Yes, nothing says holiday cheer than a broad burlesque inspired by the Gospels. Surprisingly enough, the film doesn’t make fun of Jesus Christ but saves it’s barbs for most of His followers. (Eric Idle points out in the commentary on The Criterion edition that the Pythons combed through Jesus’ writings and found they couldn’t poke any holes in his teachings. Idle referred His writings as “Very strong and very Buddist.) The film follows Brian (Played by Graham Chapman.) from his birth in the manger adjoining Jesus’ to his Crucifixion Thus making it perfect holiday viewing for both Christmas and Easter. (I’m sorry, I’m a stranger here. What is this “hellfire” you speak of?)
“Meaning of Life” while not a Christmas movie, has a great closing number called “Christmas in Heaven” which reimagines heaven as a cheesy resort with a Vegas-like showroom. And the rest of the movie is a hoot too. (And if you’re having trouble getting rid of your relatives, the Mr. Creosote scene will clear the house in a heartbeat.)
A VERY VENTURE CHRISTMAS: (On disc two of “The Venture Bros. Season One.”)
At eleven minutes, it’s the shortest thing on my list. But it’s still a potent little geek bomb aimed at the heart of Xmas. The Monarch tries to blow up the Venture’s with a Nativity scene. Hank and Dean, while trying to find a tale to tell during storytime, accidentally release a Germanic demon. And Dr. Venture has two dreams about the holiday. Extra geek points for recreating the old CBS holiday special graphic and name checking the Wookies’ Life Day.
A CHRISTMAS STORY: Directed by Bob Clark.
Yeah, it’s a lazy choice but I don’t care. You got bullies, teachers, indifferent store Santa’s, The Old Man’s “Major Award”, the Bumpuses’ dogs and the Holy Grail of Christmas Presents, The Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! (You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.) Only a Scrooge would deny it’s power.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: “Santa Claus”. (1959.)
Santa battles the Devil while multicultural child labor is forced to do his bidding in his sky castle. Cute children wrestle with the darkness in their souls. Hell is a bad community theater production of “Jigoku”. This 1959 Mexican film may be one of the only pieces of cinema that makes Mike and
the Bots redundant. But that doesn’t stop them from ladling on the gags.
I’m late to the party on “Community”, (Didn’t start in until the second season.) but I’m still having a hell of a good time.
Holiday episodes of TV Shows tend to fall into two camps. The aggressively heart warming or the aggressively non heart warming. And “Community” seems to skip happily in the middle. “AUC” manages to use stop motion animation as both gag generator and metaphor for the nostalgic yearning for the comforts of childhood. And “RHM” mashes up “Glee” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” with a sheer what the fuck giddiness. Bonus points for using a musical number to both throughly demolish the “Sexy Baby” archetype in holiday music while putting Allison Brie in a hot as hell Santa suit.
That’s what we like to call in the business, a bank shot.
What about you, guys? What gets you though the holiday? Let me know below.