Thursday, November 2, 2017

# Holidays

Sheila Roberts / Sheila's Never Miss'em Holiday Movies @_sheila_roberts

By Sheila Roberts

I love the holidays – the festivities, the decorations, the food (heaven help me!), and the inspiring deeper meaning behind them. And I love a good holiday movie. I bet you do, too. We all have our favorites, of course. As a writer, there are some that really do it for me. Here are my never to be missed movies that I watch every year, no matter what.

Indeed, it is. And this is a wonderful, classic. I was shocked when one of my friends told me her daughter has never seen the movie. Seriously? How could you not sit your offspring down to watch a movie with one of the best and most beloved actors of all time, Jimmy Stewart? Of course, there’s more to the movie than simply a great cast of actors. The plot of this story seems simple: a good man finds himself in trouble through no fault of his own. But the story goes well beyond that. We see the evolution of one life play out before our lives. One man makes noble choices that bind him to his small town even though he wants nothing better than to get out there and see the world and do great things. And, of course, the irony is, that he does great things right there in his own corner of the world. When we first meet George Bailey, our hero, he’s talking about wanting to build things. He never realizes that he’s building something more important than things. He’s building lives, helping people make their own small dreams of a home of their own come true. But he doesn’t see that and in his moment of crisis he sees himself as a failure and figures his best option is to end his life. The idea of showing this man how valuable that life is and what other people’s lives would have been like without him is simply brilliant. And in the end, George realizes that “No man is a failure who has friends.” This story never fails to inspire me and make me cry, and always leaves me asking the question, “What am I building with my one small life?”

I must kick off Thanksgiving watching this movie. I simply must. I love Steve Martin and John Candy and I still laugh at all the silly cinematic moments, especially the scene where these two wind up going the wrong way on the freeway. Anyone who’s ever started the wrong way down a one-way street can identify with that feeling of Aaaack. We have a version where the language is sanitized – I had no idea how many naughty words our hero could say when he was mad until I saw the original version – but language issues aside, this is a great story. We see two men trying to find their way home – one to a literal home, one to life that can replace what he’s lost. And I love that our man who thought he had it so together, eventually realizes that he has much to learn about what makes people valuable. (I still wouldn’t want to travel with that crazy curtain ring salesman though!)

The 1984 version with George C. Scott. Oh, yes. In my opinion, Charles Dickens wrote the best Christmas fiction ever. How brilliant! Let’s visit a skeptical, stingy man with three ghosts representing his past, present and future and open his eyes to what he should be doing for Christmas. At the end, of course, our hero learns the importance of caring for his fellow man and becomes a man who learns to keep Christmas and keep it well. George C. Scott is amazing in this and so are the ghosts. A great family movie with a message well worth discussing after the ending credits have rolled and the popcorn has been gobbled.

This story doesn’t have the huge character arc the other three movies do, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a memoir, one man’s reminiscences of his childhood. And what fun reminiscences they are! I love the famous leg lamp scene, especially, with Richie touching the leg and his mother hastily removing his hand from temptation. Ah, how clever old Mom was in getting rid of the monstrosity she didn’t want in her house. A nostalgic glimpse of a simpler time.

We saw this movie on TV one year and got addicted. What can I say? I’m a sick puppy. I love the scene where the squirrel jumps out of the tree. This over-the-top holiday flick is silly from beginning to end and I love the way the silliness continues to escalate. While it does try to sneak in a moral – mean bosses should always give their employees Christmas bonuses – and not just Jelly of the Month Club membership (I always felt the real moral should have been, don’t spend money you don’t have. But that’s just me), the real reason to watch the Griswolds in action is simply to laugh and have fun.

Beautiful, charming, well done. What else can I say, other than watch it with your kids. It’s simply elegant.

Of course, this is just the tip of the holiday iceberg, and if there’s time I’ll get to movies like THE HOLIDAY or WHITE CHRISTMAS. But, a girl only has so much time. These are my favs. If you haven’t watched them all, maybe I can convince you to do so this season. Have a chick flick movie night and watch a couple with your girlfriends. Remember, “No man is a failure who has friends.”

About the Author
USA Today best-selling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books published in multiple languages and made into movies. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, dividing her time between a waterfront condo and a beach home. When she’s not on the tennis courts or partying with friends she can be found writing about those things dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.
Her latest women’s fiction is Christmas in Icicle Falls.



About the Book:

Author: Sheila Roberts
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Pages: 368
Genre: Women’s Fiction

When Muriel Sterling released her new book, A Guide to Happy Holidays, she felt like the queen of Christmas. She's thrilled when the new tree she ordered online arrives and is eager to show it off—until she gets it out of the box and realizes it's a mangy dud. But rather than give up on the ugly tree, Muriel decides to make a project out of it. As she pretties up her tree, she realizes there's a lesson to be learned: everything and everyone has potential. Maybe even her old friend Arnie, who's loved her for years. Except, she's not the only one seeing Arnie's potential…

Meanwhile, Muriel's ugly-tree project has also inspired her friends. Sienna Moreno is trying to bring out the best in the grouchy man next door, who hates noise, hates kids and hates his new neighbors. And while Olivia Claussen would love to send her obnoxious new daughter-in-law packing, she's adjusting her attitude and trying to discover what her son sees in the girl. If these women can learn to see the beauty in the "ugly trees" in their lives, perhaps this might turn out to be the happiest holiday yet.


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