Wow, here we are. The last week of ‘Tis the Season Cinema! Lisa and I started this all the way back in November, Katja joined us, and we have watched some really good movies the past two months. When we started Christmas felt so far away – and now we are mere days from Christmas Eve.
We watched my all time favorite holiday movie this week – Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. This movie came out in 1977 and I was just 2. (Please don’t do the math. Lol.) Anyway, I remember, very vaguely, that my cousin Melissa and I were so excited to watch it. I remember sitting on the living room floor, next to her, just watching quietly.
Watching now is pure nostalgia. I love the story, the songs, the memories it invokes, both from my childhood, from my marriage and watching over the years with just Billy, and now with Wyatt, who sometimes watches and sometimes sleeps. There are lines that have made their way into our everyday, like when the character Chuck is hungry, and roars “No, I’m not hungry, I’m Huuunnnnggrrryy” so his little group of friends (the River Bottom Gang) get the point, that he is not just hungry, he is super duper times ten hungry. And so now of course, when we are having a hungry moment, one of us will quote Chuck.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you about this movie, which is a muppety puppety version of The Gift of the Magi in case you have never seen it.
Emmet and his mom Alice live a simple little life, filled with love and music and memories, but not much money. The two do odd jobs to try to make ends meet but they still don’t have much. But they have each other and their stories of Pa and they seem happy. As long as there “ain’t no hole in the washtub” which Ma uses to make money by taking in laundry.
Like I said though, this is a twist on the Magi story, so this very important item becomes a central player in the story – especially after a guitar with mother-of-pearl inlay catches Emmet’s eye in a store window and he tells his Ma that that is what she can get him for Christmas. This guitar is $40 though. How can Ma make Emmet’s Christmas wish come true?
When word reaches them, independently of course, of a talent contest with a prize of $50 they both secretly decide to enter to try to win that prize money to buy a special gift for the other. Emmet and his little group of woodland friends form a jug-band, while Ma plans on singing. However, in order to perform to win the prize, each needs to make a sacrifice.
And of course in the background of this movie is the villainous group of hooligans, the River Bottom Gang. They are bullies, race around the town in their fancy car, trash stores, mock Emmet and his friends.. they are just a nightmare. They also want to win the money, so they enter the contest as the River Bottom Nightmare Band. Who will win?
The music, the story, the love and the hope in this movie always fill me with happiness and make my heart warm. This is how life should be, caring about others, helping each other, enjoying what we have and the people in our lives. It may be a children’s movie, but it is one we can all learn from and enjoy (and sing along to while drinking hot chocolate with our families).
This movie can be found on Amazon for those wanting to watch, and is also based on the children’s book of the same name if you want to read it as well.
The next movie we watched is just as heart-warming and nostalgic – A Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
I love this movie too. How can you not love it, really?
This movie was on television every year while I was growing up, and we watched it as a family every single year. Do you all remember that, getting excited because it was going to be on television, on a certain day and time, so you would get all excited in anticipation? That is what we did with this one. I would be snuggled up with my parents or brother and dancing along to the music. Incidentally, this is still Billy and I’s favorite Christmas music album. There is just something about it – we play it during drives through the snow, decorating the tree, opening gifts. It has become the soundtrack of all of our Christmases. Vince Guaraldi Trio, you did good.
I love this movie and it’s theme of fighting the commercialization and materialism of Christmas, the idea of making a perfect holiday, where you have to do all the things, have all the things. Charlie Brown is his usual melancholy self, but he also has the right idea while everyone around him competes and is focused on the things that are just not as important. Charlie gets elected director of the Christmas play, and he become increasingly frustrated with his peers and their attitudes. Things reach a head when Charlie and Linus bring back a little sad, forlorn tree. Charlie is mocked relentlessly for his choice, and he wonders out loud if anyone knows what Christmas is really about. Linus in all his sweet seriousness, says that he does, and everything is still and quiet as he strolls to center stage and recites the annunciation to the shepherds, and says to Charlie, that THAT is what Christmas is about. Charlie Brown leaves feeling full of hope and purpose, that he won’t let these attitudes change his Christmas, and he hangs a little bulb on the tree which pulls it over. Charlie, ever hard on himself, believes he has killed it.
In the meantime his friends realize they were really mean to Charlie and follow him to make it up to him. They find his little tree, steal the decorations off of Snoopy’s award winning decorated doghouse, and elevate the tree to a shining glorious tree. Charlie rejoins them all and they all sing together. And by then I am probably teary.
This movie is also available on Amazon.
I am so glad that we ended our little movie series with these two movies. Both make me feel so full of the Christmas spirit, and remind me of the wonder and magic of the season, that spark that was there when I was a child, reminding me not to get to get caught up in the madness but to just enjoy. They just give me the warm and fuzzies.
Thanks for reading and watching along with us!! I have enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and thoughts on the movies, and learning your favorites as well. It was also nice to meet a new to me blogger, Katja!
For Lisa’s thoughts click here. For Katja’s click over here.