Category: Family Movie Night


Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Do you ever watch an older movie and wonder whatever happened to the cast?

Last week, for whatever reasons, I decided to watch Godspell. You know, the religious movie for the Pepsi generation.

GodspellIt’s the one set in New York City with deserted streets and building tops where the cast dances and sings about the Gospel of Matthew. It is a little quirky with people dressed in tee shirts and jeans and suspenders. Jesus has a huge afro and clown paint around his eyes. John the Baptist wears a multi-colored morning coat.

People are happy and incredibly intune with each other. It’s a hippy version of the Messiah story that still ends with Jesus dying but being with us. It is a very 60s kind of thing.

When I watched it this time, I finally understood how one could have a personal relationship with Jesus. He was there holding hands with his disciples, singing and laughing. It was natural for these people to do that with the master. I remember people in college talking about having that kind of relationship and it made me wonder how such a thing could happen with an onipotent being like God or Jesus.

But there was Victor Garber, looking so young and beautiful. His eyes simply captured a person. Even now, 40 years later, Garber is still handsome. Maybe you know him from Sleepless in Seattle as Tom Hank’s brother-in-law or as Jack Bristow from Alias. But now I have this picture of baby-faced adult Jesus in my head thanks to Victor. I loved how credible he made the character. He was Jesus but still human at different points, sweet without being sickening. That is hard to do.

Godspell ParkAnother actor I recognized was Lynn Thigpen. She was great. I knew her from the old children’s program Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego​? She played the Chief who was always trying to find super thief, Carmen Sandiego, with the help of the pre-teen contestants. Lynn played that role a little crazy and over the top. But she had other roles where she played it serious such as in the TV show The District. Sadly. Thigpen died of an aneurism in 2003 but her memory lives on as the name of a huge grade school in Joliet.

To me, the biggest cast member is the city of New York. They were able to close off sections for short times of filming. One dance was done on the top of the World Trade Center just after construction had been completed. Another takes place in a deserted mansion filled with antique furniture. There is the fountain scene and the entire time in Central Park that amazes me for being so deserted. We get to see the beauty of New York without the distraction of people.

It is a simple movie about complex ideas. I planned to allow our youth group members to watch this movie. I also realized that I was going to have to stop it after each segment to explain what was being taught, such as during the scene discussing the beatitudes. It may not stand the test of time as Jesus Christ Superstar has done but it is still very interesting to watch.

Here is the best song I remember from this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

How to Have a Big Year

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This past week, I noticed a lot of stuff as I drove or walked around our community.

The town accountant readied his boat for a cruise or perhaps some fishing on April 16th. Yep, he probably deserves a break right about now.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

Look, even the tulips are getting in the act.

As I walked Lady around, I noticed all of the beautiful spring flowers and flowering bushes- daffodils, narcissus, crocus, blue star, and forsythia – in bloom right now. In my own garden I have a new narcissus I am pretty sure I did not plant. I love those surprise volunteers.

Last week, I came home after a night of work only to hear the frogs from the nearby pond. It is about a quarter mile from my house as the crow flies. But the frogs were making a racket that made me think about opening the window so I could fall asleep to that sound.

But that might not have been the best sound. Hearing the birds make a racket might have been the best sound. I could pick out the red wing black birds and the bird that makes a sound like a Star Wars fighter plane. I am seeing blue jays and cardinals. Occasionally, I hear a wood pecker working on a tree but I haven’t seen one yet.

Birding is a different type of sport. It becomes more about making the impossible sighting, the wondrous vagrant, the birds sent off course by storms and high winds. I know parents of college friends who go to Texas for the winter not to winter but to work at a bird sanctuary. Walking into the woods with Neil Case is never a straight forward hike, you are going to see things.

While I enjoy watching the birds that come to our feeders, I never knew or imagined that there was such a thing in the birding world as a Big Year. This is when bird watching enthusiasts take a calendar year from January 1 till December 31 to see as many birds as you possibly can. The record is over 700 species seen in a one year period.

The Big Year PosterI became interested in finding all of this stuff out when the kids turned on this movie, The Big Year (2011) one night during spring break. Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson are three men who decide to do a Big Year in the same calendar year. Martin and Wilson are wealthy businessmen while Black is a working stiff getting over his divorce.

The Black character does everything he can, including racking up several credit cards to the limit, to do this Big Year thing which means a lot of traveling across the United States and Canada in order to see over 700 varieties of birds from North America and others that get blown off course. This includes Alaska, Florida, Texas, boat tours on the Pacific, and Colorado. They will miss work, spouses, and the little things to make this dream of seeing every possible species come true.

I found this movie worthwhile although slowly paced at times. It is a movie meant for adults, context-wise, but my ten-year-old could watch it for the most part. As we watched this movie while at my parents’ house, I wondered if my dad had ever seen it or if he would watch it. There were some exciting moments of almost making the plane and almost catching sight of a bird but no explosions or gun fights.

Perhaps Dad would have just changed the channel if he saw this movie coming on.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As Easter creeps closer, there are things to be done.

It is the traditional time of Spring Cleaning. So much dust and dirt collects in my house that I feel like I can never keep up with it. One week I clear cobwebs and the next week they are back again. Dirt and sand gather for some party I was never invited to join.

During this time of the year, now that taxes are done, I find myself going through a ton of paper that needs to be shredded. I always think I am going to get at those big closets or piles of clutter but the regular stuff gets me distracted every time. In the end my goal becomes to get through one nasty place a day.

All of this is in preparation for Easter, making sure the house is ready. Or maybe it hearkens back to the Jewish holiday of Passover in which cleaning happens in earnest. There can be no leavening agent left in the house before the start of Passover which is the night of April 3rd this year.

I always remember this because the Last Supper was the Seder dinner, the first night of Passover that Jesus and his disciples would have observed.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

For this week we think about those Christian movies more than usual. And in the past few years, Hollywood has responded to people wanting more movies about Christian faith. I recently watched Heaven is For Real starring Greg Kinnear. I am not sure a movie like this would have starred a big name of a name or talented actor of an actor as Kinner as recent as a few years ago if the script was poorly written.

If you are looking for a movie that is family friendly, this one is beyond a few outbursts of anger and one scene in which dad tells his daughter she needs to punch someone without hurting herself. But content wise, this movie is better for pre-teens and up. Their minds are better able to understand the nuances.

The story is about a four-year-old boy who nearly dies from mis-diagnosed appendicitis. It is during this time that he goes to heaven, meeting family members, Jesus, and God. As the boy recovers he slowly begins talking about his experiences with his family. For the dad, who is a minister, it causes a crisis of faith. He is torn by people who support him and others who doubt that such a thing could happen.

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Many of my friends who have seen this movie state that the book is better and I do not disagree. In the book, much of the action took over two years to happen. As the movie goes, much of the action takes place within a year’s time. But Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly give heartfelt sincere performances as parents trying to understand what has happened to their son and how that affects their life in the present.

I enjoyed the movie because of that sincerity. I likes the little boy who focuses on what he saw for minutes at a time while his father seems to want to dig deeper. That’s how we adults operate, we want every detail and the little kids want to play in the sand box. I believed the story that this child saw something but defining it for adults was not always easy. Isn’t that faith in a nutshell?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Colin Goes Gangster!!!!

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Last week when I was doing my research for one of the movies I planned to write about, I kept seeing people refer to this Colin Farrell movie call London Boulevard, a decidedly adult movie.

I had never heard of it let alone even seen a trailer for it. After a little digging, I found out that this movie may have never made it to the big screens in America despite it’s American director, William Monahan. If Monahan sounds familiar it is because he wrote The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven.

The story is gritty and rough as we follow an ex-con trying to make sure he does not go back to prison. His first night back sees Mitchell getting his druggy sister out of one rough situation while he also makes it possible for another girl to get to an ATM without trouble. That encounter leads to a possible job as a handyman/protection for a fragile and reclusive actress played by Kiera Knightly.

London BoulevardMeanwhile, one of his hoodlum friends has him come along for a few ‘collection’ calls which brings him to the attention of a gangster boss. Gant, played by Ray Winstone, is evil and mean. He is willing to kill the innocent for showing up at the wrong place and time. And let’s not talk about what he will do to people who say ‘no’ to him.

As Gant and Mitchell spar, it becomes clear a battle is brewing and in the end it is not going to be pretty.

Monahan wanted to make his first film as a Boston gangster drama. But at some point he decided he had done that and choose to make the setting in London instead. The film has plenty of violence and swearing so that anyone who doesn’t like that in a movie would probably not like this. But it is a movie filled with wonderful small performances from Farrell, Knightly, Winstone, Anna Friel, and David Thewlis complete with spare but revealing dialogue.

They add depth to these roles, making us like or hate these people. I was most impressed with David Thewlis’ character, trying hard to remember where I know him from. It took a minute before I got to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Thewlis was Professor Lupin, the werewolf Dark Arts professor who was friends with Harry’s parents. It is during this adventure that Harry learns about his godfather and his parents’ group of friends along with their betrayal.

Harry Potter and Prof LupinI loved his performance in this third movie of the series because Thewlis appeared to take on some of the traits of Claude Rains in his characterization of Lupin. Claude Rains played the father of Lon Chaney Jr., the original wolf man in the 1941 movie, giving himself quiet dignity as he dealt with the changes in his son he could not prevent. Thewlis continues this tradition and is quite believable as a man haunted by a condition he cannot change. His performance, along with Gary Oldman’s, makes Prisoner of Azkaban worthwhile family viewing.

These days of changeable weather might demand we stay in but stay in with a good movie on hand.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

By the time you read this, St. Patrick’s Day will be over. The corn beef and cabbage with exist in dribs and drabs. The potatos are crumbs.

But don’t let that stop you from watching some Irish movies. What I like are the ones that mix myth/fairy tales into real life. In the middle of land lacked farm land, we do not get seals that might be able to transform into humans.

But that is the subject of the movie Ondine starring Colin Ferrell and Alicja Bachleda. Ferrell is a down-on-his-luck fisherman in Ireland who shares his daughter with his ex. One day his nets pick up a beautiful young woman. She doesn’t want to be seen by anyone else, so Ferrell hides her in his mother’s old house.

OndineHis daughter eventually finds her and decides that the woman is a selkie. That is a seal which can take human form. A selkie cannot go back to the sea if her human husband finds and hides her seal coat. While Ferrell and Bachleda fall in love, you begin to think that maybe, just maybe, she really is a selkie.

The setting is beautiful and the dialogue feels both real and poetic. I listened to an interview with Ferrell and his conversation was never as lyrical although he is an intelligent man. Director Neil Jordan has made some movies focused on Irish ghosts (High Spirits) that were a waste of time. But this one carried me through even when the fear aspect took over the fairytale.

This movie has an adult context that would not be suitable for younger children. Older tweens and teens might enjoy it a bit more.

One movie that I like for younger children is Into The West. Gabriel Byrne stars as the father of two boys who are given a horse by their grandfather. This is not just any horse, this is Tír na nÓg who comes from the land under the sea that holds eternal youth. The problem is the motherless family lives in an apartment building in the slums of Dublin. Hiding a horse is quite difficult.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

Worse yet, a greedy business man wants the fine horse no matter what. So he works with the police to steal the horse from the boys. But not every thing goes according to the plan. The boys steal the horse and begin riding him into the West Country of Ireland. The cops are chasing the boys down but the boys are getting help along the way. Meanwhile, other Travellers, Irish gypsies, help Dad track his boys before something dire can happen.

Again, I am lost in the mix of magic and real life. I sympathize with the depressed father who has lost his wife and wakes up only when he realizes he could lose his boys as well. I find myself cheering on the boys every time the slip out of reach of the authorities. It is movies like this that make me appreciate how magic and real life can intermingle.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

The past month and a half has been a blur to me.

Since my father’s death, I have had days in which I felt pretty normal. Then there were days when I was pretty sure I was going to start crying while doing the shopping or run to the post office. What could set me off? Pretty much anything, such as “how are you?” or “want fries with that?” or seeing a guy with big arms wearing a cut-off flannel shirt.

My first day back to work saw me shaking and I thought about running out of the library. But I was there and I would have to do this sooner or later. I would have to get back to normal – whatever that it.

Having young kids still at home helps in a strange way. They have activities and routines that need attention. I had to make sure Sam was signed up for baseball, Sara still has a gazzillion activities, and David’s band just performed in a Battle of the Bands in Watseka. So while life is not the same as it was before December 30th, it is not all that different except for one essential.

The thing is, I know I am not alone. My aunt who died four years ago is still mourned by my cousins. Another cousin’s husband just lost his mother. Friends on facebook are posting about lost parents or uncles or aunts. I have simply joined a group that I thought I was not joining for another ten years. But that group understands what I am going through, they know the shaky smile and sudden memories that hit out of the blue.

I dont know how she does itLately, I have been wanting to watch all of my old favorites that are sappy and make me cry. Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember, You’ve Got Mail. Somewhere along the line I saw a trailer for I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, and Pierce Bronson. I had to get it!

The story is about a working woman who also has a family. She is a high powered financial executive working with Pierce Bronsan to create a new type of investment tool. Meanwhile her husband is starting a new project for his architectural company. Then there are the kids with birthday parties and bake sales.

Yes, she has a nanny but that person is unreliable. What the character is trying for, more than anything, is to have it all. The great (well-paying) job, the wonderful husband, a loving family. She wants to be a great mom who makes terrific strides at work.

I understand, I really do. I understand why a woman returning from a business trip takes a rolling pin to a perfect store-bought pie to make it look home-made. I understand the need for a shower, trying to make things great for the birthday party, and keeping the husband happy. I understand backbiting co-workers, the in-group at the pricey private school looking down at their noses at the working moms, and family members who do not always get it.

I love this scene in which Kate throws everything in the air and catches most of it.

I love this scene in which Kate throws everything in the air and catches most of it.

There was a lot to like about this movie, Hello Pierce Bronson. But I also liked how various characters broke the fourth wall as if this was some sort of documentary. They expressed their opinions on what Kate was doing from their vantage point and it worked for me. Keep in mind, this is a movie to share with girlfriends and not the kids. They do not care about our struggles but our girlfriends do!

Sadly, I fell asleep while watching the movie and did not get to see the end. I had spent the day being a busy mom and when the time came for me for some ‘me’ time, well, I passed out. How any of us do it all and stay sane most of the time is beyond me.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Before All That

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

With Valentine’s Day close at hand, I always fret about what to write.

I have my favorite movies that I have recommended for years. Some of them are becoming dated Before Sunrisedespite how good they are to watch. I encourage you to watch great romantic comedies such as Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Tin Cup, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Forget Paris. But lets not rehash them one more time for the sake of Valentine’s Day.

For this week, I decided to review a movie series I have never watched before that has been hailed as one of the greatest romantic series of movies. As I watched Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight I knew it was directed by Richard Linklater who has been nominated for an Oscar in the Best Director category this year for his movie Boyhood.

Before SunsetWhat has brought this series so much acclaim is the way these two people interact with each other. In the first movie of the series, Before Sunrise, Jesse meets Celine on a train. He is getting off in Vienna, she is going to Paris. They begin talking and realize they do not want to stop. Jesse suggests she spends the night with him in Vienna so that they can talk some more before he takes off on a plane to go back to the U.S.

Their conversation is filled with questions about each other, their dreams, their past, their theories about life. As I watched this movie, I realized that their conversation was something that happens with people in their early twenties. It felt real, it felt like conversations I had with people at that time in my life.

It is in Before Sunset that we find out Jesse has written a book about that magical night and he is on an international book tour. It is in Paris that he meets Celine again. They catch up on each other’s lives and share what that night has meant to them over the years. Again the dialogue is honest and brutal but this time they are reflecting on the shoulda’s and coulda’s of their relationship. What if they had kept better contact or made better decisions about this or that relationship.

Before MidnightIt is in the final installment of Before Midnight that we see Jesse and Celine in a true relationship, not in the starting blocks or the wishful ‘what if’ state. They are married with two adorable girls. His son from a previous marriage is flying back to the States. Each has their regrets and happiness with the relationship. He wishes to be closer, geographically, with his son. She wishes to be able to do more as an environmental activist. They love each other and yet neither wants to lose out on these goals and dreams. There were times in this movie that I realized these people talk to each other like my husband and I speak to each other.

What makes these three movies potent is their romanticism, even in the midst of everyday routine things. It is how they speak and how they listen to each other that matters, that makes or breaks the relationship. There are times in the final movie in which parenting and those chores take away from the romance but it doesn’t mean they are less in love. It’s simply that chores get more precidence than having sex and being googly eyed with each other.

Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy has tangible chemistry. We see why they are truly interested in each other. Those feelings from one day spent together never went away, even 18 years later they are still fascinated with each other but they can attend to the other parts of their lives. But let me have this one bit of snark. At some point in the third movie, Hawke is wearing his shirt with one end tucked in and one end pulled out. Bad fashion move and I am not sure Jesse would have cared enough to make that move. Then again, Celine appears to be wearing the same jumper she work 18 years ago, so what do I know.

Now for the word of warning. I do not believe younger children should watch this movie series as it is too adult in context. Secondly, this is not a high action movie. There are no car chases, no cutesy togetherness scenes, no big misunderstanding that requires a temporary separation. What we get is a lot of talking and walking. The first two movies are about the couple while the third movie incorporates other people before there is a more intimate setting. Throughout we see how this couple interact with each other and the people around them. It is sweet and disarming and unforgettably real.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Just Another Week

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

This has been a few weeks of big ups and low downs in the Bowman household.

It started with a call from my mother stating that my father died in the early morning hours. He wasn’t sick, it wasn’t expected. He was there and then he was gone, just like that. Since then there has been his cremation, trips to Missouri and back, and a memorial gathering in my home town. Family and friends came to remember my father, some that I haven’t seen in years. A few I knew off the bat, others were different in my memory. They all had something to share about my dad that made me smile and cry all at the same time.

I received a lovely phone call from some regular readers who enjoyed a recent column that touched on a favorite movie of their mother’s. It is a reminder that while I sit alone in my office surrounded by disorder and the chaos of family life, the words I write do have meaning for others. I am glad that what I write can bring back such happy memories for a family who have lost a loved one.

Things were beginning to settle down when my 17-year-old received word that he had gotten into his first choice of colleges. The one he wanted is the one he got! There was much celebration.

While I am tremendously sad about losing my father, and I will write about that at a later time, I can see all around me that life goes on. My world stopped for a bit but all around things kept moving on. One of the grown-up girls from my youth group just had a baby. Another girl is about to have her first child. I saw in the paper that one of my former neighbors recently passed; some friends from church are dealing with the sudden loss of their son.

In this time, I guess it would be expected that the movies I would choose to watch are the old favorites. They can be comforting because you know what to expect. We did that this week with Monsters Inc. and the first Harry Potter movie.Chef - cover

But a movie I really wanted to watch was Chef starring Jon Favreau and Sofia Vergara. In this movie, Favreau plays a chef who’s restaurant is about to be visited by a big time blogger food critic. His owner wants him to play it safe and to make the man happy, the chef does just that. But when the two star review comes out and a twitter war brews between the chef and the reviewer, the chef loses his job and self respect.

Not that he didn’t have issues before. He allowed his job to get in the way of being with his son. He allowed past hurts and a divorce to build up a wall. That is until his ex wife throws out a lifeline, a chance to do something different, which the chef grabs onto and follows.

I love movies like this one, the slice of life that is willing to be honest and raw at times. It’s not enough that the Chef and his son have honest conversations, they seem to follow through on them. The Chef admits to being a bad dad and loves when his kid shows him how to be better. The relationships with Vergara and the other people feel true with their bits of honesty and dysfunction.

But here is the warning. If you do not like swearing, if foul language sets you off, this is not your movie. I loved how the cooks in the kitchen interacted with Favreau because it spoke of deep friendships. I knew/know these guys. But the way they spoke to each other is harsh, especially to a stranger. Funny enough, as the movie went on the swearing decreased.

Chef - food truckWhile Chef may not get nominated for any awards, movies like this just don’t because they are not flashy enough, it is worth your time. If the last scene of the movie had been cut, the movie might have been better. But we love to know the whole story, don’t we?

I allowed my high schooler to watch it but not my eighth grader. I am not ready to share a movie with this much swearing in it with her just yet even though the rest of the story would have been Okay for her to watch. All I know is that I felt great after watching this movie and how a movie makes you feel is perhaps the most important indicator.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

All About Bette

Family Movie Night
by Karyn Bowman
Last week I talked about Bette Davis and her role in Dark Victory.
It was an incredible movie and her performance keeps it from being melodramatic crap. You see, Bette Davis wasn’t willing to ever give it a part of her effort. She wasn’t willing to simply show up on the set.
Who rocks the sweater and belt ensemble? Bette does!

Who rocks the sweater and belt ensemble? Bette does!

She was one of those actresses who showed up knowing her lines, knowing her character, and being ready to perform. She is now seen as an iconic actress. But I described her to my son as the Meryl Strep of her time. Not because she changed her appearence or accent with each role. But because she came to each role ready to play that person honestly. That is why she was the first actress to receive ten nominations for best actress.

So what made her so great? It might have been her theater training, it might have been her dedication to her craft. It might have been her abborhance for those actors who didn’t take their craft seriously. That is a part of her reasons for hating Joan Crawford and Errol Flynn.
The other part is that Bette Davis was a tough broad. Her life was not always easy with four marriages and three divorces. Her second husband died suddenly and, despite her grief, was forced to work on a movie by Jack Warner. She was reportedly difficult to work with on this particular set, not her usual behavior. Her only excuse was that in being unhappy, she lashed out rather than whine about her situation.
But let me also suggest that you see All About Eve, one of her finer movies towards the end of her Hollywood Glamour days. Once again she is playing a character not easy to like, one who shows her varying emotions of jealousy and insecurity. Here, she stars as a mature actress who has been followed by a young fan. But in one eventful night, that young fan tries to take over her life. It is from this movie that we get the famous line “fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”  This movie would earn her an eighth nomination for Best Actress.
Bette Davis All About Eve
However, the movie that gave her the tenth nomination might be the best known one. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? starred David and her hated rival, Joan Crawford, as two sisters living in an old Hollywood mansion. Davis portrays a character who was popular as a child. She still dresses like a ten year old girl with the heavy curls of the silent era. But Crawford’s character career was starting to take off when a horrible car accident paralyzed the beatiful young woman. Was it caused by Baby Jane who may have been jealous of her sister’s growing fame while her career went away?
This movie in 1962 reminded people of Davis’ power to project the emotions that some of us would rather not delve into. She continued working until the end of her life, putting together screen performances and lecture tours while still hitting the talk shows. Davis knew it wasn’t her looks that got her to Hollywood. She knew she wasn’t the most beautiful of actresses despite being attractive in her own way. It was her can-do spirit, her willingness to take on roles of unlikable characters that made us love her. And while she made acting look effortless, she also wanted to alway make it ‘bigger than life.’
How can you not love a broad like that?
 
Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?

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