Twelve Days of Christmas Cinema | Week 2

In the second week of Twelve Days of Christmas Cinema, I watched two of my least favorite movies so far. It was a bit of an off week, but I expected it. Half of the movies, I've seen, and the other half were a hodgepodge of genres and eras. I'm more than happy to broaden my horizons and watch things I wouldn't normally watch. If there was one thing I learned from Creepy Cinema 2012, it was that films I didn't think I would like, I loved. These two films just ended up being ones that I would never watch again. 

1. A Christmas Story (1984)
The first time I watched A Christmas Story was 2010 with one of our best friends, who is from Cleveland, Ohio. He said that this was one of the best Christmas films and one that is very special. We decided to include this film on this year's list because I think people would've been appalled if we didn't.

This was one of the films that I feel deserves the hype. I think A Christmas Story is one of the quintessential Christmas films. I know that TBS plays it non-stop on Christmas day. It's something that has become synonymous with the holiday. I knew quite a bit about the plot before I watched it, but it didn't reduce any of my enjoyment. This is one of the better 80s Christmas movies, it's not my favorite, but it's still quite good. I think I liked it better the second time around. The first time, I wasn't as interested, but during this viewing, I paid more attention to the details and the story. I noticed that it had a similar feeling as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but A Christmas Story is much more likeable. Maybe because the main character is a child and you can excuse all of his shenanigans. It's much harder to forgive similar shenanigans in a grown man.

2. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
After we finished watching this movie, the only thing I said was, "well, that was weird." I don't even really know how to describe it. Markus and I decided to put it on the list because he had heard it was one of those peculiar cult classics, also because of its interesting title and premise. It's the only film of its kind on the list. I haven't seen very many B-movies and this was definitely a B-movie.

Basically, the plot focuses on the Martians and a problem that they face with their children. Martian kids have become distracted and uninterested in Martian life. They only care about watching Earth programs. The solution that the Martians receive from their 800 year old sage is that they need Santa. So naturally, the Martians come to Earth and kidnap Santa. You would assume from the title that Santa Claus comes in and kicks some Martian booty, but the exact opposite happens. He just sort of bumbles about cheerfully. He does no conquering or anything really special. It's such a strange film. I've never seen anything like it and would never watch it again. Although, I'm glad that we did, because how often do you get to see Santa on Mars?

3. Love Actually (2003)
Words cannot describe how much I adore this movie. Love Actually has to be one of the best ensemble films I've ever seen. There are so many amazing actors in this film: Colin Firth, Martin Freeman, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, I could really go on forever. I remember the first time I watched it in the theater. I was so affected by the stories and they resonated with me deeply. I love that not every story is a happy ending, which added a hint of realism.

Even though I've watched it many times, the stories never get old. I think that's the beauty of having multiple intertwining stories. They give you a little taste of one and then they move to another before you can get bored.  It's not hard to have a favorite storyline. I like almost all of them, but it's easy to have a least favorite. I always feel so bad for the woman with the troubled brother. Just when you think she's going to end up with the love of her life, fate deals her a bad hand and she misses her chance. Despite the not so happy ending in some of the stories, the film ends on a happy note. I love the message of the film, "love actually is all around." It's true. Sometimes we get caught up in our everyday lives and forget to notice what's going on around us. Love is such a beautiful thing and I'm thankful to be reminded of it.

4. Die Hard (1988) 
After watching Die Hard, I've learned something very important about myself. I do not like 80's guy movies. They're not my cup of tea and I don't enjoy them. It's strange because I love a lot of recent guy movies and I used to watch kung-fu flicks a lot when I was a kid. I think that my distaste is strictly specific to the 80s. This year alone, I watched Predator, Commando and Die Hard and I disliked every single one of those films.

Die Hard is definitely a guy movie. It's all guns, action and catchphrases. The premise is quite unbelievable, but are any of them believable? Bruce Willis isn't bad in this movie, I actually like him. I also loved that Alan Rickman was the villain. He's such a phenomenal actor and I like him in almost everything. What I didn't like was the length of the movie and some of the nonsensical plot points. For instance, why does John McClane have to run around barefoot the entire movie? Are you telling me that when he first heard the gun shots, he was physically unable put on some shoes? My golly. I know it's meant to show how B.A. he is, but I just think it's unnecessary. For me, the movie was just a lot of action and not much depth.