Winter Movie Magic

It’s the holidays. I like to think this is when Movie Magic happens. Think about last year, Star Wars Episode VII. And before that … Titanic … Avatar … This is when the studios gear up for Oscar.

Recently, I cut the cord. You could probably debate this is more of a cost shift. Higher bandwidth, Netflix, Amazon and Apple Music additional costs probably cancels out any/most of the monthly savings. What this endeavor did free up is my time. Now, I’m not using all of my spare moments to write books and blog posts or create the next hyperdrive. You have to goof off a little. And during my evening wind-down period, I’ve been catching up on movies I always wanted to watch but never thought I had the time. Here is a taste:

Godfather Part I, it’s sad that I had never seen this movie before. It makes You’ve Got Mail infinitely better. Tom Hanks quoted the movie throughout the, er, movie. Coppola’s epic truly deserves to be ranked in the AFI Top 5, and, at least for me, is far better than Citizen Kane.

Godfather Part II, I haven’t decided which I preferred, I or II. You’re trading Brando for a young De Niro. And it still has Pacino. Watching both actors at arguably the height of their powers is a gift. I can’t think of a modern-day comparison.

Godfather Part III, The end of this trilogy didn’t work for me. I’m glad Coppola finished the series. But the scope was too epic. Sometimes, constraints can be good. Ultimately, I felt like he was trying to one-up the gangster formula and the Vatican conspiracy failed to deliver.

Casablanca, I’ve seen this before. Now, I just watch it more. It never gets old. Here’s looking at you kid. That Humphrey Bogart guy was a pretty good actor.

Anything John Hughes, he defined the 80s. Sixteen Candles and the iconic Wong Duck Dong. But there were others. Breakfast Club. Adventures in Babysitting. It was good to remember what being a child of the 80s meant.

Hitchcock, Vertigo, Rear Window and North by Northwest. The director makes an argument for constraint theory. The entire plot of window has one man watching his neighbors. It feels like one continuous shot.

Since the Christmas lights have started to twinkle, I have the DVD player prepped for It’s a Wonderful Life, better known as the Christmas Juggernaut. AFI Number 7. It should be ranked higher. I loved sitting down and watching it with my dad as a kid. For me, this is Number 1. A few years back, my parents gifted me a two-DVD set. It had the original tried and true black and white and Technicolor versions. I’ve never put the Technicolor disc in the tray. There isn’t a reason too. Jimmy Stewart was a force. “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”

There are others too.

Cousin Eddie and Christmas Vacation, Is there a better line in a movie than “Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now…”

Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, “Ready, Santa.” This is my kid’s favorite.

Ralph and the Crew (A Christmas Story), better known as the quest for the Red Ryder BB gun with the compass and the stock. Years ago, my high school English teacher loaned me a set of cassette tapes of the original radio recording. The story of the high school prom date is actually better. Jean Shepherd is a treasure. I give Mr. Wilson credit with this one.

Elf, I love the scene where Will Ferrell introduces his date to the “Word’s Greatest Cup of Coffee.” Starbucks, eat your heart out. If Ferrell doesn’t do a sequel, the only other person on the planet who could sell this role is Jimmy Fallon. His utter joy on late night puts a smile on my face. Seeing him freak out when the Nintendo Switch was unveiled was classic.

I know there is more to watch. So, instead of watching House Hunters or binge-watching Suits Season 5, enjoy a movie. I know this can be hard, I miss Chip and JoJo on Fixer Upper. Putting a smile on a family’s face after a renovation, well, there is some Christmas Magic there too. Happy holidays.

Cliff Notes:

  • Yeah, I could have added links to all of these individual movies, but too many links, too little time.
  • The headline photo was taken in downtown Franklin, TN. Older theatres have a tendency to show movie classics.