Scroogeview: Seasonal cinema for cynics
Since no one in his right mind can be merry and bright 24/7, New York-based film critics Jurgen Fauth and Marcy Dermansky have come up with a Top 10 list of Christmas movies for cynics, posted on worldfilm. about.com (worldfilm.about. com/od/toppicks/tp/ christmasmovies.htm).
Just what the doctor ordered for those who have sensory overload from Salvation Army bells clanging, Christmas lights glaring and holiday traffic crawling.
Here's what Fauth and Dermansky have to say:
Tired of "It's a Wonderful Life" yet? Sick of "White Christmas"? Here is our list of 10 Christmas movies that are guaranteed not to fill you with the holiday spirit.
For mad holiday mayhem, Joe Dante's 1984 invasion of anarchic critters can't be beat. Have a drink of eggnog every time a gremlin gets electrocuted on Christmas lights. With Zach Galligan, Hoyt Axton and former teen star Phoebe Cates as the virginal bank teller who just hates the holidays.
2) "Bad Santa"
Billy Bob Thornton falls down drunk a lot in this hilarious and sublimely offensive tale of a pair of yuletide robbers. The staggeringly foulmouthed Tony Cox plays his elfin sidekick. Does it ruin the fun if we reveal that in the end, director Terry Zwigoff's heart is in the right place?
It's Christmas night at the Buttles' when the fascist troopers come busting through the roof in Terry Gilliam's hallucinatory dystopia, and all Mrs. Buttle gets is a receipt for her kidnapped husband.
4) "La Buche"
Sabine Azéma, Emmanuelle Béart and Charlotte Gainsbourg star as bickering sisters in Danièle Thompson's debut film about Christmas and infidelity.
5) "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"
Only a hardened Scrooge could resist bursting into tears at the end of Jacques Demy's impossibly romantic love story, when Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo meet again on a snowy Christmas Eve. Too bad it's for the last time.
6) "Monty Python's Life of Brian"
Little needs to be said about this classic comedy. But if the holidays are getting a bit much, why not be an individual and celebrate the birth of Brian instead?
7) "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
Tim Burton brings Halloween and his own twisted vision to the holidays in this 1993 animated musical.
8) "Die Hard"
The wisecracking New York cop who saved Christmas! When terrorists take over a skyscraper during a holiday party, it's time for Bruce Willis to kick some butt in what is one of the greatest action flicks ever made: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho."
9) "Eyes Wide Shut"
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Stanley Kubrick, Santa: From the opening ball to the final masked orgy, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Schnitzler's "Traumnovelle" unfolds before the backdrop of the holidays.
Katie Holmes and Sarah Polley sell fake Ecstasy to ravers on Christmas Eve in Doug Liman's "Pulp Fiction" lite.