December 22, 2011

It is the Summer of the Soul in December

December 22, 2011  

So, where are all the Christmas movies? Seems like they're mostly nothing but low quality, badly acted Lifetime and ABC Family productions. All I've seen so far is The Muppet Christmas Carol, which is a yearly (sometimes seasonal) ritual, and Home Alone 2; and we DVR'd A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott. Uh, Christmas Vacation, you're on for a month straight in the summer. Are you waiting now until Christmas Day? (Update: Nope, just until Christmas week) Why must A Christmas Story only be shown for 24 hours on one day of the year? Why does no one ever show Santa Clause: The Movie, with Dudley Moore and John Lithgow? I sometimes forget that The Grinch Who Stole Christmas even exists. White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life? All nowhere to be found. I guess that's why I never saw them in my life until last year, because they only get played on that one busy travel and family day. Halloween movies get the entire month of October and more, so why be so stingy with the Christmas movies? Come on people.

But if you watch only one Christmas movie this year, and for some reason you need a suggestion, I would say it has to be The Muppet Christmas Carol. I was going to write my own review about it, but I know of one that has done all the work for me. Robert Berg is an insightful reviewer that goes in-depth and catches things the average viewer misses. I still must say in my own words, though, that this is not only my favorite Christmas movie but one of my favorite movies period. I could watch it at any time of year and have. The Muppets are always funny (realized I'm wearing an Animal shirt right now), but the biggest draw for me is and always has been the incredible Michael Caine, who treats his fellow felt actors as flesh and blood. There isn't one moment where his performance seems insincere. Caine is whole-heartedly engaged in this world and brings a tear to your eye with no more than a tear in his.

If you buy the DVD and watch in widescreen, a song was cut from the Ghost of Christmas Past scene with Belle that was essential to breaking through to Scrooge and breaking him down. The performance of "When Love is Gone" is where we get to see the depth of Scrooge's pain after reliving his worst moment, but they cut it so drastically that he gets there with no effort whatsoever. It also has a companion piece at the end called "When Love is Found." Why they didn't show it, and still don't on TV, is a mystery to me.

Update: I have the old tape from 1992 that my family watches a number of times a year. The DVD has been out for years and I never bought it because the song was missing from the widescreen version. Although, it's included in the pan-and-scan on the same disc. I kept waiting for a new version, and now that Blu-ray exists there's still no sign of it. I'm doing some last minute shopping today, the 23rd of December, and I don't think I can hold out any longer. Have to get it. As soon as I do, that's when Disney will announce the Blu-ray, which you can watch for at the Blu-ray.com forum. You can watch the fan forum for the announcement. Coincidentally, I'm also going to see The Muppets today before it's out of theaters. It will be a day of Muppety goodness.

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