Today is Valentine’s Day, one of many holidays that are celebrated throughout the year. While not every holiday means a day off from work or school, each one has a distinct theme that sets it apart from the others. Holidays are also used to help theme certain seasons of the year. From Christmas and it’s winter wonderland, Easter and it’s spring stirring, Independence Day and its summer shenanigans, and Thanksgiving and its fall festivities, each season has a distinct artistic style and flavor that sets it apart from the rest. Even lesser holidays have their place in our calendars, including Groundhog Day and Arbor Day. Nevertheless, some people need very little in order to celebrate, so this week’s two films focus on the holidays celebrated here in America and around the world.
Rating: Not Rated
Length: 100 minutes / 1.67 hours
While most people associate the song “White Christmas” with the film of the same name, its origins actually come almost a decade earlier from Holiday Inn, an Irving Berlin vehicle that had 12 songs and dance numbers for many different holidays (which does not necessarily translate equally to the 12 months in a year). Of the holidays that are portrayed being New Year’s Eve, Lincoln’s Birthday (now President’s Day), Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday (also now President’s Day), Easter, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas each showing a different musical or dancing style, the one that always stands out is “White Christmas”, which actually won Irving Berlin an Oscar. And yet, Fred Astaire’s dancing is equally as impressive as Bing Crosby’s singing, even though we only remember the singing.
Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) is ready to retire. He’s had enough of the stage with his two partners Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) and Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale), who still want to dance and are in love with each other. Unfortunately, having retired to a farm life in Connecticut has shown Jim that perhaps he needs some employment that will be a bit easier. As such, he decides to open a venue that is only open on holidays. This way he doesn’t have to work year round and can reap the benefits that holiday hype can bring. Pulling Ted and Lila into performing at his venue, the opportunity eventually propels Ted into stardom and pulls Lila further away from Jim, who was in love with her in the first place. With the success of the inn hinging on the performances, the fate of all three is tied to the final holiday: Christmas.
Rise of the Guardians
Length: 97 minutes / 1.61 hours
Many holidays have iconic figures that are easily recognized by children and adults alike. From the Easter Bunny to Santa Claus to Leprechauns to Cupid, many holidays are represented by these spokesmen. Even though not every holiday has its representative, there are still many more imaginary figureheads that help explain away some of the mysteries of our childhoods. Beings like the Sandman, Tooth Fairy, Boogey Man and Jack Frost give children a tangible being to help them relate to intangible phenomenon. And while it might be questionable to allow parents to perpetuate these imaginary beings’ existence, children have a propensity to believe in many things that provide the simplest answer to a situation. After all, a childlike faith is something that is difficult to get back.
Jack Frost (Chris Pine) is trying to find his identity. He knows that he has been called by the Man in the Moon, but to what purpose he does not know. Meanwhile, a dark shadow looms at the North Pole, where Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin) sends out an emergency message that gathers the three other guardians: Sandman, the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) and the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman). It seems that Pitch Black (Jude Law), also known as The Boogey Man, is back and is trying to get kids to believe in him instead of the guardians. As such, Jack Frost is called upon to become the fifth guardian. Despite not wanting the job due to the responsibility it entails, Jack sticks with the guardians while Pitch tries to turn him to the dark side. Will Jack join his unseen brother, or will he be able to protect the children of the world?
2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 holiday hijinks