Monday, December 23, 2013

The Christmas movies I don't like

Amazingly, TCM has managed to come up with an entire night of movies that, not only do I not particularly care for them, in most of the cases I actively dislike them! So, a brief mention of each movie and why I dislike them:

First up, at 8:00 PM, is Meet Me in St. Louis. Please don't tell me there are people who actually like the Trolley Song. I've mentioned in the past that I'm not a huge fan of Judy Garland's singing. The Trolley Song combines what I see as the worst of Garland's singing with everything that causes people to prefer non-MGM musicals. Margaret O'Brien also plays Garland's kid sister, but more on that later.

Tonight's second movie is The Bells of St. Mary's, at 10:00 PM. This is a sequel to Going My Way, a movie I think I've mentioned I really, really dislike; Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman return to reprise their roles as the priest helping a nun keep her parochial school afloat. About the only thing this one has going for it is that it doesn't have Barry Fitzgerald in the "aren't those Irish people oh-so-charming" role? This one also has a special place in our family -- my dad was a kid when it was released in 1945, and the nuns as the parochial school he attended took the school to see the movie, and he too has had a special dislike of it for going on 70 years.

There's another airing of the Night at the Movies episode on Christmas movies breaking things up at 12:15 AM. I don't particularly dislike these, although I do find them a bit cursory and maybe more for people who know next to nothing about the movies.

This is followed by the 1949 version of Little Women at 1:30 AM. I don't have nearly the dislike for this movie as I am for the other three; it's much more that I'm probably not supposed to be a member of the target audience, not being a young girl. This one also has Margaret O'Brien, as well as Peter Lawford, who is another of the people on my list of not my favorite actors.

Finally, at 3:45 AM, is Tenth Avenue Angel. This is the sort of movie that explains why I dislike Margaret O'Brien movies. O'Brien plays Flavia, a girl living in the tenements during the Depression along with her parents and aunt Susan (Angela Lansbury). Strike one is that even more than other movies it glosses over how bad grinding poverty is. Susan's boyfriend is a convict, but everybody's lying to Flavia about the reason for the boyfriend's absence. Strike two: trying to keep a "big lie" going is something which generally irritates me in a movie. And then there's Margaret O'Brien, whose acting is so syrupy they need to put a warning on this movie for diabetes patients. Strike three.

But, I suppose there are people who like some or all of these movies, which is why TCM trots them out every Christmas. TCM's shop lists Meet Me in St. Louis and Little Women as being available from the TCM Shop, but not the other two.

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