Monday, December 26, 2016

A Chant Top Ten List - Christmas Films

First, lest anyone think this post is late to the party, this is being written on Christmas Day.  Why, you might ask? One, two and half years ago, when Sarge hired me on to this gig, he looked at Christmas 2016 and saw it falls on Sunday. Ha! he says, Juvat will have to forego his long winter's nap and write a blog post on Christmas.  Second, many readers refer to him as Sarge, as an aside he refers to himself as Chris, a pseudonym if there ever was one.  No, dear readers, his first name is actually....Ebeneezer.  As in.........

So, ma's in her kerchef, and settled in for a long winter's nap.  I will be describing the official Juvat approved 10 best Christmas Films (for Guys).  Sorry, Ladies, "The Holiday" did not make the cut, despite starring Cameron Diaz.  The criteria for ranking these movies, as agreed upon by Ebeneezer,  are Historical accuracy, Well Told Story, Death and destruction, and finally Probability of being watched by your wife.  A total of 10 points is available per category.  Regrettably, "The Holiday" scored a whopping total of 10 points.  I'll leave it to your imagination on which category the points were awarded.


From the bottom,  then...

#10  "Trading Places"   Total points -17, Historic Accuracy - 0, Well Told Story - 8 (would have been 5 but bonus points were awarded for an excellent scene involving Jamie Leigh Curtis, Death and Destruction -2, Probability of being watched by the wife - 7 (provided you arrange for her to be out of the room in one scene involving Jamie Leigh Curtis).    A funny film with a well written comeuppance scene filmed back in the day when Eddie Murphy was actually funny.


# 9 Tie "Die Hard"  Total points- 20 Historic Accuracy - 0, Well Told Story - 10 (Any screen play that can include the phrase "Yippee Kai, Yo. M@#*@ F@#$@@!" by definition is well told). Death and Destruction -10 (Well...Yeah!), Probability of being watched by the wife -0 (I inquired if she wanted to watch it, she replied "Yippee Kai, Yo. M@#*@ F@#$@@!" which I believe is Swahili for "No, Dear").



#8 Tie "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" Total Points -20 Historic Accuracy -0, Well Told Story-10 (What guy among us (guy being defined as someone who doesn't wear red and black pajamas in the living room while sipping a Latte) hasn't dreamed of putting enough lights on his house to require a nuclear power plant to drive them).  Death and destruction-5 Sleds, Sewer's, Christmas Trees (X 2), Yeah Baby!. Probability of being watched by the wife -5 (I think she sees herself as the Long Suffering Beverly D'Angelo to my Chevy Chase,  for some reason, so do I)


#7 "Scrooged"  Total Points - 21 Historic Accuracy-2 (it follows the Charles Dickens version well enough to garner 2 points.  The margins are slim here.)  Well Told Story-8  I mean the guy gets visited by 3 ghosts because he dumped Karen Allen.  What was he thinking? Death and Destruction-8.  "Some truths are painful" delivered by Carol Kane was probably the best line in the movie and very destructive. Probability of being watched by the wife -3.  I think she liked the Carol Kane line also.


#6 " A Christmas Story" Total points -22 Historic Accuracy-1 "Triple Dog Dare Ya" got Sarge to stick his tongue to the flag pole at the Kun , Christmas 1979, the whole Wing fell out to witness. Well Told Story -7 See Above.  Death and Destruction -7 A BB Gun and a 10 year old boy, nothing more destructive on earth, ask the red ants in Big Spring. Probability of being watched by the wife-7.  Guess who rescued the Sarge?  Seeing the re-enactment has to be a Christmas tradition.


#5 "3 Godfathers"  Total Points -23 Historic Accuracy-0 The Three Wise Men didn't carry 6 shooters to Bethlehem.  Well Told Story-10 John Wayne as a Bank Robber who rescues an infant and carries him on foot across the desert to safety?  What's not to like?  Death and Destruction -7 A 400 yard Winchester shot by Ward Bond that hits the water bag strapped to the side of a galloping horse, poking a hole in it, but not hitting the rider whose left leg is directly in front of it?  That's some shootin' there, Pard!  Probability of being watched by the wife-6 John Wayne taking care of an infant?  High Comedic value there!


#4 "Lethal Weapon" Total Points -26 Historic Accuracy -0  Well Told Story-10 What's not to like about two buddies from completely different backgrounds who manage to take down a well armed and well manned drug ring by themselves, all the while throwing pithy comments at each other? Death and Destruction -10 Two buddies take down a well armed and well manned drug ring by themselves?  It ain't done by sitting down and singing Kumbaya!  Probability of being watched by the wife-6 Two words....Mel Gibson.


#3 "Joyeux Noel"   Total Points -27.  Historic Accuracy -9 Sarge says it's accurate.  He was there in 1914.  Well Told Story -8 Sarge says it's well told, he was there in 1914.  Death and Destruction -8  Are you kidding?  WWI trench warfare?  Probability of being watched by the wife-2  Are you kidding?  WWI trench warfare?



#2 "Home Alone"  Total Points - 28 Historic Accuracy -0 History has no record of this story ever happening.  Well Told Story-10.  10 year old boy defends home against two middle aged white males, defeating them absolutely.  Oh....YEAH!  Death and Destruction-8 No Kumbaya here either.  Probability of being watched by the wife-10 Two middle aged white males being defeated by a 10 year old kid whilst the mother encounters numerous obstacles while she fights her way back to rescue her lion cub.  Yep, gonna be watched!


Finally.....

#1 "White Christmas" Total Points -34 Historic Accuracy -8 -2 points for having an air attack on the US Army in WWII after the Kasserine Pass, didn't happen.  Well Told Story -10 Army Buddies stick together after the war, achieve fame and fortune, help another Army Buddy (ok, Generals, even retired, are never "Buddies", but still...) out, meet girls and woo them.  Yep, got all the categories checked there. Death and destruction -6 Building almost falls on the hero.  The "Theatah!" gets demolished.  Yep, good there also.  Probability of being watched by the wife -10.  Singing? Check! Dancing? Check! Girl dumps guy? Check!  Guy sees error of ways and comes back? Check!  Girl takes him back? Check?  Probability of watching-100%.

So, There you have it folks.  A completely unbiased, systematic evaluation and ranking of the 10 best Christmas Flicks for Guys 2016 edition. 

In all seriousness (or all that I can muster after writing this), Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah or just plain Happy Holidays and may your New Year be even better than last. 




29 comments:

  1. Pretty good choices. And always remember: It's not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off Nakatomi Plaza................

    If you have never seen them, you might want to look up "Bernard and the Genie" and "Black Adder Christmas Carol". Very funny, although if you have never watched the "Blackadder" series then the humor might elude you.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8qwZcycfoI

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2dfgeo_blackadders-christmas-carol_creation

    May you all have a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year......................

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    1. Well...Christmas 2016 successfully and officially filled the Nakatomi Plaza requirement around 2200 CST. I've heard about the Black Adder Series, but never watched one. Understanding British humor (humour?) has always been a problem with me. I'm not a very subtle guy.

      Thanks, and may you also enjoy the rest of the Christmas Season and have a Peaceful, Happy, Successful and Blessed New Year also.

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    2. Don't worry about the British humour, it's more guy humor in the whole series...............

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    3. Ahhh, well then....That's a horse of a different color!

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  2. Huh. Well,concur White Christmas---my list has to have "Miracle on 34th Street" in it.

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    1. Only if it's the Natalie Wood version, not the latest pile of squeeze out of Hollyweird.

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    2. Agreed, We watched the Elizabeth Perkins version this season. It's not anywhere near as good, or believable, as the original.

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  3. That's high on the list for "The Chant's Top Ten Family Christmas Movies". (2017 edition). It was considered, but didn't score well in the D&D category. The Juvat household did review the movie on Christmas night. The fact that The viewing occurred immediately prior to Die Hard may have skewed the ratings .

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  4. Making top ten ...or even favorites lists reminds me too much of some kind of assignment.
    That said, did you even consider the Laurel & Hardy version of Babes in Toyland?

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    1. Hmmmm, No. This was a new assignment from Ebeneezer. Next year we may have to have a nomination process, maybe something along that of the Oscars. Yeah....That's the ticket!

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  5. Great lineup. Since I'm now an old fart let me just say, they sure don't make movies like that anymore, dagnabbit!

    I can't believe the girl in the mirror is now flogging colonic yogurt.

    The first time I watched A Christmas Story I laughed so hard I blew a surface capillary in the sclera of my left eyeball. Looked like a demon until opening day.

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    1. Yes, but comparatively she's aged pretty gracefully.

      Didn't know that laughing could affect your eyes. Might not have watched Caddy Shack while sitting alert at Osan if I had. "Juvat, how'd you blind yourself while sitting alert? Well, Doc, see there's this gopher...."

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    2. You have to really work at it, and probably have to have congenitally weak scleral vasculature. I saw one fellow do it while trying to clear his ears with the valsalva maneuver.

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  6. A very fine list Cratchit, er, I mean (ahem), Juvat.

    #6 was watched Christmas Morn while awaiting the arrival of The Olde Vermonter and his tribe. Hilarity ensured. However, Madame Mère vetoed a second, consecutive, viewing of that holiday classic. Perhaps she hadn't caught all the subtle nuances of the film.

    Oh well, there's always next year. (Or Blu-Ray or YouTube, etc., etc.)

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    1. I also was overruled by the "Power behind the Throne" in my attempt to re-view #1 this Christmas Season, having viewed it Thanksgiving Evening. I was, however, successful in getting Scrooged, 3 Godfathers (first time I've seen it, good movie) and Die Hard (I had to use the Nakatomi Plaza ploy though)

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  7. Ok. So, for the first nine of the movies listed I kept saying, "Nope, haven't seen that one", etc. However, at number 10, bingo. My wife and I watched "White Christmas" earlier this month. One of my favorites.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Truly? Not even Home Alone or Lethal Weapon? Ok, We're gonna start you out slow....No more than 1 a week. Wouldn't want you to laugh so hard you blow "a surface capillary in the sclera of my left eyeball".

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  8. Not to get all serious on you 'n all, but re: #3, "Joyeux Noël":

    Coincidentally enough I just this morning read this paragraph in "Elegy" by Andrew Roberts, about the first day of fighting on the Somme. Roberts is recounting some of the later diary entries of Ernst Jünger, who volunteered on the war's first day in 1914 & served throughout the war. On page 146, Roberts writes:
    "Although a great deal has been written about the Christmas Truce of 1914, where Tommy and Fritz fraternized, exchanged cigarettes and played football in no man's land, Jünger makes it clear that there was no repeat of this the following year. 'We sang hymns,' he recalled, 'to which the British responded with machine gun fire. On Christmas Day we lost one man to a ricochet in the head. Immediately afterwards, the British attempted a friendly gesture by hauling a Christmas tree up on their traverse, but our angry troops quickly shot it down again, to which Tommy replied with rifle grenades. It was all in all a less than merry Christmas.' "

    So, perhaps the Christmas 1914 killing hiatus is indeed a time to be lauded in film, as it seems to have been the last moment of shared humanity between the warring parties.

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    1. I suspect after the Somme, Ypres, Verdun, Gallipoli and others, it would be very difficult to view the other side as having any shred of humanity. Another interpretation of "War is Hell".

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  9. Ah yes, the dropping of the Gruber... :-)

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  10. Excellent choices all...and Old NFO wins the internet today for that bit o' snark!

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  11. "The Long Kiss Goodnight." And we watched "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale."

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    1. Hmmm.... more movies to watch! Life is good.

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  12. Just to throw in my girlie viewpoint, watching "The Family Stone" has become a new tradition with my daughter and me. We invite other girl friends over to watch with us, while the men sit in the other room and try different whiskeys.

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    1. Ok, two warning flags went up when I read this comment. First "girlie viewpoint", second "men sit in the other room and try different whiskeys". Now, I'm not casting aspersion on either assessment (certainly not the second), so I guess another criteria for Christmas movies for Guys will have to be "which room do the men sit in and drink whiskey while the movie is playing?". Not having seen this particular cinematic triumph, but....I will defer to your assessment.
      Hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year.

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  13. Some interesting choices on here, including Die Hard. Although your choice is supported by a commercial for Cox Cable running recently, as the dad, armed with tons of bandwidth, answers all sorts of unspoken Christmas question- including "Die Hard IS considered a Christmas movie!" Not having "It's a Wonderful Life" seems a bit scandalous though.

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    1. Well, it ended up fairly low on the Historical Accuracy and Death and Destruction categories. Well Told Story held up well, but when I offered it to the wife for viewing consideration this Christmas, she demurred, which brought it down in the probability of wife...

      It still would have one out over Trading Places, except for the bonus points awarded to Jamie Leigh Curtis. For want of a horseshoe....

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