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It’s a Wonderful Life…to Die Hard

All it took after Thanksgiving was a little Pandora.com and I was put in the Christmas spirit. That and a text reminding me that I bought a Christmas tree to support the JSerra baseball team and that it was being delivered on Saturday. That and a “bored” daughter who didn’t know the meaning of the word “relax” until the house and tree were decorated and the snow village unpacked and put in place after a quick trip to Michael’s and Target for some supplies and new lights.

That and an accidental flip past the Ion channel to watch the opening of one of the best cop duo movies of all time where Sgt. Riggs counts out $100 to buy “a hundred” worth of white powder at a Christmas tree lot (“shut up, man, I’m trying to count”). And then it hit me. “My son should be watching this with me.” And then it hit me again. “Wait, there are a ton of Christmas movies he should be watching with me.” He’s always asking why older movies are better than newer ones (he asks the same thing about rock music, bless his soul). [Side Note: yes, I have a daughter and, yes, I talk about my son more. But in this case, I don't feel like listing all the cute movies my kids should watch because they already watch them. No, I'm talking about classic guy films.].

And with that, I give you, the Top Something Movies Every Dad Should Make Sure His Son Watches, in no particular order:

  • No. 1 – Lethal Weapon. It barely has anything to do with Christmas except the opening and then end where Christmas trees are present, but that crazy Riggs and his uncanny aim is the perfect lead-in to other Christmas movies.
  • No. 2 – Die Hard. Same thing. There’s a Christmas party that puts people in the building where John McClain picks off common thieves one by one all whilst dropping witty repartee that only Bruce Willis can deliver. “See son, there’s always time for a good joke…especially before you blow somebody away.” Ending the movie with Jingle Bell Rock is the perfect way to capture the Xmas spirit. Die Hard 2 is a perfect sequel and also makes the list.

With a poster caption like that, how can you not get excited?!

  • No. 3 – A Christmas Story. It plays all weekend soon on either TNT or TBS. Admittedly, I didn’t watch this movie until about 15 years after it originally came out (My record for first watch after original release might be Close Encounters at 20+ years). It’s the perfect movie to repeatedly butt in and say, “see, son, this is what childhood used to be like. You kids are spoiled.” Classic humor in all forms. Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra.
  • No. 4 – Christmas Vacation. Two words: Cousin Eddie.

It's worth it just to hear Clarence's squeaky voice as he teaches George Bailey the value of life.

  • No. 5 – It’s A Wonderful Life. Perfect lesson about looking at all the good things in life and appreciating even how the bad things accentuate the good. And he won’t even know it’s the Campbell’s soup pitchman. Caveat: You pretty much have to wait until he hits high school. Disguised Remake: Family Man starring “that guy who’s in everything.” (No not Gene Hackman in the 90s…but Nicolas Cage). But you can’t beat an angel trying to earn his wings. (It’s okay to start off at the part where everything falls apart since the first half moves a little slow for the youngin’s. It’s definitely going to have more meaning once he has his own family).
  • No. 6 – Trading Places. Definitely PG-13 by today’s standards, but this is the perfect movie to round out the list. A great switcheroo film with two of the 80s’ best comedians and the always happy-revenge-ending. Boys love this kind of stuff. “Looking good, Billy Ray!” “Feeling good, Louis!”

See? I didn't make this up.

There you have it. 3 action flicks. 3 comedies. And one drama that you can slip in while trimming the tree. Which reminds me…you should always have that traditional film on tree-trimming or wrapping night. My personal tradition is staying up til 2 a.m. wrapping all my gifts and stuffing the stockings…all set to Vision Quest (“Only the Young,” baby). Occasionally I slip in Diggstown or Hoosiers, too. That has nothing to do with this topic, but since when has that ever mattered? Enjoy this season.

Happy Holidaying!

Bill

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