So, since no one asked—what are my go-to holiday movies?
I have one top fave xmas, one second place, and an honorable mention. And three New Year’s movies. And a story.
Top Xmas Fave: TAXI DRIVER
I first saw this movie in 1976 when it was showing in theaters. I got back from my father’s funeral on a Sunday evening and was sitting around the house, and some friends came by, and no one had much to say—talking about death at age 18 and whatnot is difficult—and someone suggested a movie, and we went to Taxi Driver. Because it was 1976 and we were all 18 or 19-year old guys, we didn’t want to sit next to each other in the theatre lest people think we were gay, and so we all sat on aisle seats on different rows. The movie itself was a fucking revelation. It immediately became one of my two or three favorite movies of all time. Years and years later, c. 1990 or so, Chris Itchkowski came by one December evening, and I was watching Taxi Driver, and he said “Ha! A classic Christmas movie!” and I thought—Yeah, exactly. And so Taxi Driver has become a Christmas tradition in this household.
Second Xmas Fave: THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER
This actually is a legit Christmas movie—Bette Davis in a comedy! Monte Wooley is terrific as the asshole guy who takes over the house. I want to be like him some day. (One of my students said I looked like him—I’ll take it). There are sad penguins. And Jimmy Durante is creepy as a sexual harasser (this might be triggering for some people) who was probably seen as comedic in 1942. I really love this movie.
Honorable Mention Xmas Fave: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Because of course I like the darkness overcome with sentiment. And why not be like everyone else who likes this movie? Though in truth I’d rather live in Pottersville….
New Year’s Movie Number One: MAD MAX FURY ROAD
I used to watch Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome on New Year’s Eve—I was/am always touched the sadness and determination of those people trying to make new homes in the desolation, and also I have a crush on Tina Turner. But I lost my dvd of it in some move or other, so I watch Fury Road instead now, and it’s actually a better movie. Get the year-end adrenalin up!
New Year’s Movie Number Two: A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
Because I need to laugh at the end of a dreadful year. (All years are dreadful, each one closer to the inevitable). The fourth-best comedy of all time.
New Year’s Movie Number Three: THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES
I usually watch this New Year’s Day. Again, darkness and sentiment. Just like Pottersville, Boone City looks rocking....
A few weeks ago, a student asked if I’d ever written a Christmas story. And—I have! It’s in BURNT HOUSE and is pretty dark. Though maybe also…funny…?
Here’s a pdf: Love Puzzle
So get over to my Amazon page and order some books. Your life will be better for it!
The kindle editions are at a special pandemic/holiday price!