The Essay Question (Dec. 24, 2015)

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 #27:

Do you go to the movies on Christmas Day? What’s your movie tradition around the holidays?

Question Submitted by: Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema


Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Cafe Texan
I can’t imagine going to the movies on Christmas Eve or Day.

I’ve been subjected to an odd Christmas movie tradition whenever I go to my cousin’s house for Christmas. She insists on showing rather artsy fare to the family after Christmas dinner. Films like Assassination Tango, Abre Los Ojos, and especially The Lovely Bones to my mind are strange Yuletide selections; she is pretty adamant, however, on picking films that will stimulate the mind rather than celebrate the birth of Christ or even acknowledge the secular aspects of the season.

I will inevitably watch some of the 24-hour TNT screening of A Christmas Story, and watch one Christmas movie that day, ranging from Miracle on 34th Street to Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

John Gilpatrick @
Going to the movies on Christmas Day wasn’t ever a tradition in my house, but it’s become one of late. In 2012, our clan of musical junkies trudged out in the miserable cold for a Les Miserables matinee. The following year, my dad and I did quaaludes (not really) before a Wolf of Wall Street showing that Jesus would have been proud of. Last year, we stayed home and roasted chestnuts while we watched an Unbroken screener. It was a Happy Christmas, indeed!

Courtney Howard @
My family tradition of going to the movies on Christmas begun with THE LITTLE MERMAID and continued from there until the year my mom passed away in 2009. For a good long time, Peter Jackson made our holiday movie adventure an easy one. But after TLOTR films ended, we sort of begun to slowly phase it out. The last film I saw on Christmas Day with my family was SHERLOCK HOLMES. Now, my husband and I tend to watch Christmas-themed films (like KISS KISS BANG BANG, THE HOLIDAY, DIE HARD, LETHAL WEAPON) leading up to Christmas Eve when we watch NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION.

Kristen Lopez @ Awards Circuit
I always say we’re going to go to the movies Christmas Day but it never happens. I do try to see a movie Christmas week, usually the day or two before Christmas. We do enjoy holiday films on Christmas Eve and watch random movies of varying quality on Christmas day.

Jamie S. Rich @ Criterion Confessions
The rare release gets me out on Christmas Day. THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU, for example, or this year THE HATEFUL EIGHT. But when I have my druthers, I usually stay home with the cat and a bottle of booze and line up as many movies as I can fit into the day. Last year it was several Audrey Hepburn films; this year, I haven’t full decided yet, but I did buy a Blu-ray of the Preston Sturges-penned REMEMBER THE NIGHT–a 1940 Christmas-themed film with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, better known as the duo from DOUBLE INDEMNITY. So maybe a double-feature with that Billy Wilder noir will be in order, with Sturges’ CHRISTMAS IN JULY added for good measure.

Robert Roten @ Laramie Movie Scope
I usually don’t go to movie theaters on Christmas Day (that is a time for family, gifts, and special meals). But there are some Christmas movies I watch at home every year around Christmas time.

My favorite Christmas movie is “Miracle on 34th Street.” Nothing captures the Christmas spirit better than that. I also enjoy watching “Love Actually” and “The Santa Clause” at Christmas time.

Henry Stewart @ Cinepinion
I don’t go to the movies on Christmas Day, because I worked in retail—at a video store, as I’m sure many other film critics did—for more than six years. It’s the sort of job where you can’t enjoy the holidays most people take for granted, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, because the store is open and you have to work.

I’m always nice to cashiers and clerks, even if they’re rude to me, because I know how shitty a day you can have in retail; I don’t take it personally. Similarly, I never go shopping on a holiday, because by doing so you become a part of the problem—the people who make other people leave their families on Christmas to go to work, to serve people who could just as easily have stayed home.

We all have DVDs at home, access to streaming services; there are myriad options to watch a movie if you really want to watch a movie. And the movies playing in theaters on Christmas will still be playing the day after. So do the right thing—stay home, so that others might, too.

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