Christmas Ramblings

23 Dec

My wife and stepdaughter just finished wrapping gifts. My job was picking up the scraps. Now, they are in the kitchen making banana bread. Yep, Christmas is upon us. It is time for family gatherings and reflection. For me, it is a time for rambling ruminations.

The other day, my nephew and I went to the movies, which meant that we had to enter the danger zone of a shopping mall at Christmas. As I made my way through traffic, I thought about the wise men who followed the star to that manger in Bethlehem. They had gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus. I have often thought about that journey and its impact upon the world.wise men

Those wise men did more for our economy than they could ever imagine. Their bearing of gifts led to the shopping mania that accompanies this season. In other words, they created the traffic that bogged us down as we slowly made our way to the theater.

By the way, nowhere does it say how many magi journeyed to Bethlehem. It is the number of gifts that lead people to believe that there was the same number of gift givers. However, there is one thing for sure. The wise men were fireman. We know this because they came from afar.

Anyway, we saw In the Heart of the Sea, the new movie from Ron Howard. I was totally stoked for this one because I have my classes read the book. It is the tale of a whaling ship that was attacked by a whale. The men had to survive while floating in whaleboats. It is dramatic story of what people will do in order to survive. Unfortunately, the movie folks did not think it was dramatic enough.

I will not give up any spoilers, but the filmmakers added unnecessary embellishments to the story. The did it to create conflict between characters. Apparently, the conflict with the whale and the elements was not enough.

I understand that not all of history fits well on the screen. However, this story was an exception. The extras were not needed. Heck, they did not even talk about what happened after the survivors returned. Instead of talking about the true struggles of the survivors, they tried too hard to attach the story to Moby Dick.

Since I am on a movie rant, I will go ahead and talk about The Revenant. It is the story of Hugh Glass, the mountain man who was attacked by a bear and left to die by his fellow trappers. He did not die and pursued them to get revenge. It is another dramatic story. Once again, the filmmakers felt that being left for dead was not dramatic enough. They added the murder of his son, an event that is totally made up.

Oh yeah, Alejandro G. Inarritu, the director of The Revenant, stated that it is not a Western. He said that it cannot be a Western because there are no cowboy hats. Obviously, he is trying to distance himself from the genre, but he is wrong in his statement. The age of the cowboy lasted about twenty years in the American West. The age of the mountain men also lasted about twenty years. That means that a mountain man movie is just as much of a Western as a cowboy movie.

Oscar or no Oscar, I am beginning to think that Alejandro is all hat and no cattle.

I apologize for allowing the movies to get me off topic. This post was supposed to be a rumination of the holiday season.

The shopping malls are bad, and, at times, I wish the wise men had not been bearing gifts. However, Christmas is always a special time. Families gather. People talk and laugh. Great food is eaten. In the middle of all that, we remember that Christmas is a special time of year that cannot be ruined by traffic or bad movies. It is a time of love and peace.

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15 Responses to “Christmas Ramblings”

  1. Bantering Ram December 23, 2015 at 03:25 #

    Hmm? Minorly grumpy?

    • Rick December 23, 2015 at 03:36 #

      Very passive aggressive

  2. Cindy Bruchman December 23, 2015 at 09:23 #

    I agree with you regarding “In the Heart of the Sea”. I don’t know why they felt the need to clutter up a perfectly good story. Stephen Crane would be turning in his grave. Melville, too. I love the documentary about the whaling industry “Into the Deep: American Whaling & the World”. So much better than the film! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PeS_gFhmVk
    I just finished the nonfiction “The Revenant” in anticipation of the film. I can’t see it until Jan 8, but I hope you will pop round on the 13th of Jan when the Lucky 13 Film Club discusses the film in depth. Regardless, I was surprised to hear they added the subplot of the murdered son. The added motivation seems unnecessary
    Merry Christmas! .

    • Rick December 23, 2015 at 15:38 #

      Thanks for the link. Tell me more about the film club and how I get involved. It sounds interesting.

      • Cindy Bruchman December 23, 2015 at 15:42 #

        Oh, marvelous! Tis super easy. On the 13th of every month, a guest conversation starter and moi discuss a topic in film such as a genre, a theme, a director, one movie, two–etc. There’s a posting announcing the topic and then you watch or revisit the topic. On the 13th, a lot of wonderful people discuss and share their thoughts. It’s a lot of fun. Since you’ve seen The Revenant, you are in fine shape to join us!

  3. Andrew Petcher December 23, 2015 at 10:02 #

    I was going to go and see that film, now I have second thoughts. How did it compare with the Gregory Peck 1956 film. I have always liked that one.

    • Rick December 23, 2015 at 14:45 #

      It’s a good movie. I just wish they had not added unnecessary elements. I felt that they were trying to make it more like Moby Dick than the real story actually was.

  4. jcalberta December 23, 2015 at 19:33 #

    “the danger zone of a shopping mall at Christmas” LOL! I get that.
    Sometimes it takes more that “3 wise men” doesn’t it?!
    “conflict between characters”? they must me watching too many (un)reality shows.
    The Revenant, not Western he says? You’re right, frontiersmen are pretty Western.

    Love and Peace to you too Rick – and family.

    • Rick December 23, 2015 at 22:21 #

      Thanks. I hope you guys have a great holiday.

  5. sittingpugs December 23, 2015 at 21:01 #

    I am looking forward to seeing The Revenant. There has been a debate amongst cinema studies crowds whether or not the Western and Film Noir are more genres or stylistic/aesthetic choices. Does Film Noir have to be broody, take place in LA in rainy weather with a hard-boiled detective? Can a Western be a Western without cowboys or their hats? Can it even take place in space?

    • Rick December 23, 2015 at 22:22 #

      A Western can definitely take place in space. Avatar is the space version of Dances With Wolves.

  6. Marilyn Armstrong December 24, 2015 at 05:42 #

    Some very fine punning mixed in there. I’m still laughing at “they came from afar.”

    I was planning to miss both of those movies for all the reasons you mentioned. In my ‘umble opinion, it’s a western if it feels like one, even if everyone drives jeeps and pickups. Merry Christmas 🙂

    • Rick December 24, 2015 at 17:00 #

      Thanks. I am not sure I would skip them. Just know there are a few unnecessary plot additions.

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