Certainty of death, no chance for survival

Thanksgiving night we watched the final episode of the Lord of the Rings as we ate the crab and potato salad.  When the trilogy first debuted, our home was where stockings were opened Christmas morning and then we all walked down to the Art Deco theater at the bottom of the hill to watch whatever had just released.  

We began this Xmas tradition in 1983 with The Christmas Story, a low budget picture that was not expected to do well at the box office and is now a holiday classic. We’d had a rough year and that movie was the perfect distraction.

The next year was even worse.  After a failed attempt at merriment, we hiked down the hill to watch Ghostbusters. 

I can’t remember all the movies we saw in the ensuing years. Generally silly flicks. None were able to make us laugh until we cried. None were as cathartic as the first two. 

By the way, who’s your favorite character in Ghostbusters?  Mine’s the wise-cracking receptionist played by Annie Potts. I love that gal.

To my teenage friends and I, the book The Lord of The Rings was the holy gospel of Middle Earth. It was where we were meant to be and not the Reno High School biology lab dissecting frogs. We’d heard about the analogies to WWII and the Nazis, but had no real understanding of the horrors of concentration camps or the ability of power to leech the soul from a human being. We just wanted to escape the mundanity of our lives.

Now LOTR seems like a warning and is too close to comfort to exit the theater refreshed.  I think we’ll see a comedy instead.  Any suggestions?

24 thoughts on “Certainty of death, no chance for survival

  1. Well, Talladega Nights is hysterical, but completely stupid, but hysterical. For a drier, more interesting Will Ferrell, I like Stranger Than Fiction. These are the first two that came to my mind. I dunno what that means, but we’re goin with it.

      1. Watching Talladega Nights, I saw my Dad laugh harder and longer than I’ve ever seen him laugh in his life. It is downright stupid funny 😀
        A Christmas Story is a holiday classic around our house for the holidays as is The Ref with Dennis Leary.

  2. Hi there, JT. I’m in the mood for a comedy too. Haven’t seen many this year. I’ll mention this: Yellow Submarine, the animated Beatles movie, was re-released to theaters for a brief time earlier this year. Went to see it. It’s extremely beautiful and creative. I’d recommend it for home viewing.


  3. For Christmas movies, I really love National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation. Cousin Eddy is a riot in that film. And, although “Edward Scissorhands” isn’t a Christmas movie, I really love it this time of year. For sheer stupidity and humor, it’s hard to beat Zoolander or Stepbrothers.

  4. It’s been our family tradition to see a movie on Christmas Eve ever since the boys were young. I think the first movie we saw was The Santa Clause. The boys are now in their 30s and we STILL go to see a movie together on Christmas Eve. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of stinkers but my favourites will always be something that makes me laugh. They are hard to come by.

    btw – I love National Lampoon’s Christmas and watch it every year … and I laugh in all the same places every year. Having said that, Cousin Eddy makes me crazy. Sorry to hear he reminds you of family members. No one deserves that 😕

  5. Jan, first of all, I’ve just gotta tell you that I love the Orinda Theater. It really brings me back to a time when films were shown in movie palaces. Art Deco interiors which captivated your eyes upon entering, and where thick curtains covering one big screen (no multiplex were these palaces) would draw back open as trailers for new films began. And where a movie soundtrack could often be heard playing in the background as you took your seat, not a whole bunch of television commercials that you can get at home. A real night out. I love A Christmas Story and Ghostbusters too. I also remember going together with our own kids and other family members to see Home Alone on opening night. Great fun. You’re right, these days it does seem harder to go to a film and come out feeling a little bit better, but occasionally magic can happen. I think back to this last summer and The Incredibles 2 and how much fun we had, especially with the raccoon scene with baby Jack-Jack. I hear that Mary Poppins Returns coming this Christmas is just what the country needs right now, and Will Ferrell’s new take on Sherlock Holmes this Christmas also looks pretty funny. His movie Elf was both nostalgic and fun as well. Anyway, that’s a start, Jan. :O)

    1. We are very lucky to live within walking distance of the theater and generally the weather is good. Home Alone is always a good one. I love the Catherine O’Hara – the actress who plays the mother. A great comedic actress. I’ve never seen the Incredibles and Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes – I did not know about that. I’m starting to look forward to Christmas – thanks!

      1. My pleasure. Pixar’s “The Incredibles” features some wonderful voice acting and computer animation, as does the recent sequel. Both films offer up some modernistic 60’s nostalgia along with a great retro spy genre musical score. But, when all is said and done, there is plenty of humor and eye-popping colorful scenes. Fun escapism.

  6. One of my favorites has always been “The Sting”. I also love “All of Me” with Steve Martin. That was a laugh-until-you-cry movie for me! And “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”.

  7. A pretty fun Christmas comedy is “Bad Santa” if you don’t mind some light raunchiness, the original one from 2003. What a joy it must be to be so close to the lovely Orinda Theater. Happy weekend Jan–

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