Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time for a New Christmas Tradition

Another Christmas holiday has come and gone. The best part of this particular holiday is the television. Christmas specials ranging from Charlie Brown and the Grinch to National Lampoon and A Christmas Story. With DVR and streaming access you can literally watch these specials every waking moment of the season. Ho ho ho yourself into a Christmas coma.

In 2015, let's add to the repertoire. I humbly suggest 1985's Better Off Dead.

Better Off Dead stars a young John Cusack as Lane Myer; a high school student in Greendale recently dumped by his girlfriend. Hijinks ensue when Lane focuses his energy on winning back Beth and finding various ways to deal with his depression. Lane eventually meets Monique, a foreign exchange student living with his neighbor Ricky, while trying to make a run at the K12. In the meantime, Lane lands a job at Char Burger (everybody wants some) and openly street races with two locals who learned English by watching Howard Cosell.

What is often overlooked in Better Off Dead is the Christmas subtext of the movie. Al Myer and his neighbor get matching winter coats. Monique gets an explanation of Christmas from Ricky's Mom; who is not sure if the holiday is celebrated in France. Jenny Myer gets a boatload of tv dinners. 

Everybody remembers Johnny's tenacious demands for his two dollars (plus tip) but this is really a Christmas story with a miracle happy ending. Lane gets the girl and the car, bests the K12, and blows up Ricky's mom. Miracle on 34th Street has nothing on this. If you haven't seen this movie multiple times, you're an idiot - go watch it now. If you have, maybe next year take a break from 24 hours of A Christmas Story to watch something different. Let's all make Better Off Dead a new Christmas classic.

No comments: