The holidays are wonderful, aren’t they? Sure there’s a lot to be cranky about. The mad dash to find gifts, the stress of traveling and coordinating family events, not to mention the inevitable religious arguments between people celebrating different occasions (or none at all). However, ultimately, when the dust settles, stores close down, and the world seems to pause in unison for just a minute, we get a chance to reflect and appreciate what matters most in our lives.
Christmas movies, as one facet of the holiday season, augment this experience by filling our heads with visions of sugarplums and our hearts with warm feelings. In fact, they often make us feel so good that we forget that the things these films teach us can actually be a little twisted.
Even if they do fill us with good cheer, appeal to our sense of nostalgia and family, and generally get us in the mood to express that good will towards mankind that we’ve all heard about, here are ten examples of Christmas movies that, despite their best intentions, express some very unsettling lessons. Starting with one of the worst offenders:
10. Home Alone – Abandoned Kids Can Fend For Themselves Better Than Adults
Let’s set aside, just for a moment, that Macaulay Culkin’s most recognized role is as a child who is more sadistic than his role in The Good Son. It’s slapstick, right? So, it’s not supposed to be scary that after running through a man’s foot with a nail and setting another guy’s head on fire, the kid still giggles as he throws them off a roof. We’ll ignore that for a bit.
This kid is pretty clever, though. More clever than his parents. When Kevin McAllister discovers that he’s on his own, he knows enough to get groceries, establish a convincing cover, and even pull off on-the-fly video editing with a VCR. When I was this kid’s age, I would’ve felt accomplished programming my alarm clock. Yet, his mother, whom we have to assume he takes after a little bit, can’t seem to manage to get home any faster than her family who just waited for the next flight. All her bribery and begging and hitchhiking won her, at best, a five minute advantage.
The argument could be made that this is just a silly kid’s movie and it doesn’t have to be realistic. If that’s the case, it would’ve been lovely if the drama didn’t feel so painfully in tune with real-life. The insults hurled between members of the family feel so mean-spirited that it can’t help but seem a little too lifelike, which is in stark contrast to the almost cartoon-ish light-hearted feeling of the rest of the movie.
This article was first posted on December 25, 2012