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'Irony of Fate' in the American way: which films are watched at Christmas in the USA


I grew up in the Soviet pre-New Year television tradition: our family, like many Soviet families, watched the film "The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath" on New Year's Eve. It turns out that Americans also share this tradition and watch movies with the whole family before Christmas.

Photo: video frame YouTube / Movieclips Classic Trailers

However, they do not have any one film that everyone would watch in a row: each family and each generation has their own preferences. What is customary to watch the Americans at Christmas?

"Alone at home"

I would even suggest that among people of my age the film “Home Alone” can seriously compete with the film “Irony of Fate” in our homeland, and not only in the USA! Among my acquaintances, I know several families who prefer to empathize with little Kevin, who was left at home by his family for Christmas, and not the drunken Zhenya Lukashin, who accidentally flew to Leningrad.

By the way, when I watched “Home Alone” as a child, it seemed to me that living in a luxurious huge mansion and flying as a family to Paris for Christmas in the first class was a common thing for the average American. As it turned out, the Americans were also shocked by the financial capabilities of the characters in the film: not everyone can afford such a life in America, even with an income above average!

"This is a wonderful life"

The 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life is the main official American counterpart of our Enjoy Your Bath. In the sense that, since the 1970s, it was shown on all the leading US television channels on Christmas Eve. It is with him that many Americans have fond memories of family gatherings and pre-Christmas culinary preparations accompanied by memorized dialogues from the TV.

The plot of this film could well be recommended for viewing even in the USSR. A resident of a small town who has not realized his dreams of seeing the world is forced to fight the hardships of capitalist reality, which is why he decides to commit suicide. However, he is saved by a guardian angel, showing how much good he has done to people, and they, in turn, pay him for good in the literal sense of the word - they carry money.

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Die Hard-1 (or 2)

My personal choice for New Year is a film about New York policeman John McLaine meeting his wife at the Washington airport for Christmas, that is, Die Hard 2. Although I personally know many people who prefer to celebrate the holiday under the first part - about the original celebration of Christmas by the same married couple in Los Angeles, in the Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper.

If you suddenly haven't seen these pictures, their plot is simple: a policeman husband comes to meet his wife and both times gets into a big mess with terrorists. We like the second part because the film shows the American Christmas bustle at the airport of the US capital. It is interesting to compare it with the New Year's bustle in the capital of the USSR, shown in The Irony of Fate.

"Christmas story"

This film is traditionally watched at Christmas in the family of our American friend, who is suitable for my mother. However, many American families share this tradition, although the work on which the film is directed describes England and was written by Briton Charles Dickens. I probably won't be mistaken if I say that "A Christmas Carol" is the official school Christmas film in the USA. Apparently because of his straightforward morality.

The 1951 film describes the incredible journey of the soul of the old curmudgeon Scrooge through the depths of his memory, the lives of people who depend on him, and even into the near future, which is completely changed by the old man's petty, arrogant and stingy attitude towards others. Such an early prototype of a trip to a psychoanalyst, only with the participation of magical forces.

In 2009, by the way, a color animated remake of the film with Jim Carrey in the title role was released.

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"Lord of the Rings"

Don't ask me why watching The Lord of the Rings is the hottest Christmas trend among Americans of the new generation. I do not understand this. Unlike the previous four films, The Lord of the Rings has nothing to do with Christmas. And what kind of Christmas can it be in a completely fabulous, non-Christian dimension of the magical worlds of hobbits, elves, goblins and gnomes?

However, if you grew up in the tradition of family watching movies before Christmas, if you and your children want to immerse yourself in a real fairy-tale world where good fights evil in an epic battle, if you want to look at mesmerizing colorful views instead of a black and white screen, then nine o'clock a trilogy based on the works of John Tolkien is just what you need, according to young Americans.

The original column was published on the author's blog "Between New York and Boston" at Yandex Zen.

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