Friday, November 30, 2012

Two Christmas Movies to Make a Grown Man Cry

Full disclosure: I turn into a big pile of yuletide mush this time of year. Songs that conjure up fond childhood memories; the look of wonder on Peanut's face that often warms my heart enough to produce ocular precipitation. But perhaps movies are the biggest cause of this grown man's crying. Yes, despite my recent rant about early-decorating over-achievers, I really am a big, soft, sensitive Christmas cuddle bear:
Hands off, ladies

During our Thanksgiving weekend of sloth (and illness), where I obviously did NOT hang my lights outside, we watched these two movies... in one day. Both of them succeeded in making me sniffle, snort, and clear my throat in a failed attempt at speaking without my voice cracking. Who am I kidding? I cried like a little boy.

"Arthur Christmas" 2011/Rated PG:

We took Peanut to this movie in the theater during our week off after Christmas last year. Because you've come to expect it from me, I have a couple of nit-picky things to point out before I get to the part that made my "allergies" to flare up. First, the Santa "family" is British. I have nothing against our former oppressors from across the Atlantic, but now I have to explain to Peanut that Santa just might talk like the man who anchors my show. (Big hint there as to which show I run, if you didn't know already.)

Second, the actual Santa, "dad," is aloof and clueless. (Kind of like a lot of real-life dads, I guess. Present company excluded, of course.) It turns me off when Santa is portrayed negatively, like in the classic Rudolph cartoon. Santa is a hero, especially to children, and should be treated as such. His heir apparent, his oldest son "Steve," is a military-style taskmaster who has taken over the North Pole operation and runs a tight ship. He's just waiting it out until dad retires so he can take over as Santa.

Enter Arthur, the title character who provides most of the movie's heart and soul. He is the one who still believes Santa is a hero. And when a unexpected flaw in the system causes one gift to be undelivered, it's Arthur who cares the most. That's where the adventure begins. Despite its shortcomings, this movie is sweet and funny. In the end, when you see the look on Arthur's face after he witnesses Christmas morning for the girl whose gift he traveled all over the world to deliver in very little time, the tears will flow. At least they did for me. I wish YOU a very Arthur Christmas.

"The Polar Express" 2004/Rated PG: Yes. It takes you a couple of viewings to get over the creepy animation. Yes. Pretty much every character is Tom Hanks, making it even more creepy. But once you get used to seeing a virtual Tom Hanks as a little boy, train conductor, hobo, Santa Claus, and everyone else, you find a magical story that is actually very well done. A journey of friendship and trust. A journey of believing. I am a person of faith who often has doubts. This movie, as silly as it may sound, reaffirms the notion that seeing is not believing. But believing is seeing.

The entire scene at the North Pole when Santa arrives in the square and everyone is going nuts but the boy can't hear the bells, gives me goose bumps. This is a movie about the true spirit of Christmas, which to me is all about belief and giving. And I am all in, complete with tears and snot, when it comes to those two things. Also, I love this song:
One more creepster alert: there is also a random and unnecessary Steven Tyler elf cameo near the end of the film. Regardless, I'm all aboard. Just move on and enjoy the ride.

We went on our own Polar Express ride last Christmas season, and it too made me cry. Click here to read the unexpected reason why.

5 comments:

  1. Ha ! Don't think these movies would make DH cry, but maybe me. Will check them out & let you know :) ! Nice reviews. BTW, the only time in my life I saw DH cry was ... when my oldest was born & that was 14 yrs back. Never again since. My oldest throws it in my youngest's face that daddy only cried for her! Maybe will let him watch these movies & see !! Catchy title BTW !! Have a good holiday season Justin !

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    1. Maybe give him some wine before you watch... soften him up. What can I say? I'm a sucker for Christmas shmaltz. A Merry Christmas to you too!

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  2. Thanks for sharing, I will def watch them! Still haven't and yeah, please don't hate on me, I am just really busy during x-mas! ;)

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  3. No littles left in my house but I watch all the Christmas movies on t.v. as they appear. It is now officially the season because the original Grinch was on this week. Love the voice of Boris Karloff as the Grinch, I'm sorry but Jim Carey just doesn't cut it for me. Charlie Brown's Christmas was on Wednesday night and wouldn't miss that one either. I don't even mind the commercials, because then I can get the dishes done in 2 minute increments! Also watched most of the Christmas tree lighting in New York, which was wonderful too. Merry, merry to you and yours. Thanks for the revues. :-)

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  4. I haven't seen either movie, but I've heard good things, and now I'll have to check them out!

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