I reckon 'tis the season and all, but lots of people I run into are talking about their favorite holiday movies right around now. I've been noticing more and more the past few years that the pool of these favorites tends to be growing, and at a much faster rate than the production of new "holiday-themed" films.
I remember when films on television were singular events, especially when associated with a certain day. We watched The Wizard of Oz every year because that's what was showing on Thanksgiving besides football and the Macy's parade. However, with the expansion of cable and the growth in means of access to home viewing options like DVD and on-demand video there seem to be fewer and fewer points of common reference for such a topic. I don't know if my nephew got his Oz on this year or if he watched something like Dragonball Z Saves Happy Turkey Day.
This reminds of the several literature professors I had in college who lamented the fact that there was no common reference for speaking about literature anymore, that they could not rely on their students having read any Jane Austen or Moby Dick or having any kind of Biblical literacy. They had to start from scratch in order to teach texts that relied on having knowledge of precedent or contemporary texts.
But culture moves on. Fashion has changed! Is this issue really a problem, or am I just being a Medieval fuddy-duddy? Can the non-canonical exist without reference to and knowledge of the canon? Or is that too limiting to free culture?
I have my own answers to these questions, but I feel they are topics best reserved for discussing over a pitcher of eggnog, for disagreeing just to be able to talk in depth about a topic one loves. And besides, I can't complain because Hitchcock has always been my holiday/special event go to for movies.
--- Joshua Ranger