My Movie List for Yule

December 16, 2022

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
Next year all our troubles will be miles away

This song, from Meet Me in St. Louis, is for people who struggle through the season. Every time Judy sings about our troubles being out of sight (next year), I hope that’s true – although the joyous Christmas deferred seems more unlikely with each passing year. But it occurred to me today that it’s always been true. My troubles of last Solstice are a vague memory, and I have a whole new set of problems. The challenges of last year have been met, or else they seem less daunting.

Along the lines of struggling Christmas is my favorite lesbian movie, Carol. The movie captures the desperation of the era. People have suffered through the Depression and WWII and there’s a compulsion to express joy. We’re together again, the material deprivations are in the past, we must be happy. No one wants to admit that there are deeper issues that need to be addressed. A satisfying movie, despite the somber themes.

I would say nobody could match Cate Blanchett for a sexy Yuletide performance, except there’s the sultry Kim Novak in Bell, Book and Candle. Jimmy Stewart atones here for the sappy It’s a Wonderful Life. Also starring Jack Lemmon.

Speaking of Jack Lemmon, here’s another favorite with a Christmas theme, one which also dwells on the vapidity of the season. The Apartment, has Shirley MacLaine as Lemmon’s pert love interest and Fred McMurray playing a real skunk.

It’s actually a television episode, not a movie, but Christmas dinner with the Fishers in Six Feet Under deserves an honorable mention. The first episode of the series, where the patriarch dies, also takes place on Christmas.

Best wishes of the season. Holly Jolly and all that. That’s it for now from your queen of dysfunctional Christmas. If I have time this year, I’ll make a video collage of tacky outdoor holiday decorations. But no promises. If I don’t get to it, I know you’ll muddle through somehow.