Sunday, December 18, 2016


Like it or not we live in a pop cultural world now more than ever. Much of that is due to the amount of leisure time families now have, a gift that those back in the pioneer days could not afford. As technology increases and more items become accessible more easily you would be hard pressed not to have access to the biggest of pop culture influences, movies.

This whole column weekly talks about movies. I try to offer you a glimpse into what is being released each week and give my opinion as to whether the titles discussed are worth your time and effort to seek out. As a lifelong movie fan I find most of them have something worth offering. But there are the occasional turkeys out there, the non-stuffed sort. But movie are there for everyone to enjoy these days whether on disc or Netflix or whatever other platform you choose to view them with.

But it’s not just having access that makes some movies worth watching over and over again. It’s not just that they are available that makes them worth buying and adding to your home collection. It’s more than that. As times have changed traditions have altered along as well. Where families once gathered around the fireplace on a Christmas season night, we now find families too involved in numerous events to do so that often. Gymnastics, vocal lessons, Christmas pageants, multiple family get togethers and more cut into those stay at home traditions.

But there is one way to still get one in. Make time, just one night, to gather your family together in front of the TV, pop some corn, pour out your favorite beverage and sit down together to watch a movie, THAT movie, the one that brings back memories or instills them into your child now. Sure some of these are available on TV but it’s not the same as watching them uninterrupted. Not to mention the commercials these days are a far cry from those when we were growing up. I could be wrong but I don’t think Charles Schultz had Victoria Secret commercials in mind when planning A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

These days almost every Christmas special or movie we grew up with is available on DVD, many now on blu-ray as well. For me as a child I grew up with MR. MAGOO’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It’s in my collection now. Right alongside RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER. At 59 years of age I still enjoy watching them at Christmas.

Then there is the tradition my wife and I started a few years back. Each Christmas we pull out WHITE CHRISTMAS with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and watch it. I even picked up the new diamond edition for her this year with all the extra bells and whistles including karaoke tracks you can sing to. I’ve given her the gift of not being subjected to my vocal stylings. This has become our tradition, to watch this every year now. Well most of it. She usually dozes off about half way through now and it takes us a few nights to finish it all.

I’ve said before that my favorite Christmas film is IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. That’s because the first time I saw it I was fortunate enough to see it with director Frank Capra in attendance. It left a mark on me. This was before it became a staple on TV each year. We’ll be adding that to our traditional Christmas film fest as well, even if it takes another few nights. I picked up the new special edition of it as well.

The thing is that watching these films is a family thing and family things are falling behind these days. Few set aside the hustle and bustle to just sit down together and have a good evening watching a Christmas movie that’s filled with hope and good cheer. As easy as it is that’s sad. So let me offer a suggestion this Christmas season. Take the time to sit down as a family and watch a movie that means Christmas to you and yours. It could be HOME ALONE or FROSTY THE SNOWMAN or even DIE HARD. Yes that movie takes place at Christmas. It could be the Grinch or NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION. But get together as a family, sit down, relax and enjoy that movie that means Christmas to you. Let the kids know what movies bring back fond memories of Christmas past for you.

You never know. As you sit there watching you just might find a smile cross your lips as you think back to being a kid. You might get a tear in your eye at some sentimental moment in one of those movies. And you just might start a new tradition in your house, a special movie night that comes once a year at Christmas time. A special night that your kids will remember and carry on with their kids. What better time to do this than tonight?

Merry Christmas all and I hope everyone finds a special movie they love under the tree.