I’m Dreaming of a Non-Christmas

Cast of “White Christmas” (via Smithsonian.com)
When it comes to holiday down-time, folks usually choose seasonally appropriate flicks to get them in the mood for merriment. Most of these traditional holiday movies are great, but you can watch a humiliated kid try on a pink bunny suit only so many times. And, the truth is, many of the best seasonal flicks encourage you to have a complete emotional meltdown before the final credits roll. Be honest: have you ever watched Judy Garland sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louiswithout completely losing it? Are you able to maintain stoicism when Clarence the Angel explains to George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life that his wished-for nonexistence in an alternate universe cost many soldiers their lives (Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry!”)? Of course not! It’s the saddest line in the most emotional Christmas movie imaginable. And who wants to break down and cry during the holidays? Anyway, that’s what visiting with relatives is for.
For these reasons, some like to go rogue when it comes to watching yuletide flicks. My friend Gina’s recent text message to me reminded me of one of my go-to Christmas staples: Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead (“When are we going to watch it?! I need to get in the Xmas mood!” she pressed). Sure, George Romero’s original is amazing and, truthfully, didn’t need a makeover. Also, Dawn of the Dead 2004 is gruesome, bloody, and contains zero references to sleds, reindeer, snow, elves, fruitcake, or Santa whatsoever. Still, I find that enjoyable movies are also very comforting–even those that depict an action-packed zombie apocalypse, wherein the human race speeds stealthily towards its doom.
Other staffers at Langsdale Library have ideas about their favorite non-holiday holiday movies. Reference librarian Lindsay Simmons and technical services library technician Nick Richards both cite Edward Scissorhands as a film they think brings on good cheer. Besides, admits Nick, “I’m obsessed with Johnny Depp.”
The Simpsons are the festive choice of Adam Shutz (class of ’11, administrative assistant): “Over the holidays I spend a lot of time with my cousins, and the only thing we can agree on to watch are DVDs of The Simpsons. We end up watching one episode after another.”
Head of reference, Michael Shochet, is partial to The Princess Bride. Why? Michael explains: “Because it is about true love, which is, of course, the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice M.L.T.–mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, when the mutton is nice and lean, and the tomato is ripe.”
Circulation library Erin Toepfner is fond of watching the Back to the Future trilogy. “It’s one of my favorite movies,” gushes Erin, “It’s one I can watch over and over again.”
Book and Document Delivery’s reserves coordinator, Brian Chetelat, will be treating himself to a screening of Harold and Maude, citing the quirky 1972 film as “my all-time favorite.” Brian continues, “Even though it ends with Maude’s death, there are so many uplifting messages, and the Cat Stevens’ soundtrack is the icing on the cake.”
Amélie is a favorite of reference librarian Catherine Johnson. Said she, “While it’s not a holiday movie, Amélie’s fantastic worldview and dedication to making things better for the people around her is a good reminder to be kind to the people around us and that sometimes even small gestures can make a big difference.” How uplifting! 
The holidays are as good a time as any for ‘90s nostalgia,” opines special collections librarian Aidan Faust, citing his choice of the off-color “holiday classic” Pulp Fiction. He continues, I don’t tend to re-watch movies much, but this one’s an exception. Never gets boring.” 
Langsdale wishes you a wonderful winter break. See you in 2014!

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