Video Event of the Week: Is it MGM/UA's new DVD and Blu-ray versions of Bryan Singer's terrific Nutty Nazis thriller Valkyrie, with Tom Cruise and an eye-patch? Might Fox Video's equally terrific new DVD of Fritz Lang's even Nuttier Nazis thriller Man Hunt from 1941 get the nod? Or against all the odds, might Sony's Blu-ray of Kevin James as Paul Blart: Mall Cop possibly the The One?
All worthy, to be sure, and I'm going to write at length about the really superb Man Hunt (one of Lang's most stylish American efforts) and Valkyrie -- both of which are about plots to assassinate Hitler -- next week. But in the meantime, and because -- for obvious reasons -- things will be quiet as a tomb around here till Monday, I'm forgoing the usual video pick and instead proceding directly to the traditional relevant little project for us all:
Best or Worst Holiday-Themed Flick!!!
You can cheat on this one, by which I mean that if a holiday is merely mentioned in the film's title, that's okay.
And my totally top of my head Top Five is:
5. Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978)
Splendidly cinematic, genuinely terrifiying, and featuring the young Jamie Lee Curtis and P.J. Soles. What's not to like?
4. Born on the Fourth of July (Oliver Stone, 1989)
I know, I know, Tom Cruise. But you know what? A good, gutsy performance, and the film itself was an at the time long-overdue rebuke to certain revisionist historical tropes.
3. Christmas in Connecticut (Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1992)
The appalling remake of the 1945 classic. Because nothing says charmingly brittle high-WASP romantic holiday comedy like the phrase "directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger."
2. After the Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1936)
William Powell and Myrna Loy return to San Francisco and find their house has been taken over by the greatest drunken New Year's Eve party in screen history. A hoot from stem to stern.
And the all-time Happy Holidays flick, it's really not even worth arguing about, is obviously....
1. Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996)
Absolute crap, of course, in the inimitable Roland Emmerich manner, but since it's also a Civil Rights film -- Earth is saved by Jews and Blacks, working together -- it's great. Plus: Bill Pullman's big "Go kill the aliens, boys!" speech is even better than the St. Crispin's Day oration from Henry V.
Awrighty -- and your choices would be....????