There probably isn’t a movie-lover among us who doesn’t have a host of Christmas movies he or she revisits every year, and Alonso Duralde’s Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas is the perfect companion for your holiday viewing. Packed with synopses and fun facts about favorites like A Christmas Story and It’s A Wonderful Life, it’s a comprehensive reference guide to a very specific genre. True to form, the book doesn’t stop at movies that are strictly about Christmas - if there’s a Christmas tree or a strand of twinkly lights to be found, the movie makes the book, even if it’s about something freaky-deaky, like, say, Eyes Wide Shut.
Over its nine chapters, Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas covers Christmas movies for kids, darker fare for grown-ups, comedies, tearjerkers, crime and action flicks, horror movies, adaptations of A Christmas Carol. “lumps of coal” of the so-bad-they’re-good variety, and classics. Entries run the gamut from made-for-television fare you’ll recall from decades ago to cult classics like Better Off Dead you might not think to place in the Christmas category, as well as more obvious films set against a Christmasy backdrop (think Die Hard or Gremlins). And who would have thought the John Lithgow/Dudley Moore masterpiece, Santa Claus: The Movie could wind up in the lumps-of-coal department!? The eight-year-old inside me nearly fell over at the thought.
Clearly this is a book that could truly expand a person’s world view. Did you know that the Griswold house in Christmas Vacation also served as the Murtaugh house in Lethal Weapon? Or that the fabulously awful egg nog mugs Clark and Cousin Eddie use are actually a shout-out to Morty Moose (made famous by the first Vacation movie. This is exactly the sort of fun you can expect from Duralde’s book, although I was profoundly disappointed to see that Lethal Weapon was not given an entry of its own. Tsk, Mr. Duralde, tsk tsk.
Whether you’re looking for inspiration or simply exploring the scope of the genre, Duralde’s book serves as a handy reference guide and an enjoyable read. His own holiday anecdotes and conversational tone humanize the entries and keep Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas from becoming dry or encyclopedic. With its wide range of holiday offerings, there’s bound to be a suggestion to satisfy even the Grinchiest viewers.