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Lynne in NYC

Kopac's Corner

My Favorite Christmas Movie

by Bob Kopac

As I was recovering at home after my 11/30/04 left hip replacement, I decided to watch my favorite Christmas movie. Lynne had gotten me the DVD version, so I was all set: 3 remote controls, 2 pillows on a chair, and a table in the living room facing the TV. It was Guy Command Central!

People get all sentimental watching their favorite Christmas movie, enjoying it year after year, and I admit I am no exception. However, what if that film dealt with running? Wouldn't that kick-start people into wanting to go out to run in the snow and ice? Makes one's heart and feet warm just thinking about it! Perhaps such a movie already existed.

I went to the Internet and searched for "Christmas movie". I found the web site http://www.auburn.edu/~vestmon/christmas_movie.html that listed 181 Christmas movies, but not one of them was a running film! I did find Buru Kurisumasu (Blue Christmas), which William Hohauser summarized as follows: "Set in present day Japan... UFOs appear and whom ever sees them has their blood permanently turned blue. This causes a mass panic where everyone is classified by their blood color and all the blues are cruelly discriminated against and eventually rounded up in concentration camps. In the midst of this, a romance blooms between a red and a blue..." Perhaps played by Mary Matalin and James Carville? Interesting, but not a running flick.

I noticed, however, that the list was incomplete, for I did not find my second-favorite Christmas movie. Perhaps other films had been left off the list, including running ones.

If anyone would know of a running Christmas flick, it would be participants in the sport. I asked various local runners what their favorite Christmas movie was.

Erika Abraham said she loved Laurel and Hardy in Babes in Toyland: lots of marching, but no running. Roy Abraham's choice was Home Alone: mayhem and running around, but no real running. Jim Smith selected Miracle on 34th Street, while Lynn Smith decided on The Grinch: neither film brought to mind running, however. Lynne Kopac's preference was the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alastair Sims: lots of chain rattling but no running. Bob Rother's favorite had been Bad Santa, which was an interesting alternative, albeit with no running.

Pat DeHaven recommended A Christmas Story. I had never seen this film, so I rented the video to see if there was any running involved. The film deals with 1940s Indiana. For Christmas, Ralphie wants a genuine Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle. However, his mother says, "You'll shoot your eye out!" Meanwhile, his father wins a "major award": a glowing leg lamp, complete with fishnet stocking! The stocking could have a run, making this film a candidate for a running movie.

[Side note: you actually can buy such a lamp on the Internet (do a search for "Christmas Story lamp") or you can build your own if you are the home-owner type (See http://www.ooblick.com/lamp/ web site.) If you ask, "Why would you want to?" you are not a Guy.]

I also can report that there was a lot of running in the movie, when bullies repeatedly chased Ralphie and his friends down an alley. Perhaps we could emphasize those running sequences and claim that this should be the movie of choice for runners. It is a good candidate, but it just does not compare with my favorite Christmas movie.

My choice is Die Hard. I am incredulous that more people do not think of this as a Christmas movie. The action takes place during a Christmas Eve party at the Nakatomi Plaza. John McClane (Bruce Willis) dresses the first dead bad guy in a Santa Claus hat and writes on the perp's sweatshirt "NOW I HAVE A MACHINE GUN HO-HO-HO." If that doesn't put you in the Christmas mood, nothing will! Brings a tear to my eye, I tell you. And there is a lot of running; for example, McClane sprinting on the rooftop while the bad guys fire automatic weapons at him.

Another running reference is at the beginning of the film during the following dialog: "Don't you have any Christmas music?" "This IS Christmas music!" while Christmas In Hollis by Run-DMC plays. (RUN-DMC, get it?) And yes, in case you were wondering, Die Hard is listed on the Christmas Movie web site.

On learning of my choice, Jim Smith said Die Hard was his favorite Christmas movie also. Thus I will convert runners one by one.

P.S. Oh yeah, my second-favorite Christmas movie? The first Lethal Weapon movie, of course.