i hate christmas. a while ago i read that sufjan stevens stopped hating christmas by recording something like one-hundred christmas songs — covers of classics as well as original christmas songs. i listened to some of his christmas songs and realized that i thought sufjan was boring and possibly overrated. but he likes christmas and i hate it, so i might be judging him unfairly. but then i remember how everyone thinks he’s the greatest and how that little miss sunshine movie used some of his songs (that little miss sunshine movie was boring and it didn’t have anything to do with christmas), so he’s not going to feel bad that i’m not going to listen to his stuff.
so i still hate christmas, but maybe i don’t hate all movies about christmas. without any research, i can think of a couple of christmas movies i like including bad santa, gremlins and home alone. i know someone who thinks die hard is a good christmas movie. i haven’t seen it in widescreen so i’ll hold off on calling it good or bad (but i’m guessing bad, but hopefully in a good way).
but now i’ve got a new favorite chirstmas movie:
hot rods to hell
as you can plainly see from the first photo, this movie is about christmas. actually, the first twenty minutes happens on christmas eve. after that, the movie takes place in south-eastern california (i think). but the events on christmas eve loom over the entire movie. tom, the father, gets in a car accident on christmas eve. he’s in the hospital for a while and then can’t get his old job back because he’s got this bad back (because of the accident) so he decides to run a motel in the desert because his brother is fronting some of the money and the doctor say sun is the best thing for his back but more importantly, tom suffer from post-traumatic stress and has become, as peggy (his wife) tells tom’s brother, “a very frightened man.”
after that the movie is all white, middle-class high school kids terrorizing the roads in hot rods for no other reason than boredom; dance parties, complete with some cool sixties garage, that go on for twenty-five minutes with all the main characters crossing paths and some of the best dancing i’ve ever seen in a movie (or real life); more hot rodding and finishing in a spectacular crash.
i think the movie could be about erectile dysfunction and male mid-life crisis. due to his pst, tom is unable to fulfill his masculine duties — earn a wage, control his children or beat up other men who challenge his masculinity. most importantly, tom can no longer confidently drive a car and the movie obviously equates driving skills with sexual ability. (duke, the leader of the teenage hot rod gang, nearly brings his girlfriend to orgasm thanks to his driving.) so for most of the drive out west, peggy is the one doing the driving since tom is unable to perform. in other words, peggy no longer needs tom to be sexually satisfied. later tom regains his machismo when he realizes he could have murdered those teenagers whenever he wanted to.
but the ending is funny. in fact, the movie is one of the funniest i’ve seen — campy, but in a dead-serious way, and ridiculous, but in a cool way. my favorite line is peggy giving tina some mother daughter advice: “tina, there isn’t a women alive who doesn’t want a man, but you’re young enough and desirable enough to demand that a man loves you if he wants you.” lucky for tina, she is young enough and desirable enough.