I have to admit to something. I did not watch Star Wars as a kid when it first came out. I actually didn’t watch Star Wars (any of the three original ones) until I was in college. I also had never seen Its a Wonderful Life until I was in graduate school laid up in bed after painful surgery. My surgery was sometime in the summer but I needed a feel good movie that would make me cry and help me forget that I could have been crying over the intense shoulder pain instead. So there I was in the middle of summer watching one of our quintessential Christmas movies. I had a lot of catching up to do. Now what this all has to do with Star Wars will become apparent in a few paragraphs, I promise. This is my random stream of consciousness before I hunker down for the weekend.
Growing up, around Christmas time, all I can recall watching as a kid was a movie called March of the Wooden Soldiers (possibly Babes in Toyland) with Laurel and Hardy. I believe that was the movie PBS showed year after year. Yes, I watched PBS as a Kid. Considering how much I love Christmas, it is amazing that I just had not seen many Christmas movies until after I no longer believed in Santa Claus. Way, way after.
I can truly say that one of the first Christmas movies I ever saw, was Die Hard. Yes, Die Hard with Bruce Willis. I realized this about myself after I watched the fall finale of Arrow where he notes that Die Hard is his favorite Christmas movie. Besides trying to figure out what horrible thing was about to go wrong on Arrow, I started thinking about Die Hard. What a fabulously true Christmas movie. Sure, it takes place during Christmas eve. That in part leads to it being a Christmas movie. The movie features a Christmas party, Bruce Willis wears a santa hat and he fights for forgiveness. Well, he fights to save his wife and many others trapped in the office building. Throughout it all he has hope of patching things up and overcoming great odds. Its a newer version of Its a Wonderful Life. But what ties these two vastly different films is the hope that eventually the season brings to one’s heart. Hope, love and family.
Speaking of hope, today I saw Star Wars’ Rogue One. The movie starts off by reminding you that hope is a powerful weapon and ends by reasssuring you that the carnage and death that just occurred are past of the hope that is to come. I sat on the edge of my seat during the whole movie as the characters were fighting for the future and redeeming themselves for their past. To me that aspect of Rogue One is similar to Die Hard (which is a Christmas story). I left the movie theater energized and thinking of how hope truly propels us forward. I unexpectedly liked Rogue One. I went in with no expectations and hardly an idea as too what the plot really would entail. I left feeling good, although a bit sad as this was (for me) the darkest in tone of all the Star Wars. It fit with this New Yorker’s sensibilities.
In this post-truth world in which we are currently, I am glad I caught this film for Christmas. Now I will see if I can watch Die Hard on demand. Must get my full fix of Christmas movies 2016-style.
On Christmas day, many of us are thankful for what we have in life and start thinking of what the future may bring. We find comfort in family. We find comfort in the exchange of gifts and thank yous. We find comfort in the giggle and screams of a child delighting in getting what he wanted and receiving something unexpected.
We also find comfort in the odd pop culture expressions of Christmas.
Die Hard and Rogue One are Christmas movies