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Monday, 22 December 2008

Discuss: Films set at Christmas that are not Christmas films?

Over the weekend I attended a Christmas meal laid on by the might Colin Bermingham for the few true heroes who put up the Christmas lights in Bebington Village. I was one of those heroes. Jinja was not, he was in Australia for a few weeks, but was invited anyway as he has helped out in previous years and is going to take them down in the new year.

Before the meal (which was lovely by the way), Jinja put forward a movie themed question for us to ponder and I now put it to you.

He asked, "What films can you think of that are set at Christmas but are not Christmas movie?"

At first you could be thinking, what is he talking about? Is that man insane and why are we wearing the same jumper (it wasn't quite the same jumper, the label was slightly different. I put it down to great minds and all that).

Nonplussed I responded with a "Huh?!" and then Jinja continued, "Go on you know like Trading Places." I had it and understood, I reached for my beer and supped deeply (Live for Films does not condone drinking alcohol kids and if you do have a drink this Christmas drink responsibly and don't drink and drive).

Trading Places - the great comedy starring Eddie Murphy (back when he was funny) and Dan Aykroyd (back when he was thin and not selling crystal skull bottles of vodka) who play a tramp and a rich Wall Street dude respectively. Then through a bet by Dan's mean bosses have to swap places to see if they will cope. Dan meets up with Jamie Lee Curtis' breasts so he's fine and Eddie Murphy laughs and shows a flare for stocks and shares. An excellent movie that is often shown on cable channels throughout the land. It also brought us the phrase "Beef Jerky Time!" which can be used for a multitude of meanings. The main point of it though is that the film is set at Christmas - there are trees and lights dotted around and Dan Aykroyd dresses as Father Christmas (Santa Claus to the American visitors to this site!) and eats a salmon through the beard (does that actually cut into his lip?), but you don't think of it as a Christmas movie.

You're getting the idea.

Die Hard - There's another (as is Die Hard 2). Set at Christmas, Bruce Willis (with hair and a vest) attends his wife's Christmas party at Nakatomi Towers. While he's there Professor Snape / Hans Gruber and his crew of european bad guys break in, hold the partygoers hostage, and break into the safe. Snape / Gruber gives us the FBI, they send in the car, the quaterback is toast and Bruce Willis runs around the conveniently large ventilation system with no shoes on and says "Yippee Ki-Aye Muddy Funster!" while pulling glass out of his feet. Set at Christmas but not a Christmas movie.

Last one that was mentioned on the night (by my Dad no less) was It's a Wonderful Life. Think about it. The film shows the life of George Bailey as he gets more and more ground down by Bedford Falls and his good intentions. Then when it all comes to a head he decides to kill himself to help his family. Clarence intervenes and shows George what his life has done while all around the townsfolk do a big collection for Georgie boy and all is well. Think about it. It's not really a Christmas film, only the fact it has the huge downer and then uplifting moment with goodwill all around that has made it the seasons favourite.

There you go then. I've set it up now lets see what the rest of you can come up with in the comments below. Feel free to disagree with any of the above (make sure you explain why though) and put forward any other films you can think of that fall into the criteria. Something to discuss with your family as well on Christmas Day while you digest the turkey.

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Anonymous said...

Gremlins is set at Christmas and has the cool speech about Santa in the chimney but it is defintely not a Christmas movie.

Good topic BTW

Anonymous said...

I hate Gremlins.

Anonymous said...

Mmm! I'd beef jerky all over Jamie Lee Curtis

Anonymous said...

The Thin Man - a great detective story that is set in Christmas. Old black and white film from the 1930's starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Well worth checking out.

Other couple I came up with are Lethal Weapon and the Batman film with the Penguin. I think it's Batman Returns

Anonymous said...

Enemy of the State? I remember Will Smith buying gifts - especially in the lingerie store, why can't all shop assistants be as helpful as she was!? ;)

Anonymous said...

Here's a few for you

The Shop Around the Corner - James Stewart one set at Christmas and was remade as You've Got Mail

Eyes Wide Shut - Kubrick's last film and I love it. Christmas time as Cruise wanders around.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Shane Blacks underrated and hardly seen masterpiece starring Robert Downey Jr and Val Kilmer. Brilliant movie.

There is also The Last Kiss Goodnight and the old Gary Cooper film, Meet John Doe.

Chuck it was Batman Returns

Live for films said...

Some great ones there. A few I've not seen. Keep them coming

pamela fruendt said...