Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Off The Wall Essays From Deep Within A Capricious Mind

Focussing On The Yuletide Meaning

After concluding this narrative, I face a day of cleaning my humble abode, walking into Crossgates to re-negotiate my daughters mobile phone contract, a trip to the bottle bank, and (time allowing) watching a classic Christmas movie.

I’ve not decided which movie to watch, but intend to be more selective with my festive season entertainment than yesterday. When I spent an afternoon viewing both The Exorcist and Psycho. Concluding afterwards that the deranged antics of a matricidal motel owner, along with the tale of the demonic possession of a child aren’t ‘go to’ yuletide feelgood films.

Both movies, directed William Friedkin and Alfred Hitchcock respectively,
are without doubt celluloid classics. However, in hindsight my decision to stream them at this time of year perhaps shows I’ve not quite yet entered into the festive spirit – Something I feel moved to address pronto.

Yesterday, as credits rolled on both seminal pieces of art, I admonishing myself for my choices of entertainment – Muttering disparagingly “Bloody hell Strachan!. Sort yourself out son!”………. Hopefully verbally engaging myself in a conversation not a precursor escalating me onto the paranoid schizophrenia plateau attained by character Norman Bates in Psycho…… If it does I just hope I’m more considerate toward people who’d like to shower in peace.

Unlike the heartwarming endings of Christmas movies such as Scrooge and The Grinch, poor Norman and the Georgetown based lassie in The Exorcist weren’t blessed with an ending of self growth or redemption as their tales drew to a conclusion.

Bates’ cold blooded murders harder to forgive than, say, old Ebenezer Scrooge’s crime of being as tight as a gnat’s chuff. I’d venture if the psychotic lad felt moved to take confession for his misdemeanours it’ll take more than a few hail Mary’s to negate a post-life existence with Beelzebub. 

Recently someone asked my opinion on what I believed made a good yuletide film. I’ve no idea why they randomly chose me…..… Although I suspect they may’ve been influenced by the ‘I know s**t loads about Christmas movies’ t-shirt I was wearing at the time.

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I’ve many fond recollections of watching this type of film, entertainment I’d consume in the company of my kids during their fledgling years. I’d be fibbing to say I experience an adrenalin rush on the prospect of viewing, after all you know what to expect from the festive movie genre. One of those being it’s unlikely to be shortlisted when movie gongs are handed out.

A fact of life that’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Unless they introduce a ‘Best Actor Adorning a Red Suit and White Beard’ Oscar category, or a ‘Young Scamp Foiling Burglars With Elaborate Booby Traps” BAFTA gong. 

Despite my indifference to the genre, though, I still enjoy watching festive celluloid fare such as The Grinch, Muppets Christmas Carol and Scrooged. I don’t laugh as heartily as I did the first time I saw them a decade or two back, but every Christmas I’ll stream them as they evoke recollections of the utter joy they brought my kids.

Times I’m blessed to have experienced and, judging by the fact my 28 year old son recently purchased both The Grinch and Muppets Christmas Carol, something my now adult kids also appear to endorse.  

A film movie snob or misguided critics may sit in their ivory tower’s opining Christmas movies lacking artistic integrity and innovative plots. Sneering ungracious platitudes with a lack of human spirit exhibited by Scrooge prior to his trinity of Christmas Eve visitors.

If you insist on Oscar winning movie scripts, innovative plots and Shakespearian acting ordinarily a movie with a demographic audience of 3-15 years old kids won’t scratch that itch.

However, if you seek to introduce your child to something they’ll take in adult Christmas’s, or rekindle visions of unmitigated joy on first witnessing these feelgood films, you could do worse than The Grinch, Scrooged and The Muppet movies.

Anyhow, I’ve reached the end of this festive monologue. Like a latter day Grinch I feel better for eventually refocussing on the true meaning of Christmas. Finding the ditching my pre-yuletide desire to watch macabre celluloid fare particularly cathartic..

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