Sunday, December 20, 2009

Secondhand Lions v The Christmas Story

Now this is a movie I could watch over and over again. Why doesn't TBS play this 24 hours instead of "The Christmas Story"?

I know I probably will win no friends and risk pissing some off, but I really, really hate "The Christmas Story". Lord knows there are many, many Christmas films far more deserving of being shown for 24 hours straight.

If Ted Turner owns the rights to old MGM movies why the heck can't he find something more worthy of adoration? Hell, he has the rights to the old RKO films. Do know what this means he could play 24 hours on his flagship station if he so chose?  "It's A Wonderful Life".

Who in their right mind would chose "The Christmas Story" over the true classic of Frank Capra and Jimmy Stuart? It boggles the mind.

Any way, back to "Secondhand Lions". This is a great film. First of all, you have three really great actors together -Sir Michael Caine, Robert Duvall and Haley Joel Osment.  Plus a supporting cast that's great, too. Kyra Sedgwick plays a truly ditzy blonde serial dater/failed parent.  Plus, it was filmed like 20 miles from my house in a little wide spot in the road called Copeland, Texas. The house, which is almost a character in itself, was an actual Texas farmhouse that the production staff took over for filming. They "aged" it, added Walter's cupola/attic bedroom and then restored it all when they were done.   The art of Berkeley Breathed is used as the adult Walter's comic. I attended UT at the same time that Breathed was the resident cartoonist at the Daily Texan. If you don't know who Breathed is, and you might not cause he's semi-retired, just google "Bloom County".  Better yet, follow this link.

To top it off, "Secondhand Lions" has one of the best quotes in a coming of age film ever:

"Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

Robert Duvall says this to Haley Joel Osment while standing in the moonlight in his nightshirt. He says it with gravity and emotion and it's a thing of beauty.

So, if you get the chance, watch "It's a Wonderful Life" on NBC Christmas Eve. Please avoid TBS on that day and save a few million brain cells from suiciding from the insipid idiocy of "The Christmas Story". Better yet, turn the boob tube off that day and play a game with your kids, visit the relatives, finish your last minute shopping.  Or rent "Secondhand Lions". You'll be glad you did.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Boxing Day or whatever. Oh, and Jen, I hope Hanukkah was a success for you and Sprite.

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