What was that? You needed another five nerdy holiday specials to fill your Christmas viewing time? *sigh* Okay, fine. I guess we can work that out, but only because you readers have been so good this past year.
Bruce Willis stars as John McClain, a New York cop visiting his estranged wife in L.A. for her office Christmas party. But as soon as he takes off his shoes and gets comfortable (literally), exactly what you’d expect happens to the party – it’s crashed by German terrorists led by Alan Rickman, who wants nothing more for Christmas than the hundreds of millions of dollars in bearer bonds stored in the company vault. Alone on the upper floors of a skyscraper, McClain does his best to keep himself, his wife, and the rest of the partiers alive despite “help” from the local police, media, and FBI. Oh, and the dad from Family Matters is there too for just a touch of diversity.
About now, you may be saying, “Wait, what? That’s the single greatest action movie of all time, Dryden, not a Christmas movie.” But that only proves that you haven’t seen it roughly eight million times like I have and don’t remember that it takes place right before Christmas. The office party is interrupted by Snape…err, Alan Rickman as a German terrorist? A Christmas party. I mean, the first Harry Potter movie isn’t strictly speaking a “Christmas movie,” yet ABC family insists on ramming it down our throats every December, so I think Die Hard counts. Maybe moreso.
“Holy Night” – Chrono Crusade
Rosette has never been closer to tracking down the demon that stole away her brother Joshua and bringing him to holy, church approved justice, and the trail is now pointing out to San Francisco (at this point, I’m calling this post officially gay-related). But at the pleading of her friends in New York, she decides to stay back until after the holidays have passed and enjoy one more Christmas with her sisters. When Azmaria reveals that she’s never had a real Christmas before, it becomes more important than ever that Rosette and her demon pal Chrono make this the best celebration ever.
First, am I the only person that thinks of Skies of Arcadia/Sonic Adventure when the title comes up for Chrono Crusade? With that upbeat music, the sky background, and the lettering? Yes, it’s just me? Well, anyway, who would have thought there would be such a heartwarming episode about friendship, home, and putting the needs of others above your own desires in an anime about nuns running around the 1920s shooting demons into a fine red mist with Tommy Guns? Unlike most anime that give a mere nod to Christmas, using it as an excuse to fill 22 minutes and not progress the story, Chrono Crusade uses it as a vehicle to bond the orphan Azmaria with her new family. Warning: don’t watch if you have a heart condition. The intense levels of D’AWWWW might be fatal.
“The Voyage of the Damned” – Doctor Who
Only moments after a tearful goodbye with Martha Jones at the end of season 3, the Doctor’s ship collides with another vessel…The Titanic? Stowing away on the ship, the Doctor discovers that this new Titanic is an interstellar cruise ship observing the “primitive holiday customs” of Earth, specifically our barbaric battles with the turkey people and the worshipping of Santa. But after a collision with several asteroids kills most of the passengers and threatens to bring the ship down on Earth (the resulting explosion having the power to wipe out all life on the planet, naturally), it’s up to the Doctor and Kylie Minogue (playing a waitress, not herself) to save Christmas…again.
Doctor Who, much like The Simpsons, has a rich tradition of over the top Christmas antics, which makes choosing just one of them to highlight a real challenge. But the subtle violent nature of this episode (remember, hundreds of unacknowledged people die in the asteroid collision), reference to one of the worst tragedies of the last century, and the pop star guest push this into “Christmas classic” territory. Very classy, BBC.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
Tag along with the original Star Wars cast on a trip to celebrate Chris…I mean, Life Day. That’s right, the Wookies of Kashyyyk have their own holiday equivalent and you’re invited! But the Empire is hot on the tail of Han and Chewie as they make their way towards the celebration. And that’s basically all that happens in this…thing that you might call a plot.
I’m not going to lie to you or sugar coat this. The Star Wars Holiday Special is trash, such terrible, awful garbage that George Lucas couldn’t stand to release it in twelve different versions with progressively slightly enhanced special effects. In fact, it never got an official release to video at all. That hasn’t stopped it from infecting the internet, of course. So if it’s so bad, why watch it? Well, it’s one of those so-bad-it’s-good things. You’ll have the time of your life sitting around with friends cracking an endless stream of jokes and snarky comments off at Life Day’s expense. And really, isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
It is now my pleasure to present to you a very special guest writer to close this article, SWEETDEE! *applause*
The third feature film of late anime director Satoshi Kon, Tokyo Godfathers tells the story of three homeless people—alcoholic Gin, drag queen Hana, and runaway Miyuki—who happen across an abandoned baby on Christmas Eve. Barely able to take care of themselves, the trio nonetheless decides to care for the child (whom they name Kiyoko) and embark on a quest to find her parents. As the mystery unfolds, various aspects of the characters’ back stories are revealed to the audience and each other.
Tokyo Godfathers is a rather unique feature in Kon’s filmography. While the famed director was never one make the same film twice, most of his work (from Perfect Blue to Paprika) tends to blur the line between the real and the surreal. Tokyo Godfathers is a very real film that takes place in a very real world. There are no giant mechas or goofy harems, and while the film has it’s share of action movie antics, the heart of the film is, well, all heart. Gin, Hana, and Miyuki are anything but a traditional family, but the love they have for each other shines through even when they’re exchanging the harshest of insults. The plot extends beyond Christmas, but the typical holiday themes of forgiveness, charity, and hope are in full force throughout.
Outraged that your favorite holiday special was left out of not just one but two lists? Are you still recovering from seeing the Star Wars Holiday Special? Tell us about it in the forums!