What is your favorite Christmas movie? Mine is “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the one with Yukon Cornelius, and my mom says you look like him. Not Rudolph she means, but Yukon Cornelius.
KIMBERLY IN PENNSYLVANIA
It’s a little early for Christmas movies, but I appreciate the compliment. Sort of. I mean, Yukon Cornelius isn’t a bad-looking guy per se. But he’s a little chunky, and I’ll bet five bucks he has severe sleep apnea.
I’ll be honest, I would much rather look like, for example, James Bond. But then I suppose looking like Yukon Cornelius is better than resembling the Abominable Snowman, or worse, Dudley Moore.
One of my good friends—for privacy reasons let’s call him Randy Hopkins—went white-haired prematurely. Overnight, Randy was transformed into Santa. All of a sudden, kids were approaching him on the street and asking for Barbie dolls, Batman figurines, peace in the Middle East, etc.
My friend would always bend down and smile at them with this wintery magical look on his face and say, “I’m younger than your mom, you little brat.”
But you asked about my favorite movie. Firstly, you should know that this is a tough question. There are too many good ones to count.
When I was a kid I loved “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964),” just like you do. Especially Yukon Cornelius and the show’s hit song, “Silver and Gold.” Which I will refuse to sing from now on because I am self conscious after receiving your letter.
I also like “Frosty the Snowman (1969).” Whenever I hear Burl Ives sing about Frosty, I am a five-year-old again, drinking turkey gravy directly from my mother’s gravy boat, even though I know that my aunt Eulah will catch me and possibly beat me within an inch of my life using a wet dishrag.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965).” It doesn’t get any better.
“It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).” I love this movie, not only because it is a great movie—it could be the best ever made—but because people always said my father reminded them a little of Jimmy Stewart. The older I get, the more I see the resemblance.
And “Holiday Inn (1942)” with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. This black-and-white film is a predecessor to “White Christmas (1954)” and in my opinion, maybe even a little better. Bing is still a youngish man, smoking his pipe like a furnace. And Fred Astaire is one cool customer.
A lot of people don’t realize that Fred Astaire was more than just a dancer. He was an excellent musician. Fred Astaire introduced more classic songs to the American public than any other artist of his day.
Most of these tunes were the kinds of hits that everyone’s grandmother will be singing until the earth ends. Songs like, “Cheek to Cheek,” “Night and Day,” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”
I learned that factoid on cable TV.
Since we’re talking about cable television, it bears mentioning that there are also millions of holiday movies produced by Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Network. These corny movies are the holiday-movie equivalent of eating raw Splenda with a snow shovel. Some of them are just plain hokey.
Even so, no matter how you try, you CANNOT stop watching them. Whenever you attempt to change the channel, you discover that your fingers have been paralyzed with holiday cheer.
The movie plots are all same:
A high-powered female attorney (former “Baywatch” cast member) is unhappy with her high-powered life and her high-powered car (Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV). So she travels to her small hometown (“Something-Ville”) for the holidays.
There, she discovers that her car has developed a transmission problem (torque converter with damaged bearings) and can only be fixed by the handsome mechanic (former cast member of “Days of Our Lives”) who is also the town sheriff, a baker, and the mayor.
Reluctantly, she spends Christmas in her hometown, traipsing around town, drinking coffee, and wearing ear muffs throughout each scene even though the movie was clearly filmed in July because she is sweating like a politician in hell.
You’ll recognize the leading man right away because he always wears plaid shirts and is busy bringing up his daughter as a single dad whose wife died during a house fire when, in an act of heroism, she charged into the burning house to save the family dog who, luckily, survived the tragedy and now has three legs and is named the “Triune Dog.”
They fall in love. They live happily ever after. Henry Winkler makes a cameo appearance. Roll the credits. Good night, John Boy.
I advise you to skip these sappy movies because if begin watching one, you will not be able to stop. You will zone out and lose years of your life. And when you awaken, it will be to the sound of nurses who are shouting your name because they’re trying to change your diaper in the rest home.
I need to mention how much I love the movie “Christmas Vacation (1989).” This was the last real holiday movie I ever saw with my father before he passed. He laughed so hard that I laughed at even harder at him.
“Ernest Saves Christmas (1988).” Jim Varney is forever my hero.
I saved one of the best for last. In case you haven’t seen this movie, I won’t spoil it by telling you the plot. The movie is called “Prancer (1989).” And it’s my favorite. That is all I’ll say about it. Except to add that I think you ought to watch it because your buddy Yukon Cornelius strongly recommends it.
It’s finer than Silver and Gold.
Thank you for writing me, Kimberly.