Anxiety, Childhood Innocence, Christmas Movies, Christmas Stories, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Innocence, Laughter, Love, Season's Greetings, The Polar Express, Uncategorized

I Can’t Stand The Polar Express!

Why does everyone but me love The Polar Express movie?  I will admit, that the book, written and illustrated by Chris Von Allsburg, has beautiful illustrations, but an entire movie about it????  It’s dark, and creepy, and sad.  I find nothing enjoyable about it at all.  The season, and the movies that accompany it should be joyful, happy, and make you feel GOOD!  So before all of you Polar Express fans start beating me with your Christmas bells, let me explain…..

So many things don’t make me feel good about this movie.  Children get on a train in the middle of the night with strangers.  Haven’t they ever heard of “Stranger Danger?”  It’s a fairly modern tale……I know there are stories from the past that have children doing all kinds of dangerous things (Home Alone has dangerous antics, but at least it’s funny), but this is creepy. If my kids took off in their pj’s when they’re supposed to be in bed, I would hope that law enforcement would issue an Amber Alert…..even if it was Tom Hanks who took them!  Haven’t they told their kids not to get into a car (or a train) with a stranger?  Not only do they board a train, but they also end up on TOP of the train with a hobo, who is also played by Tom Hanks.  Who the heck was that guy?  Why did he need to be in that movie?  Is it symbolism that was lost on me?  I could not connect the dots for this one.  He serves no purpose except to add more creep factor, in my opinion. That entire scene made no sense, and really scared the crap out of me!

There are a bunch of hot chocolate guys who dance and sing through the car.  Why?!  It doesn’t flow with the rest of the story at all.  Strange little men, doing acrobatic type stunts with hot liquid on a train car full of children.  They may as well be running with scissors too!

The characters aren’t attractive or appealing either.  They look very cold, expressionless, and sad.  At first, I thought it might be because of early computer animation, but the conductor looks just like Tom Hanks, so I don’t think that’s it.  They’re just unattractive and stiff!  And the poor little boy sitting in the car all by himself…..what’s that all about?  Is he being punished for being poor?  Tom Hanks’ conductor character is rather intimidating and impatient.  Why is he working with children? He needs to be more patient to work with kids.  Why would a child go with him when he isn’t exactly oozing with charisma?  He actually seems a bit threatening and mean about those darn tickets, even if he can make art with his hole punch!

The scenes from the North Pole seem like an industrial country left over from the Cold War.  The way the citizens/elves and children cheer for their leader, Santa…..also voiced by Hanks, is rather reminiscent of the old film footage of the citizens of communist countries cheering for their leaders…..or like a cult worshiping their leader…….spooky! And Santa isn’t merry and jolly and happy…….why?  Where is our happy Santa?  Why is this movie so dark???

I need joy, laughter, and happiness for a Christmas movie.  I don’t want to be afraid, confused, or see characters as something scary or dark.  Give me Elf, A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, and the original Grinch.  Those each have a happy ending, full of love and hope.  They don’t leave me asking questions about the plot line or symbolism.  The Polar Express leaves me feeling sad and depressed, and has me completely freaked out while I’m watching it!

As much as I love Tom Hanks, Christmas movies, and the holiday season, I just can’t get into this movie, no matter how hard I try.  Believe me, as an educator who has to watch it every year, and a mother who’s youngest child loves it, I’ve tried!  I just don’t like it.  I’ve always wondered if there are more people like me out there…..hating on this movie.  Anyone?  Or am I alone in my disdain for this film?

Advertisements
Be Happy, Christmas Stories, Family, Growing up, Happiness, Holiday Spirit, Holidays, Laughter, Love, Season's Greetings, Uncategorized

My Favorite Christmas Story

Everyone has their favorite (or least favorite) Christmas stories, right?  Certain Christmases stand out more than others, or you remember getting something very special that you had really been wanting.  I have a few of those memories, mostly from childhood, but a few as an adult too.

I remember my grandparents taking their first trip on an airplane, coming from Alabama, to celebrate with us in Sikeston, Missouri.  That same year, I got a little high chair for my dolls (I still have it).  My grandpa gave me a piggy bank at that time, which I also still have.  I remember the year that all I asked Santa for was a box of crayons, and I got it!  I’m not sure why they were so important to me that year, but as a 6 year old, it’s all I wanted.  I’m sure my parents were thrilled that I didn’t want much!  “Santa” still brings me a box of Crayola Crayons every year!  I remember the year that our Boston Terrier, Pepper, ate my chocolate candy cane, leaving the foil in little pieces all over the living room carpet, and I cried.  I remember Christmases at the farm in Alabama, in Wichita at my other grandmother’s house, and in many homes that my family lived in during my childhood.  We had a lot of good food, and played games, but we also always got to hear my favorite Christmas story…..I know what you’re thinking……it must have been about a little baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, right?  Well…..yeah, that’s a pretty nifty story, but the one I always looked forward to hearing was about the time my dad shot Santa Claus.

If you knew my dad, you know he liked to tease, and was very funny.  He was also a great story teller!  I’m not sure how old he was in this story, but I think he would have been in his late teens or early 20’s.  Daddy had two nieces, Martha and Bobbie, my Aunt Estelle’s daughters, who were maybe about 5 or 6 years old, and they were at the farm for Christmas.  The family had gone to Christmas Eve services at church, and my dad and uncles decided to play a trick on my cousins.  They put rocks and sticks in Martha and Bobbie’s Christmas stockings! The girls were obviously upset, and crying, asking why Santa would have done that to them when they had been such good little girls.  Daddy and his brothers announced that he couldn’t do that their nieces, and decided to “take care of him.”  Daddy grabbed a shotgun, and they went outside.  He fired a shot in the air, one of my uncles let out a yell, and they came back in, declaring, “Well, we got him!” My cousins were a LOT more upset then, and so was their mother!

By the time I started hearing this story, my cousins were adults, and Bobbie was telling me she would never forget when my dad shot Santa Claus.  She was, of course, laughing about it.  I’m not sure my aunt ever forgave her brothers for that, but I think she probably did.  I am completely anti-violence in any way, shape, or form, and I’m not crazy about guns, but I think this is a pretty cool story…..how many of you can say that your dad shot Santa Claus?