premiere of the latter begins with a series of old cartoons. The first is where Donald wages a snowball war with his nephews, which he ultimately loses. HILARIOUS. Then Mickey is decorating his Christmas tree while Pluto is trying to get rid of the chipmunks inhabiting it. Mickey discovers them and they all sing Christmas carols
-Then we caught Mickey’s Christmas Carol on Family Channel the other day, but definitely takes me back. The only thing that bugged me about it was that they cut out a couple of seconds here and there. The funniest was where Marley [played by Goofy] is chasing Scrooge slowly up the stairs and later trips down the stairs when he leaves. The scene with Christmas Future is probably among the scariest I’d seen so far (not saying much, of course). First of all, its SO SAD where Scrooge watches the Crachits pay their respects to Tiny Tim in the graveyard. Then when Christmas Future (Pete, who later breaks the spirit’s vow of silence) pushes Scrooge into his grave. Meanwhile, he tries to climb out and escape that door to Hell. For a kid’s special, that’s a scary interpretation.
The whole theme song that plays at the beginning and end of the special is sweet and can be a tear-jerker. I get a little emotional just thinking of it.
A couple of commericals play, then they also show the making of “Oliver & Company.” That’s nothing Christmas-y of course, but if I saw it again, I’d definitely be taken back. They don’t make commericals like that anymore and the whole making of that movie is just too sweet. I remember Huey Lewis singing the theme song “Once upon a time in New york City” and there’s also a commerical with Oliver and Dodger (who I ultimately named my yellow lab after) talking about their McDonald’s toys.
It’s not quite Christmas without:
*Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
-It is a STAPLE of the whole Christmas season. It will always be my favorite all the Claymation specials. So much fun, a lot of great songs and so on. The only grievence I have would have to be with one of the numbers. On our recorded copy (from the late 80’s, early 90’s), they sing a song called “Fame & Fortune”… which they had recently replaced with “We’re a couple of misfits.” Where’s the fun in that? The other song is much more catchy. When I saw the special on TV, I was furious about the change once the confusion disappeared. Maybe the VHS tape we have of Rudolph will still have it.
Strange that they never showed this on TV this year, but thanks to my roommate, Courtney, I saw a whole mess of Christmas specials on November 30th.
The very end of this special on the VHS gets cut off to make room for the next special:
*Emmett Otter’s Jugband Christmas
– just thinking about it now makes me want to watch it again. I haven’t seen this in YEARS. Definitely a good Christmas special. One of Jim Henson’s last projects supposedly. It revolves around a contest with a prize of $50. Among the competers is Emmett’s Jugband with his buddies Windall, Harvey and [forget his name], Emmett’s ma and the late entry, a gang from Riverbottom (seen throughout the movie, a set of bullies, but gotta admit they’re hilarious). Emmett and his ma make sarcifices to enter the contest and want to use the prize money to get each other proper Christmas present. There are a lot of great songs and in the end, they don’t win, but they end up finding work as the bands come together to perform at a restaurant.
Then of course, another Holiday staple:
*A Charlie Brown Christmas
-another special it would not be Christmas without. I’m sure everyone has seen this, but then again, who knows. Charlie Brown seems depressed about the whole commericalism of Christmas and ends up finding the true spirit of Christmas by directing the Christmas play and taking in the cutest little tree. If only he knew that the commericalism gets a lot worse. This special was done in the 50’s. It’s been 50 years and look what’s happened. We have non-stop commericals on TV that have been going since October 30th, people putting up Christmas lights a month early, and all kinds of ways to get your Christmas shopping done.
At the same time, it is depressing and the holidays can be depressing. I understand that myself, though its usually because I didn’t get one particular item on my list.
The special is awesome, though Snoopy is probably the biggest star.
The very last special on the tape is definitely one I haven’t seen in a very long time. Growing up, I wanted to watch this tape around the holidays, but was forbidden from sitting through the entire thing in one day. Though there really is nothing like sitting in front of a TV for several hours watching your favorite Christmas specials (80% of the time they’re commerical-free). I got to thinking through all this while watching Emmett Otter the other day.
Last but not least…
*Claymation’s Christmas Special
-not sure if this is the official title. All of the sketches on this special are using clay animation. The two hosts are a T-rex and a Styracasaurus with a HUGE appetite. I believe they’re named Rex & Herb. Throughout the whole special with these two characters, several creatures come to the special singing various versions of the song “Here we come a-wassailing”… but they never say “wassail”. Like the first set of lyrics involves “waffling”… Rex is highly disturbed about this lyrical mishap, a running gag throughout, but in the end, someone actually does get it right.
Then the sketches with the characters are arranged around Christmas songs. Not in the correct order probably, but it includes:
-Penguins playing bowling on ice while a pair of walruses are trying to skate. In the end, the ice breaks and they all fall in. Set to the song “Angels we have heard on high”.
-A look into Santa’s workshop via a Christmas ornament on a tree with all the activities going on inside and ends with the camera backing out so you can see the highly decorated tree with the child that put up that particular ornament. Set to “O’ Christmas Tree”
-the scene set to “Joy to the World” with all kinds of odd animation that involves the Navity scene. Most of which is paint strokes moving around the screen and forming various shapes
-a “Carol of the Bells” with actual bells hitting themselves on the head with hammers. There’s one that doesn’t seem to be getting it and the conductor gets annoyed with him throughout this sketch. Haha, its been so long since I’ve seen it that I forget how it ends.
– “We three kings” where all of the verses are sung by the three wise men, holding their gifts. I don’t quite remember how all of the verses go, but I think their hats change shape or something. Then for the other verse repeated after all of the original verses, three camels sing. The six characters then sing together at the very end.
-The very last sketch is my favorite. The California raisins are stranded on a street corner after the last bus leaves and they all decide to dress up as Santa and the reindeer so they can fly back home. One of the raisins is Santa and gets the suit and everything. Another of the raisins is Rudolph, so they make his nose so shiny that it turns red. They’re singing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” somewhat different version of the song, which I totally dig.
Makes me really want to fast forward through that whole VHS to watch this special. The last time I saw it, I think I was in my early teens. Going back almost 10 years, I believe.
When I started this post, I also wanted to address some of my favorite Christmas movies, some of which I’ll be missing out on this year because they’re simply not on TV.
–Look who’s talking now, where one of the kids wants a dog for Christmas and ends up with two dogs. One is courtesy of his dad [John Travolta]’s new boss and the other, they picked up at a pound (rather, Rocks picked Mikey). The mom [Kristie Alley] wants to get rid of Rocks because he’s the trouble-maker, basically the worst dog ever. (I’d beg to differ. Marley from the book Marley & Me seems a lot worse than Rocks). The movie ends with the family going to find their dad, who’s stuck in a cabin with his boss (who tries to seduce him through the whole movie). They get caught in a snowbank. Daphne (the purebred poodle) goes for help and Rocks meets up with the dad and later protects him against some wolves. Through the whole movie, Mikey is depressed because he’s accidentally led to believe there is no Santa and finds out in the end that he does exist. Some good songs are featured in this movie too
–Christmas Vacation, a movie I’d been watching every year for a couple of years now, but this year, I haven’t been able to find it on TV. Maybe Blockbuster will have it after the holidays.
As for Planet Earth, I listened to it last night. Haven’t done so since this summer. It was a good choice because I hadn’t heard it in a while and some of the songs definitely appealed to me. There’s still that voice in the back of my head of this album’s #1 hater… which ruins the experience more than the album itself. Some of the songs peaked in some points (the title track’s guitar solo, the spoken portion of Future Baby Mama and bits & pieces of Chelsea Rodgers). We’re talking from 12:15 to 1am here, so by the end I got to “Lion of Judah” I felt myself fading out at some points. Then with “Resolution,” I wasn’t sure how much I actually heard, haha. My mind felt awake, but the rest of me sure didn’t.
The biggest highlights of the album were Guitar & Somewhere here on Earth. The first is contagious! Then while hearing the second, some visuals came to mind that were my own, not from the music video. It’s all in black and white and it shows Prince playing a piano at a club from the 50’s (or maybe earlier, think “Some like it Hot”) and his supposed love interest is watching him curiously throughout. I don’t remember too much, but the song was just amazing.
The depressing thing is that I think of Prince’s music and I don’t really think of it the way I used to. I used to hold it in such high esteem and I’d look at every song, thinking “what made him write this? What was he feeling at the time?” Not much of those thoughts are coming through anymore, which was the big part of the reason I came up with writing “The Word”
As long as I’m not able to think of his music in quite that way where it makes me question so much about him and peak my curiosities, I’m not sure if I’d be able to write it.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy Chrismukkah to my readers
-for Chrismukkah, check out the series The O.C. where it was first created.
I don’t know if I’d asked this for Christmas or how many times I’d asked for it. But something I think I still want is a boyfriend. I don’t really know if I need a guy in my life, but I’d like the sense of not feeling completely alone. Maybe even more than that, I’d wish for my works to get the chance for publication and to make money off them. If I ever do get that boyfriend, I think my goal would be to make him happier than he’d make me. I’d spent so much time in my life giving people more and don’t get enough in return. My wish is bound to come true sometime, but perhaps not this Christmas.