Happy holidays, everyone!
Christmas may be just around the corner, but Hanukkah is already at hand, so I’ve been celebrating by watching some of my favorite holiday movies. And don’t get started on that “War on Christmas” crap – I say “holiday” movies because many of them aren’t Christmas movies, not because I’m trying to repress any holiday or the like. That’s a rant for another time, though.
Anyway, I thought I’d take a moment to look at some of my favorite movies for this time of year. You won’t be seeing the “classics” like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” on this list (even though I’m sure they’re fine movies, they don’t need mentioning, and I don’t watch them often anyway). These are my favorites, whether or not they’re classics.
For starters, we have “The Hebrew Hammer,” perhaps the only “Jewsploitation” film in existence. In it, Mordechai Jefferson Carver, AKA the Hebrew Hammer, sets out to save not only Hanukkah, but all the winter holidays, when Santa’s evil son takes over the family business. Action sequences and lots of jokes about Jewish stereotypes ensue. It’s self-deprecating humor, mind you, done tastefully enough that everyone can laugh at it. That’s a tricky thing to do when playing with stereotypes, but the film manages it very well. It’s a very clever and funny film, which I enjoy watching every year around this time.
Then we have “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.” Some of you might be wondering what that has to do with the holiday season at all. Well, it ends with “Christmas in Heaven,” so I’m going to say it counts. I’m a huge fan of Monty Python (I’m one of those guys that can recite entire scenes or skits from memory), so any excuse to watch one of their movies works for me. It’s witty, entertaining, and often times shocking – everything that’s great about Monty Python.
“The Life of Brian” is an equally acceptable Monty Python film that follows the life of Brian, a Jewish man born some time around 0 BC who, through a series of misfortune, mess-ups, and general stupidity, gets mistaken for the messiah in spite of his insistence otherwise. Some people have complained that this film mocks Jesus, but Brian is not meant to be a messianic figure. Christ himself appears giving his Sermon on the Mount, and an ex-leper talks about how business has been tough ever since he was healed. It’s good comedic fun, and quite a good film.
Mind you, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is my favorite of the Monty Python movies, but most people feel that way as well. I don’t need to say anything more about that, since it’s their most commonly quoted movie anyways.
This last one isn’t a movie, but I’m going to count it anyways. Well, I say “it,” but it’s actually “them.” I’m referring to the Doctor Who Christmas specials. Take your pick; they’re all great. I think my personal favorite is “The Next Doctor,” one of the David Tennant episodes, although there’s nothing really holiday-esque about it until the end, when the Doctor joins the family he’s saved for a Christmas dinner. I’m particularly looking forward to this year’s special, “The Doctor, the Widow, and the Wardrobe,” since it will be the first new episode after the spectacular way they ended the recent season.
Those are a few of my favorite things to watch this time of year, although admittedly, I enjoy them regardless of when I watch them. I’m sure you’ve got favorites of your own, so feel free to share them in the comments. So until next time, I hope you all enjoy your holidays, whichever you may celebrate, and have a happy new year.