Showing posts with the label Not Christmas

The Sound of Music (1965)

Along with The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music is one of two movies that have sort of broken into the canon of established Christmas movies, despite containing no scenes set at Christmas. Normally, we don't review movies simply because they've become associated with the holiday, but due to the significance of these two classics, along with the sustained connections they've formed, we're making these exceptions. For the time being, these are the only two movies we're granting this honorary status: maybe we'll revisit a few others in another decade or two. For Oz, we dedicated an entire article about the convoluted history between that and the yuletide season. I think The Sound of Music's Christmas credentials are a bit simpler, so let's get them out of the way upfront. The simplest and most straightforward holiday connection comes from the fact the song, My Favorite Things, has long been associated with Christmas and appears on numerous Christmas albums.

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wizard of Oz is one of two movies that hold a somewhat unique place in Christmas media. It is not, by any real quantifiable measure, a Christmas  movie, but for somewhat complicated reasons it is heavily associated with the holidays. We've held off on reviewing it here for a long time, but finally decided there should be some sort of a review on this site, given how significant this is to both holiday tradition and to film history in general. Before going on, I feel should probably remind everyone that the writer of the book this is based on, L. Frank Baum,  was quite literally a proponent of genocide . He was a racist, an awful human being, and any discussion of his legacy should include that note. Fortunately, the 1939 movie isn't limited to Baum's legacy. In a sense, the story of the movie is secondary to the craftmanship that went into making an imaginary world real. The source of that world is fairly trivial: they could have selected any fairytale or kid's book

The Peanuts Movie (2015)

The Peanuts Movie somewhat breaks our litmus test for Christmas movies, in that it objectively passes despite the fact it's pretty clearly not a holiday film in any meaningful sense of the phrase. For those of you who don't want to read through my treatise on the subject , there are a handful of binary questions we can ask, and any movie receiving a "yes" on one or more those questions is considered, for the purposes of this blog, a Christmas movie. The most basic of those questions is whether or not more than 50% of a movie is clearly set at or around the holidays, and The Peanuts Movie passes. In fact, the vast majority of the film - everything except the ending - is adjacent to Christmas. But the reason for this is, well, pretty trivial. As far as I can tell, The Peanuts Movie's setting is just an homage to A Charlie Brown Christmas . Beyond that, the holidays really don't come up. I've seen a few other movies where Christmas seemed to be more a

The Detective (1968)

First of all, The Detective is not in any way, shape or form, a Christmas movie. It's not set at Christmas, and it isn't about Christmas, and I'm not claiming anything to the contrary. So. Why am I talking about it? While this isn't a Christmas movie, it is indirectly connected to one of the most significant Christmas movies ever made. The Detective is based on a book by the same name, and that book has a sequel called Nothing Lasts Forever which would be adapted into a movie two decades after this one. Unlike The Detective, the name "Nothing Lasts Forever" didn't survive the adaptation: they changed it to Die Hard. In other words, The Detective is John McClane's origin story. Well, sort of. The main character in The Detective was named Joe Leland, and several details about his relationship with his wife were notably different. But other details, like him being a New York police detective who breaks rules, are consistent. In some ways, I fou

Neptune's Daughter (1949)

This is not, by any reasonable definition, a Christmas movie, but we're going to cover it anyway. Why? Because while Neptune's Daughter isn't a Christmas movie, it had a significant impact on Christmas tradition, namely by introducing the song, "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to the world. Baby, It's Cold Outside has been debated heavily in recent years, and this year's no different. It's arguably become the single most controversial holiday song in existence. Rather than retread points others have made, I thought it would be interesting to go back and actually look at it in its original context. Okay, this wasn't actually its original context. Before being sung by Ricardo Montalban and Esther Williams on the big screen, it was sung privately by Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland at dinner parties. If anyone has a time machine I could borrow, I'd love to go back and hear it performed in that context, as well. I'll also need to borrow a t