December 22, 2009

Don’t You Forget About Me

If you’re reading this, you’re alive. That’s a good thing considering that this year claimed just about every celebrity in existence.

We wanted to give a little shout-out to John Hughes. His films have left an indelible impression on our generation. Movies like The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, and Sixteen Candles basically created a whole new genre. It’s spawned many imitations, but none have captured the magic of Hughes. He also contributed some of the best holiday movies in recent history. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of the best films of the past fifty years—a truly touching comedy that features the best work by both Steve Martin and John Candy as two wayward travelers making it home for Thanksgiving. Hughes also wrote Home Alone (see the note below on the Mel Torme song), Home Alone 2 (which was still pretty good in my book, if not predictable), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. These days, it’s nearly impossible to contribute a holiday film that is placed in the canon. Hughes wrote three—PTA, Home Alone, Christmas Vacation—and all are watched in my house in November and December. If you’ve never seen these, please check them out. And speaking of films, what are your favorite holiday movies? Let me know.

For the songs today, let’s highlight some tracks from those great holiday Hughes films.

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York.

“I'm not sorry. I did what I did because Buzz humiliated me and since he gets away with everything, I let him have it. And since you're all so STUPID to believe his lies I don't care if your idiotic Florida trip gets wrecked or not! Who wants to spend Christmas in a tropical climate anyway?”

All Along On Christmas – Darlene Love

Home Alone 2: Lost In New York.

“I know I don't deserve a Christmas, even if I did do a good deed. I don't want any presents. Instead, I want to take back every mean thing I ever said to my family. Even if they don't take back the things they said to me. I don't care. I love all of them... Including Buzz. I know it isn't possible to see them all. Could I just see my mother? I'll never want another thing as long as I live if I can just see my mother. I know I won't see her tonight, but promise me I can see her again. Sometime. Any time. Even if it's just once and only for a couple minutes. I just need to tell her I'm sorry.”

White Christmas – The Drifters

Home Alone.

“Allow me to introduce myself, Gus Polinski How are you? Polka King of the Midwest? The Kenosha Kickers? No? That's okay I thought you might have recognized—...Anyways I had a few hits a few years ago. That's why I... Polka, Polka, Polka?(singing) Polka, polka, polka... No? Twin Lakes Polka... Domavougi Polka A.K.A. Kiss me polka...polka twist?”

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Mel Torme

Home Alone.

Judy Garland has the best version of the song, but Mel Torme’s is my favorite, originally featured in Home Alone, which Hughes wrote. Torme was called The Velvet Fog, and for good reason—that voice is smooth. Fans of the television show Night Court might remember that Harry Anderson’s character loved Mel Torme. For some reason, my father loved Nigh Court and Mel Torme. My mother and I saw Home Alone twice in December of 1990. My father had been dead for a few months by that point. It had been a hard year and we hadn’t laughed that much in a long time. Even though I had heard the song plenty of times, when Torme’s song played at the end, I actually listened to the lyrics for the first time. The promise that next year would be better, that someday everyone would be together, and that troubles would be out of sight—it stuck with me. Composer John Williams produced this version and adds his unmistakable instrumentation behind Torme’s warm and endearing vocals. Every time I watch Home Alone, I am reminded of sitting in a dark theater with my mother and laughing until it hurt.

Here Comes Santa Claus – Gene Autry

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

“Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny f*cking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.”

Christmas Vacation – Mavis Staples

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

“Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?”


Home for the Holidays – Perry Como

I am that man from Pennsylvania who just wants some homemade pumpkin pie.

I’ll be Home With Bells On – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

This always brings a smile to my face.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Tift Merritt

One of the saddest songs of the season.

1 comment:

gabe said...

When did Will Oldham start his new gig as Santa Claus??