Combustible Celluloid
 

Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas

By Alonso Duralde

Book Review by Jeffrey M. Anderson

The holidays are over for now, but I had a grand time this past December reading through Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas (Limelight Editions, $16.99) by Alonso Duralde; it's an exhaustive look at just about every Christmas movie ever made (up until 2009), with an entire chapter dedicated to adaptations of Dickens' A Christmas Carol and another chapter dedicated to the worst offenders (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians). And, yes, even Die Hard is in here. Duralde divides his movies up into logical chapters: kids, grown-ups, comedies, tearjerkers, horror films (Black Christmas), and at last, the classics. He understands that most households have their own favorites that have evolved for various reasons, and a Christmas movie can be anything from A Christmas Story to Gremlins. But he goes far beyond that to things like Frederick Wiseman's seasonal documentary The Store (1983), and Eric Rohmer's My Night at Maud's (1969). He also gives real consideration to overlooked films like Nothing Like the Holidays (2008), and includes a long checklist of films that are only marginally Christmas-related. It's witty, concise, and economically written, and it's guaranteed to boost your holiday spirits. It made me wish the book had been published a year later so that I could read Duralde's take on this year's two new Christmas movies: Rare Exports and The Warrior's Way. Hopefully Duralde will keep expanding it...

January 19, 2011


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