As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, I repeatedly saw (like many of you, I'm sure) my friends wishing all their family and friends a Happy Easter. I ate more than I should, and I was incredibly lazy all day. A thought came to me as the day was drawing to a close. Easter might be one of the only major holidays that can't be associated with shitty, beyond-awful movies.
Christmas is obviously the biggest holiday, so, naturally, it has the biggest range of quality. For every It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, and Home Alone, you have a Christmas with the Kranks, Deck the Halls, and Four Christmases. I would actually argue that they should stop making yuletide movies for a while, because they are always so grating and annoying. I already have to deal with that during the holidays, so I don't want to spend $10 to be assaulted by it. I think I actually like movies that are set around Christmas, but aren't really about the holiday. Case in point:
I think we can all agree that Christmas covers the widest spectrum of taste and quality. For me, the two best are A Christmas Story (coincidentally my mom's favorite) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (happens to be a favorite of my dad's). You can't argue with me with those two, right?
Ahhh. Thanksgiving. Time for turkey and dysfunction. Thanksgiving isn't my favorite holiday, so I don't have much of an opinion about Thanksgiving movies, either. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is a classic, Home for the Holidays is hilarious, and Pieces of April features a lovely performance by Patricia Clarkson. I will warn you, though, that you get a great performance from Clarkson, but it comes at the cost of having to watch Katie Holmes. My favorite example of Thanksgiving in a movie, however, comes from Addams Family Values.
Ang Lee's The Ice Storm comes in a close second. Ironically, both feature Christina Ricci. Shout out to Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters as well.
Valentine's Day is the Jessica Simpson (awkward and unnecessary) of holidays, so I will be brief. Valentine's Day (starring everyone in the entire effing world...I am pretty sure I am in there somewhere) is the most literal movie about a Hallmark holiday in the history of movies. It should die. Valentine is a horror movie about a bitter, pre-It-Gets-Better psycho who kills the women who taunted him as a pre-teen. People get shot with Cupid's arrows, and Denise Richards gets killed in a hot tub. With a drill. Seriously, it's her finest work to date. I included Blue Valentine in there just because it has the word in the title. That's my kind of romantic drama. Enough romantic comedies come out throughout the year that, thankfully, not very many are made about the actual holiday.
When it comes to the Fourth of July, I always think of Roland Emmerich blowing stuff up in Independence Day (or iD4 as it was labelled on all my brother's alien toys). Surely, I am not alone here. You could watch any late 80's or mid-90's action movie and feel good about America (Street Fighter...anyone...anyone?), or pop in Steven Spielberg's Jaws if you are in for a good scare. See also Born on the Fourth of July. There you have it. Sharks, Tom Cruise in a wheelchair and Bill Pullman inspiring our troops. Ahhh, America!
If you are looking for something mindless, you could always watch Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar get hunted down by
the Gorton's fisherman a vengeful man with a hook over the Fourth of July in I Know What You Did Last Summer. I don't recommend it, though.
Halloween is kind of tricky because you automatically associate horror movies with Halloween, but the majority of them don't take place on Halloween. John Carpenter's classic Halloween stands the test of time much better than horror movies that came out a few years ago. A relatively unknown gem is Trick r Treat. More people are finding this one, so that makes me happy. Four stories intertwine (including a teacher that moonlights as a serial killer) on Halloween night, and it stars Anna Paquin, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb and Brian Cox.
My favorite Halloween movie, however, is Hocus Pocus. You have the Divine Miss M, Carrie Bradshaw and Sister Mary Patrick camping it up while trying to steal the lives of children on Halloween night. They are continually being thwarted by some meddling kids and their talking black cat. Best. Movie. Ever.
Honorable mention for a Halloween scene goes to Mean Girls just because of Amanda Seyfried.
"I'm a mouse. Duh."
It is only appropriate to close with the last holiday of the year, New Year's Eve. Remember when everyone thought the entire cast of 200 Cigarettes was destined for superstardom? Yeah, way to screw that one up 1999. New Year's Eve is abysmal (not even Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron could save that) and I still shudder when people bring that up to me. I am anxiously waiting for Garry Marshall to run out of holidays. Keeping my fingers crossed for Arbor Day starring Ryan Gosling, Sofia Vargara, Lea Michele, Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Garner, Justin Long, Ben Affleck, Hilary Swank and Ashton Kutcher.
For me, the only movie that features a New Year's sequence is When Harry Met Sally...when Billy Crystal realizes he loves Meg Ryan. By the way, even though everyone else broke up with Meg Ryan, I still adore her.
Perhaps every single film executive should take a page from Charlie Brown. Find me one person who doesn't love the holiday versions of every Charlie Brown special. And they DO have an Easter installment.
I am sure I missed a few. I just think it's strange that Easter (a holiday that gets a lot of noise from both the religious and commercial sides) lacks the barrage of movies that the other major holidays do. Are we still recovering from the end of the year holidays? Do we just want to enjoy our Peeps with our families? This is my favorite annual Easter presentation: