Weekly Essay Question (Dec. 25, 2014)

Every couple of weeks, the OFCS polls its members with a question related to movies. It can be serious or amusing, but each member is given the opportunity to submit a short response to the question, which we will then post on Thursday mornings. Here is this week’s query.

Essay Question #3: What is your favorite December movie that isn’t about Christmas?
Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit

Responses

Robert Cashill @ Popdose
My favorite? Psycho (1960) begins on “Friday, December Eleventh,” with nary a tree or a manger in sight in its sunny climes.

Following up on that thought, my favorite “Santa slasher” is You Better Watch Out, aka Christmas Evil (1980).

Jeremy Kibler @ The Artful Critic
Though it does take place around Christmas, “Die Hard” is one of my favorite movies of the season. It’s a first-rate action yarn, Bruce Willis being a perfect fit as John McClane; Alan Rickman making smarmy Hans Gruber one of the most enjoyable Big Bads; and the action stunts some of the most fluid and sharply choreographed. Why can’t more action pics be this memorable?

Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
I always enjoy watching The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music. They’re both played endlessly during the holidays, yet focus on the everyday turned extraordinary (Oz) or WWII (Music). Both are fantastic musicals and hit that soft spot of appreciating family everyday, as opposed to just one day.

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom
This may not be what you have in mind, because it takes place at Christmas time and part of the plot concerns Christmas presents and Christmas carolers, but it is not about Christmas. I love “Period of Adjustment,” Tennessee Williams’ only comedy, starring Jane Fonda, Jim Hutton, Anthony Franciosa, and Lois Nettleton, and the only time the wonderful sibling character actors Mabel Albertson and Jack Albertson appeared together. It’s about two couples, one just married, one just separated, both having some adjustment problems, and it is beautifully constructed and utterly endearing.

Jana Monji @ Examiner.com; RogerEbert.com
I’m not a big fan of winter and I don’t celebrate Christmas (but I do celebrate New Year’s) since I’m not Christian. So my December faves have a bit of snow and ice, but also love and faith. The films I enjoy watching during the winter holidays are “The Sound of Music” because my mother was a big fan of Mary Martin and we grew up singing to her Broadway cast recording. Julie Andrews is an acceptable substitute, especially since she did her own singing (unlike Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady”). As children, we used to sing the songs over and over again. Even if the truth is a little different, the musical’s message of salvation through faith, family and music makes me smile.

Other new favorites would be the Disney musical animated movie “Frozen” for its music (I heard Idina Menzel sing in person at D23) and empowering message about women and sisterhood, and “March of the Penguins” because through that movie I began a personal correspondence with Roger Ebert. Lastly, the 2005 movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” inspired me to look up recipes for Turkish Delight and listen to all the Chronicles of Narnia audiobooks because while I might not be Christian, I believe in faith and a positive outlook that C.S. Lewis presents.

Kenneth Morefield @ 1More Film Blog
Die Hard. Twenty-six years ago, on my honeymoon, my wife and I approached a two-screen theater in Kingston, Ontario that was playing The Last Temptation of Christ and Die Hard. We chose the latter; a quarter century later, I still love her…and that movie.

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria
Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days.

Set in December but on the New Year’s Eve that mixes the end of the century adventure with a crime plot and with a romantic twist.

Robert Roten @ Laramie Movie Scope
Edward Scissorhands, which is also my favorite Frankenstein movie, and one of the last movies featuring an appearance by the great Vincent Price.

Directed by Tim Burton and featuring a star-making performance by Johnny Depp, this film has it all, a touching story, great performances, wonderful cinematography and art direction.

Ron Wilkinson @ Monsters and Critics
Foxcatcher is number one for me so far. Imitation Game is a close second but I have to give the highest thumbs up for Steve Carell for his mesmerizing and disturbing performance as John du Pont. If there is any question about his acting abilities, see him in “Get Smart” after you see him in Fox. Incredible!

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