I don’t know why I let her talk me into this. Crystal Dawn is a force to be reckoned with, I suppose. I don’t really like socializing with people. But, it’s Christmas time and I do kind of feel a little homesick. And she does remind me somewhat of my mom.
You see, my mom is also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, though probably a bit more extreme than she is. Mom likes street racing cars and jumping out of planes. At least Crystal Dawn’s is vicariously through movies.
Anyhow. She threw an absolute conniption fit over the fact that I have not seen, in her mind, the two greatest Christmas movies in the world that never get credit as such. So, now, here I am, in a Stitch union suit with Stitch-feet slippers, anxiously awaiting what will probably be torture by film.
Once the popcorn was done and she made sure we were set on snacks and drinks in the viewing room, she bundled me (and herself) up in mounds of Christmas-themed blankets (apparently, this is also a tradition) and pressed play on her PC.
Looks like the first movie she picked was Die Hard. It was…not exactly what I would expect for a “Christmas” movie. Set in 80s LA, New York Police Detective John McClane flies across the country to try to reconnect with his estranged wife by crashing her office’s Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza. During this time, a German terrorist (sort of novel for this kind of flick) decides he needs to steal the money in Nakatomi’s vault. So he and his team are there doing their shenanigans while McClane arrives and, well, chaos ensues.
Predictably, the Good Guys win – all the hostages (save the boss, Joseph Takagi, and idiot Harry Ellis) make it out. The Big Bad Hans Gruber (played by Severus Snape actor Alan Rickman) falls to his demise from very high up. Holly, the estranged wife, punches out a reporter as they leave the building. Even the limo driver who brought McClane to Nakatomi got to see some action.
Overall, it was pretty good for an action movie. It kept my attention as McClane went a little Rambo on Gruber and his team. I’m still not convinced it’s a Christmas movie, despite Crystal Dawn’s strong assertions and that it takes place on Christmas Eve.
As a quick aside – who the hell holds an office Christmas party on Christmas friggin Eve? That’s family time… Also, Crystal Dawn informed me that Die Hard was based off of a book published in 1979 called Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. If you knew that, kudos! I’ll bet she’ll try to coerce me to read it, but I really don’t have the time. My tapes…
So, after grabbing a bowl of Oreos and making sure drinks were topped off, we started into our second feature. Looks like…yeah. It’s Gremlins. A comedy horror movie (I’m really not a horror fan) from 1984.
Of course, yet again, it looks like this is a Christmas movie just because it takes place at Christmas. I’m honestly not sure that should be the only qualifier to make a film a Christmas movie, but I digress.
Here, we have a largely failed inventor who goes into a Chinatown store where he acquires an adorably cute mogwai (which is literally Cantonese for devil, this can’t end well…) He brings it to his small town home for his son, Billy, along with 3 important instructions for its care: 1 – no sunlight or it will die, 2 – do not get it wet, and 3 – do not feed after midnight.
As you might expect, Billy has some bad luck. First, he accidentally got Gizmo (the name he chose for his mogwai) wet, which spawned a bunch of babies. Those babies, for some reason, were much more mischievous than Gizmo and cut the power to the clock, getting Billy to feed them after midnight. And this is what turned them all into the eponymous gremlins.
Of course, everyone freaks, but they kill them all except for Stripe, who managed to hide in a YMCA and breed a bunch more. Chaos ensues in the small Midwestern town. Billy, along with his girlfriend Kate, fight and kill most of them. But, again, Stripe proves to be the smartest of the bunch and slipped out of reach into a store, intending to breed yet again. Gizmo has had enough of his crap and with Billy and Kate providing distractions, manages to open a skylight over Stripe. We get to watch as he melts away in the sunlight. Mr. Wing (the old guy running the shop in Chinatown) mysteriously arrives and takes back Gizmo, telling the family that their society is not ready for mogwai, but Billy himself may one day be.
This was much more of an experience. I would not have believed in the stupidity of the townsfolk’s reactions, were it not for the stupidity I’ve witnessed since…well… Anyhow, despite the unnecessary amounts of goo and green gore, the story itself is kind of cute, in a dark way. Gizmo was absolutely adorable, and I was eye-balling auctions online for a plush version. (But don’t talk to me about that creepy Furby version; my grandmother got me a Furby as a child and I’m still emotionally scarred.)
Yet again, Crystal Dawn explained as we chatted a bit about the movies that she loves to watch these two movies in particular every year because they aren’t traditional Christmas films. She claims too much of the “spread Joy and Christmas Cheer” type of movies (the Peanuts Christmas Special and Rudolf and the Island of Misfit Toys are the exceptions) gives her some serious heartburn. I suggested maybe it was her diet of soda, beer, and junk food…
Anyways. Gifted with her company and a mound of blankets, I made my way back across the hall while she cleaned up the viewing room. When I went to drop the new blankets on my bed, I noticed a small lump under the covers. Hesitant, I pulled them back to reveal a Gizmo plushie. Confused, I looked around my room for a solid 5 minutes, not understanding. Then, a disembodied voice said, “Merry Christmas.” Who knew The Phantom had a soft spot?!