The Habitrail Critic’s Heart Is Several Sizes Too Small

I find myself in a grumpy mood. I’m…well, I’m kind of over this whole holiday thing. This is kind of sad, because once upon a time I remember actually liking Christmas. I can remember there being a sort of quiet, dimly-lit magic about it. Now, as the commercial tsunami of the great retail disaster of the year continues to flood the world around me with jingly shit, I find myself wanting to lock the door and grouch my way through the rest of December with a hearty “bah, humbug!”

In that spirit, I started trying to think of things that I *could* enjoy about the season, and I came up with the following list of 5 holiday movies that I deem bearable. Yay!

Let’s begin with the old and the sweet. Normally, people who want a little of the ol’ black-and-white action at Christmas go for It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol. I can see why, of course, and I have nothing in particular against those films (other than the fact that I’ve had to watch them a few too many times), but I want to put the spotlight on this cheesy little Bob Hope vehicle instead. It’s a really, really silly movie with a sweet redemptive message…and also Bob Hope and a whole lot of snarky, self-referential gags. It never takes itself seriously, and (as is typical for Bob Hope’s stuff) tends to go off the rails at the end.
It also has one of my favorite filmed versions of a Christmas song:
Ahhhh. Nice ‘n cheesy. Now I can go finish the mood with a viewing of Road to Utopia.

I will never, ever forgive Jim Carrey for the live-action remake of this brilliant animated piece by the brilliant Chuck Jones. NEVER. Chuck Jones took Seuss’s already terrific material and made it sparkle, rendering the original illustrations in his own inimitable style. The music is delightful, the voice casting is delicious…it’s all good. People who dislike this film confuse me. They should go watch Rikki-Tikki-Tavi and The Phantom Tollbooth and The Dot and the Line and then come back. If that doesn’t work, there’s always “What’s Opera Doc?”

The song is unendingly fun.

3. Gremlins (1984)

The most marvelously mean little Christmas movie of them all, Gremlins simultaneously takes on horror films and holiday films and just goes to town on them both. None of the sequels ever quite lived up to the viciously ridiculous way this movie got the job done.

I shouldn’t laugh as much as I do at this stupid thing, but I can’t help myself. I love it.

4. Die Hard (1988)

’nuff said.

5. MST3K: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1991)

No Christmas marathon would be complete without a visit to the Satellite of Love, people.


I suppose there are other things worth watching (like A Christmas Story), but these are the things I can stand.

Happy Holidays!


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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