31 days of festive-ass flicks, day one: garfield, the grinch, & charlie brown

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Tonight the girlfriend and I settled into bed with toasties (baguette toasted and loaded with spiced goat cheese, roasted garlic, and oven-dried tomatoes) and watched the first day of festive-ass holiday movies. Tonight was three classic holiday specials that all, coincidentally, first appeared on CBS.

We watched A Garfield Christmas Special first because it was the most recent (1987), the least loved, and also the least good and we wanted to save the best for last. Basically, it’s not that great and the animation is HIDEOUS and it turns out that it really, REALLY bothers me that Garfield doesn’t move his mouth when he talks. If only the viewer could understand him, I’d be okay with that, but there is no evidence pointing confidently in that direction.

Garfield suffers the same fate as most people and is forced to endure a holiday with people he doesn’t like but it’s particularly irritating to him because they won’t come to HIS HOUSE where he has his warm bed. This is a problem with which I relate. I would be way more amenable to hanging out with people I dislike if I could just do it from the comfort of my glorious bed.

Anyway, the best part of this entire thing is Garfield’s sassy, but gently sad Grandma who is fucking awesome. She’s smart-mouthed and loves Garfield and says that since Grandpa died she’s spent a lot of her time “rockin’ and strokin’ my cats”.

I don’t regret watching this, buuuuuuut it’s not exactly going to become a family tradition. I honestly can’t even remember if I had seen it before. Not exactly stellar memorable fare.

Next up was How the Grinch Stole Christmas…, the second eldest (1966) which is obviously excellent and beautiful and sweet and moving and stuff. The art direction in this thing is glorious and it really follows the spirit and brilliance of the book to a T.

I want to live in Whoville. I want to be a Who. I want to feel so moved by the spirit of joy and Christmas love that I sing nonsense while holding hands with my fellow Whos around the tree in the town center. I want to compel the Grinch to suddenly and abruptly give up his evil quest just with the power of my mad caroling skills.

This one is a classic for a reason even though it kind of ends suddenly. Also, Boris Karloff. Also, Chuck Jones. Also, Thurl Ravenscroft. Get over it, you know you love this thing.

Finally, we watched the oldest (1965) and the most iconic of the television Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas. OBVIOUSLY this one is great and beloved for a reason and it’s adorable and sweet and has the best soundtrack to ever come from a holiday television special ever. It’s not Christmas for me until I watch this thing. It is Christmas.

The thing is, the special itself isn’t that good. It is? I don’t know. It’s pretty to look at in a very rough/sweet way and the music is OUT OF THIS WORLD good and it’s the Peanuts so it’s obviously important to our collective media conscious and so many iconic things come from it visually/~spiritually~ — that sad little Christmas tree, Snoopy’s doghouse all decorated, the singing kids at the end, the dancing kids on the stage — but, and this is probably largely because it’s a 30 minute special made for television — it doesn’t really have a solid, genuine cohesive element.

Charlie Brown is sad and the other kids are mean to him for no real reason then he gets upset because no one knows the true meaning of Christmas then Linus quotes a LOT of the bible and then… Charlie Brown is still sad and shouting about COMMERCIALISM, but now the kids are kind of nice and decorate his tree? And then hark some angels and it’s all over, Merry fucking Christmas.

Regardless, it’s still better than the shit one that aired in 1992 which we watched anyway because we hate ourselves.

And the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack is still the most amazing collection of holiday music ever ever ever.

It is so good that one time when I was in high school, I was doing chemistry homework while listening to the dulcet and jolly tones of the Dish Network holiday channel and I was SO INTENSELY MOVED by the version of “O Tannenbaum” from the soundtrack that I stood up and slow-danced with a couch cushion while crying.