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2005 Christmas Letter

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"A Million Little Pieces"


"Shhh...don't tell anybody"

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Master list of links to (most) videos
by Mefeedia


23 December 2005

If it's Christmas, the airwaves must be positively exploding with Christmas-themed movies.

Now, I know it's politically incorrect to talk about "Christmas" for fear of offending people who don't observe Christmas, but since I've never seen a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Solstice movie, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and refer to all these movies as "Christmas movies."

I originally thought about writing about "my favorite Christmas movies" but everybody does that.   Instead, I just thought I'd write about "memorable Christmas movies," whether they are good or not.

Topping the list at present, only because I just saw it recently, was a real stinkeroo starring John Denver.   Now I loved John Denver.  I have far too many of his CDs and go through "John Denver periods" as often as I go through "Steve Schalchlin periods."  The difference is that Steve has the good sense to know that he's basically a singer and he has not saddled the world with film reminders that acting is not his forte (unless you count his videos).  Oh John was great in Oh God, but I suspect it stops there.

This movie was called  A Christmas Miracle.  I actually recorded in on my DVR ('cause I like John Denver, dontcha know!) and after I watched it (yes, I actually sat through the entire movie and suspect I may be in the minority to do that), I penned the following plot summary to Peggy:

Architect George Billings is sent to a quaint little town in Colorado (conveniently named "Georgetown") to survey it for his boss to build condominiums and a big ski resort.  It's right before Christmas, of course.  By the end of Day #1, George (whose wife died on Christmas day one year ago) has fallen in love with the postmistress, his daughter (every Christmas movie has a requisite adorable moppet) has gotten herself a role in the school play and has herself a best friend, and George who earlier in the day told his boss this would be a perfect spot for his construction plans has fallen in love with the town and called his boss to ask him to please look elsewhere to build his development. 

On Day #2 George's boss arrives to unveil plans for the modernization of the town, George tells the townspeople they must fight the evil big corporation and keep the town the way it is, George gets fired by his boss, his new girlfriend, feeling he has betrayed her, calls it quits, and his daughter runs away (conveniently a snowstorm starts as soon as she leaves town and gets lost in the woods).

The townspeople all band together to search for and find the daughter, conveniently just as a roof in the shed in which she is hiding, collapses. 

On Day #3 George convinces the people that they should all pool their resources and pay the mortgage on the land that the evil corporation was going to buy, he decides to stay in town, and he's on the road to marry the postmistress.

And by Christmas it is apparently everybody will live happily ever after.

If this movie comes to a television near you, run in the opposite direction as fast as possible.

The problem with Christmas themed movies is that they are so predictable.  They are pretty much all variations on A Christmas Carol, where a grinch somehow finds the spirit of Christmas in the last reel.

Maureen O'Hara and Richard (John Boy) Thomas shared the title of grinch in The Christmas Box where grumpy Thomas and his oh so perky wife (Annette O'Toole) and their adorable moppet (Kelsey Mulrooney) move in with grumpy O'Hara, a dowager who wants someone to take care of her and her house. John Boy, an ambitious ski shop owner who is ignoring his family in order to pursue success in business, keeps having dreams about a young angel calling to him, who turns out to be O'Hara's dead daughter, but he doesn't find that until the last reel, just before O'Hara dies. He's able to give her a message from her dead daughter, he turns his life around and becomes family oriented, and the family inherits O'Hara's house.  And all live happily ever after.  Well, except for O'Hara, who dies.

O'Hara is the grinch in my very favorite Christmas movie, the original Miracle on 34th Street, where she plays the jaded department store executive who refuses to allow her daughter (the adorable moppet, young Natalie Wood) to believe in the magic of Santa Claus.  In the end, it is a bearded round man who calls himself Kris Kringle who melts her heart and leaves us all wondering if there is, in fact, such a thing as Santa Claus.

In getting ready to write this entry, I decided to check out the plot summaries of all the Christmas movies that are being shown on TV between now and Sunday.  Here are some samples from which to choose:

The Christmas Child:   A troubled journalist discovers the true meaning of Christmas while on assignment in Clearwater, TX.

Christmas in my Hometown:   An executive is torn between his job and his heart when he falls for a factory worker he may have to lay off just before Christmas.  (What do you want to bet he doesn't lay her off?)

The Christmas Lamb:   Animated tale about a disabled lamb who learns that God has a special place for those who feel left out.

Christmas on Division Street:  Young Fred Savage moves to a new city and has troubles with adjustment till he meets a homeless man and learns the plight of the homeless at Christmastime.  (What do you want to bet that he finds a way to bring a merry Christmas to all the homeless?)

Christmas Romance:   An out of work widow warms up to a button down banker seeking a late loan payment.   (What do you want to bet the widow has a small child?)

Christmas Rush:   A suspended cop is pitted against a thief who has taken shoppers hostage in a mall during the holiday season.  (You just know there are going to be some moppets held hostage and that the thief will have a change of heart because it's Christmas...and the cop will be reinstated because he will have saved the day.)

Christmas Snow:   A good hearted widow and her adopted children face eviction from a Scrooge-like landlord.

The Christmas Visitor:   Unwilling to celebrate Christmas following the death of their only son, a grieving couple find spiritual renewal in the form of an unexpected visitor who restores their joy for the holiday.

A Christmas Without Snow:   A divorced woman moves to a new city with her child, trying to build her life again.  She joins the choir of a local church but has some conflicts with the choirmaster--a curmudgeonly old gentleman who will accept nothing but perfection from his group.  (I have a fondness for this stinkeroo because our friend Will Connolly makes a brief appearance in the choir...and I think has a line or two.)

So there you have it--A Christmas Carol in any number of permutations, but all with the expected happy ending....and every time a bell rings an angel will get its wings.

(Or, as someone who write a letter to The SF Chronicle puts it, everytime someone says "Happy Holidays," an elf dies.)


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