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31 days of festive-ass flicks, day seven: joyeux noël

The seventh festive-ass flick was Joyeux Noël which both I and my girlfriend are familiar with because she made me watch it with her when we first met because she is crazy and loves French things. [Spoilers ahead! Also, here is the calendar again because this is what I do.]

Joyeux Noël is the story of the World War I cease-fire that theoretically/historically/fictionally/sort of happened on Christmas Eve in 1914. There are elements of the movie that are based on things that are known to have happened, but IIIIIIIIIIII don’t really care ’cause I just watch movies for entertainment. Not to learn stuff. LEARNIN’ IS FOR NERDS.

So the three commanding dudes of the French, German, and Scottish armies basically tell their dudes to hang out after the Scottish guys play bagpipes and a German dude sings “Silent Night” in German and in a joyous and loud manner and then climbs up into No Man’s Land carrying a Christmas tree and continuing to sing operatically like it’s no big deal and all of this is totally normal. But no one shoots him so it’s okay and they all get drunk together and a French and German dude argue over the provenance of a little orange tabby cat that has been playing them both for food. Cats is smart. And also a bunch of stuff happens and it’s all very heartwarming and a good reminder that war is bad and it SUCKS for everyone in it and no one is totally evil? Except Hitler, but this isn’t his war yet, SO HOLD ON.

I like this movie a lot. It’s really beautiful and moving and FUNNY and sweet and old timey and stuff. And it’s worth watching! And it’s got a nice, moving middle bit. But it’s just SURROUNDED BY DEATH. It’s like: war and dead people, war and dead people, BREASTS, friendliness, ten minutes of Christmas joy, and then EVERYONE GETS PUNISHED AND GOES TO HELL. And that’s kind of a bummer.

My favorite parts of movie are this:

– the German and French dudes being super friends in sadness
– the Scottish guy being all Scottish and jovial and rabbit-looking
– the operatic dude looking like someone tried to draw Crispin Glover after having only been described his face and also with their eyes closed
– the cat being shot for treason (this is sad but ALSO TRUE — they shot a CAT for TREASON)
– the march from one trench to another to avoid being bombed because everyone was friends then and didn’t want to kill each other
– the way all these dudes react to seeing a woman in the trenches
– French guy making the German eat the chocolate first and then giving it back when they fight over the kitten like, “I DON’T NEED YOUR CHOCOLATE, THIS IS MY CAT”
– sharing pictures of their wives
– Daniel Brühl being all Daniel Brühly and also being like, “LOL XMAS I AM JEWISH.”
– Scottish teamwork to dump their commander in human excrement.
– I am not going to pretend I am not deeply interested in Diane Kruger’s nipple. Merry Topless Christmas.

My LEAST favorite part of the movie is the Scottish guy that keeps hugging his dead brother. Like, I am sad for that guy. They went to war together! And they were together! And his brother died! AND THAT IS SO AWFUL. And I am normally SO INVESTED in brotherly tragedy/pain/angst. But then he spends the whole time hugging him and crying while STRADDLING HIS DEAD BODY and then almost getting killed because he’s trying to bury him and it is just AWFUL. SO AWFUL. And he keeps sending letters to his mom being like, “ME AND MY BROTHER ARE OKAY. WE LOVE OUR MITTENS. LOVE YOU MOM.” Please, Dead-Brother-Hugger, stop it. I don’t know how to read you as a character and you are making everyone REAL UNCOMFORTABLE.

So yeah, watch this one. It’s real good and pretty and wonderful. Joyeux Noël is a movie for people who like war and death and breasts with their Christmas. Grit’s good for you, damn it. It can’t be candy canes and reindeer and snowflakes on eyelashes all the time OKAY.