Thursday, December 1, 2011

Movies That Move Me: Christmas Edition

Technically, this isn’t about cinema-type movies, but about home-type movies. You know, all those funny YouTube videos that people post this time of year. I am very easily bored or overwhelmed by them, but in the past week I’ve come across three that I really want to share.

1: A Bunch of Kids in an Alaskan School Closed-Captioning Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

The reason this one appeals to me so much is that the whole community is obviously involved. Not only does every child in the classroom and possibly the whole school make an appearance, there are also what appear to be moms, dads, grandmas, random shopkeepers, the local postmistress, and somebody’s overexcited sled dogs. Scenic backdrops include church, a slide, an old pickup truck, a windmill, a school bus, and what appears to be the crawl space of a chicken barn. It includes such funny moments as words popping up above a snowbank, through a school bus door, and out of a storage cupboard, and it ends with a little kid making bunny ears behind another’s head. That’s Norman Rockwellian, that is.

I also appreciate that the teacher acknowledged and thanked the Grammar Police who commented on the improper use of apostrophes, and promised to use it as a teaching moment.

Besides, it includes adorable children and classical music. What’s not to love about that?

2. The Christmas Story Set to the Music of Queen

This is not your parents’ Bohemian Rhapsody. Narrated by a Muppet-like hand puppet of a donkey and featuring similar puppets of Mary and a ZZTop-bearded Joseph, a sheep, a cow, a pig, a chicken, angels with light-up halos, shepherds, the three Wise Men, and for some inexplicable reason (although possibly a political statement about King Herod’s regime), what appear to be two frogs and a court jester. And a head-banging musician rocking out during the awesome guitar solo around 3 minutes in. The revised lyrics are just as cleverly rhymed as the original, and the vocals, although not quite a Freddie Mercury clone, are well-sung and solidly harmonized.

And nothing says Christmas like the deus ex machina (in the form of a string) appearance of a gold garland-festooned manger bearing the baby Jesus.

3. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it SNOW!!!

Nutcracker Mishap

The beauty of the Nutcracker ballet is as much a part of Christmas as candle-lit Christmas Eve services and leaving cookies out for Santa. And a great part of the stage magic is the gently falling snow during the Waltz of the Snowflakes. Sometimes, however, it’s not so gentle, as this clip shows. What makes me love it so much is that none of the ballerinas hesitate or miss a step (other than the first one who got clocked by the deluge), and they all continue to dance beautifully – but they’re not afraid to break character just enough to laugh. Not one looks upset or angry. I have no doubt that there was still a stage manager having a heart attack backstage, but I don’t think anyone in the audience felt like that performance was less than perfect because of the mishap.

I hope it reminds us all that during the holidays, even the most well-organized planning can go awry, and the best way to handle it is to roll with the punches – and to just keep dancing with a big smile on your face.

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