Golden State presents a season of seasonal greats.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
* HOLLYWOOD HOLIDAYS
If you hadn’t noticed already, 2006 is the year of A Christmas Story, the pitch-perfect 1983 film about Ralphie Parker’s quest to get a Red Rider BB Gun from Santa Claus on Christmas morning.
It seems that every journalist in the nation, from The Today Show to The New York Times, has done a feature on the recent opening of the A Christmas Story House Museum in Cincinnati. In case you somehow missed all of them: California entrepreneur Brian Jones bought the home used in the movie and spent the last year—and $240,000—to restore the interior to look exactly as it did in the film. He also bought the house across the street, where he set up a museum showcasing items like the snowsuit worn by Ralphie’s little brother Randy.
Meanwhile, A Christmas Story is being spoofed in a Cingular television advertisement that seems to run every 10 minutes. And all across the nation, from Anchorage to Washington, DC, acting troupes are staging theatrical versions of the popular film in 1001 different venues. (A Christmas Story is not hitting the stage in Monterey County, but it’s being performed up the road at the San Jose Repertory Theatre.)
Though A Christmas Story is a big deal for the next two weeks, once 2007 arrives no one is going to think about it. That’s the fate of holiday movies: They are everywhere during the holiday season, but after New Year’s Day, they’re about as popular as a rum-laced egg nog at a beach bar.
So now’s the time to dive into those movies we get to see only once a year, from heart-warming tearjerkers like It’s a Wonderful Life to cruel comedies like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Luckily, a handful of holiday classics will be shown on the big screen in Monterey’s Golden State Theatre over the next few weeks.
It all kicked off with a double feature of 1954’s White Christmas and 1947’s Miracle on 34th St. this Monday, Dec. 11. Starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, White Christmas is a comedy about a couple of song-and-dance teams that stage a holiday show in a Vermont lodge in honor of a beloved former Army officer. White Christmas will also be shown Dec. 18-20 at 7pm.
Miracle On 34th Street is a strange little drama about a department store Santa Claus who claims he is the real Kris Kringle. Miracle on 34th Street will be shown Dec. 18-20 at 9pm.
Set in the 1940s, A Christmas Story follows little Ralphie during the holiday season as he gets beaten up by the bully Scut Farkas, learns cuss words from his father, and schemes for a way to get that BB gun. It will be shown Dec. 21 and 22 at 7pm.
In the third installment of the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, titled Christmas Vacation, Chevy Chase returns as Clark Griswold, a bumbling family man trying to keep the clan together during an especially hellish holiday season. Best of all is Clark’s crude cousin Eddie, played by Randy Quaid. Christmas Vacation will be shown Dec. 21 at 9pm.
Starring the great Bill Murray, Scrooged is a takeoff on Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol. This version is about a miserable TV executive who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. Scrooged will be shown Dec. 22 at 9pm.
Another take on Dickens’ Christmas Carol, The Muppet Christmas Carol features Jim Henson’s loveable characters, including Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. The Muppet Christmas Carol will be shown Dec. 23 at 7pm.
The granddaddy of all holiday movies, It’s a Wonderful
Life is the touching story of George Bailey (Jimmy
Stewart), a distraught man who decides to kill himself on
Christmas. Before Bailey can leap to his death off a bridge,
his guardian angel throws him into an alternate-universe
version of his hometown as it would have been if George Bailey
had never existed. It’s a Wonderful Life will be shown
Dec. 24 and 25 at 2pm, 7pm and 9pm.
All screenings are at the Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado St., Monterey. $8/general admission; $6/Golden State Theatre members. 372-3800 or goldenstatetheatre.com.