With the weather we've had lately in Dublin, screen printed t-shirts are probably not high on your Christmas list. Never fear we have every base covered, why not go from some warm hoodies instead to keep you snug this festive period? Or perhaps you're more of dressing gown wearer? If that's the case what about a lovely family emblem embroidered on it? Ah Ok, for just a minute we'll stop the hard sell and bask in the merriment of Christmas. So, Here's a quick run through of the Tshirt Company's top three Christmas films.
***SPOILER ALERT*** - But really I have limited sympathy, you all should have seen these by now.
No.3: Home Alone 1 and 2
Ok, a slight cheat in that we are getting two films for the price of one but there is a lot to be said for each of these and combined they give us a fairly detailed insight into the world of everybody's favourite precocious little rich kid Kevin McAllister. Marvel at the opulence of the McAllister household and let its elegantly decorated interiors warm your heart before you realise that you will never in all your wildest dreams dwell in such an abode. Watch how the world's most negligent parents depart for Paris with the entire family, except for, you guessed it, the most irritating one. Thankfully it is Kevin and not Buzz who is left behind. I doubt very much that the Home Alone franchise would have been such a success with Buzz, unquestionably the ugliest of the McAllister kids at the helm.
Don't do drugs kids - this is what happens.
Watch Kevin hilariously do battle with aftershave, a pizza delivery boy, shopping bags, the falsely accused murderer next door (also a negligent parent in his own right) and two hardened convicted criminals. This hilarious Christmas tale puts a new spin on the nature vs nurture argument as we see Kevin overcome the trials of living alone by...living alone, for a couple of days.
The Sequel, Lost in New York gives us further insight into the mind workings of young McAllister. To begin with we see that Kevin seems to have issues with stunted growth as he is exactly the same size as when we saw him last but on the plus side he does not seem as fazed by being abandoned by his entire family for the second year in a row. In fairness, he's hardly slumming it with his suite at the plaza.
In what amounts to a very large holiday promo Video for New York at Christmas, Kevin wanders the streets taking in the sights and sounds of the city splurging on his father's credit card. Kevin's humanity is woken by a chance encounter with a shit covered bird lady played by Brenda Fricker, where we see that Kevin's kindness knows no bounds as he gifts a tree decoration of a bird, to a woman covered in birds. They form an unlikely bond before the life experience rich Kevin offers some sage advice to counteract Fricker's homelessness, before returning to the Plaza for room service.
In a hectic finale that is reminiscent of the original, in that it is pretty much identical to the original, Kevin tackles the same Wet Bandits that he bested in Home alone 1 but they have since rebranded as 'the sticky bandits'. Home Alone teaches us what Christmas is all about. Forgetting about your family, spending money that isn't yours, abandoning the homeless and in the traditional American spirit besting the bad guys.
Home Alone also leaves us with three burning unanswered questions. How did the Wet/Sticky Bandits get away with such a light prison sentence considering they were caught red handed the previous year and presumably, charged with theft, property damage and attempted child murder? Why have Kevin's parents not been legally pursued by social services for negligence, I mean, once is an accident but twice, that's just carelessness. Lastly, why is uncle Frank such a dickhead?
No.2: Die Hard
Consistently high ranked when it comes to festive favourites although honestly, I struggle to find the festive fun in this one. Sunny Los Angeles and the Nakatomi plaza skyscraper provide the backdrop for an action-packed and relatively Christmas free Christmas film. It tells the story of all American hero, New York cop John Mclaine who, while visiting LA to spend Christmas with his family inadvertently finds himself in the midst of an international heist under the command of the ruthless yet charismatic Hans Gruber. All Seems to be going nicely to plan but Gruber had his band of merry men did not factor in one thing....John McClaine.Sherrif of Nottingham, cheating husband from Love Actually and Hans Gruber. Is Alan Rickman typecast? - We dont think so.
He's a cop with attitude, who rather than find a nice cosy hiding place near a vending machine and ride this storm out, needlessly involves himself in the heist resulting directly in the death of 1 hostage and millions in property damage. It's worth noting that Gruber referred to the value of the heist as $600 million. Clearly, the costs incurred by the damage to the Nakatomi Plaza as a result of McClaine's help/interference would greatly eclipse this. Perhaps we should reevaluate McClaine's role as an all American hero and he should be reclassified as an arsonist and a murderer (well a conspirator to murder).
For entertainment value, cringy yankee one liners and stereotypical east german terrorists, Die Hard cannot be beaten. The reality is the only real Christmassy thing about Die hard is the sleigh bell theme music constantly playing in the background but it is a timeless classic and reminds us of an era when our heroes chain-smoked, having a cd player in your car was something to be proud of rather than ashamed and reverting to your maiden name was some kind of display of brash feminism.
Yipee-kay-yay mother F***A (My boss wouldn't let me say it)
No.1: It's a Wonderful life
At number 1 its Frank Capra's epic Christmas favourite, It's a wonderful life. A story of self-pity, depression and attempted suicide for all the family to enjoy.
Enter the world of George Bailey, a young man from small-town Bedford Falls with big life plans. On the night before George is set to embark upon his worldly travels, tragedy strikes when his father Peter passes away. As manager of the local Building and Loan (Credit union to you and I) and all-around nice guy, Peter has kept the finances of the town at bay form the evil bank owner Henry J. Potter, played by genuine real-life monster Lionel Barrymore. Now, in Peter's absence, George is faced with the choice of handing control of the Building and Loan over to Potter, and with it the finances and wellbeing of the township, or abandoning his dreams of travel, education and exploration in favour of replacing his father as director of the Building and Loan.Don't do it George!!
Always the good guy, George sacrifices his lifelong dreams in order to help others and in a series of events culminating in the near demise of the building and loan due to the ineptitude of Uncle Billy, George faces going to prison over claims of fraud. In what amounts to one of the most epic endings in film history, our distraught anti-hero has brief mental breakdown where on a bridge on a snowy Christmas eve, George is pushed to the point of considering taking his own life.
An unlikely intervention comes from above as an angel named Clarence appears to interject and present George with an alternative view on how his life has played out. By highlighting the positive impact George has had on so many of his friends, family and people in the community, George finally realises that not only has his life not been misspent, but in fact, it has been wonderful.
Jokes aside, It's a wonderful life is not just the greatest Christmas film of all time but one of the greatest films of all time that puts aside the presents, the money, the greed and gluttony of the festive period and encourages people to take a look at what is really important. Is richness really measured by what model iphone you can afford? Or is it by the people in your life? So do yourself a favour this Christmas, gather the ones you care about or somebody you know who's having a rough time, have a mince pie and glass of vino and watch it's a wonderful life. Because we only get one.
A framed scroll in Peter Bailey's office at the Building and Loan reminds us of possibly the greatest lesson anyone can learn in this life, more relevant in today's world of greed and indulgence, than ever before.
"All you can take with you is that which you've given away"