Since the All Hallow's Read Week was such a hit, I invited my writer friends back to tell us about their favorite December holiday stories. I told them the format doesn't matter. Pick a Rankin-Bass special, a movie, a book. The holiday doesn't matter either. Hannukah, Christmas, Saturnalia, Yule, Kwanzaa.To start us off is thriller author Will Graham!
The heartwarming story of two police officers, one white and one black, who come to brotherhood over the holidays while solving a series of vicious murders and simultaneously shutting down an international drug smuggling network. Lots of clever dialogue, tons of guns and explosions, including a shootout and chase down Hollywood Boulevard on Christmas Eve, plus a highly unusual use of the Family Christmas Tree to defeat the villains. The flagship of action movies in the 1980's, it's still more fun than it should be today.
This is one for the ages: a lone cop single-handedly foils the plans of not one but TWO groups of Serious Bad Guys on Christmas Eve, both times to save his wife’s life; is that Love or what?!? Single Best Line of the series: in DH2: “How can the same shit happen to the same guy TWICE?” Excellent question, but ultimately who cares? (I always liked the DH series more than most other series, and yes, I saw the last one, LIVE FREE OR.... My reaction when asked was "I want that computer room; hell the FBI wants that computer room!") Take 'em for what they are, kick back, and just enjoy the ride. Here is a wickedly funny spoof from Ben Stiller: DIE HARD XII
James Bond saves the world on Christmas Eve. So what if it’s got George Lazenby in his one shot at the role? (Frankly, he wasn't all that bad, and I firmly believe had he given it a chance, he'd have grown into the role quite well.) It’s Bond, it’s Christmas, it’s Diana Rigg in mini-skirts and…… whoops, sorry about that one, ladies. But still, the former Mrs. Peel in a mini, well……… (One has to wonder if it would preferable to find Ms. Rigg in one's stocking Christmas Morn, or find her IN stockings Christmas Morn.... but I digress....) There were rumors floating around at one time that of all of the previous 007 stories, this was the one Pierce Brosnan wanted to re-make. Had Jane Seymour been cast as Tracy, well....
Just because. Tom Hanks stars as Charlie Wilson (D-Texas (of course!)), a swingin', singin', Rat Pack type of Congressman who actually made some things happen. There's a brief shot of a Christmas Tree in it, which makes it close enough to be included. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, as he usually does, almost steals the show. Favorite scene? "That's why you're the Press Secretary, Boo-Boo!" Everyone needs to see this one on general principles.
The Ultimate. The Gold Standard. The Big One. The All-Time Classic. Given the above four movies mentioned, this one is particularly ironic as it concerns a young man, a BB gun, and the running imprecation, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Any guy of a certain age can relate to Ralphie, nodding and smiling all through the movie. Darren McGavin was proudest of his role as "The Old Man" in this, of all his career, and he should have been. Melinda Dillon was Everyone's Mom, and Ralphie even had a Kid Brother to deal with. A wonderful story about being a kid and trying to figure out how Life really works. An annual tradition here (the Widescreen Collector's Platinum Edition,of course) but a staple of TNT/TBS networks, with TNT running it for 24 hours straight starting Christmas Eve. The A-Number One Hall of Famer for Guy Holiday movies.
Will Graham is the pseudonym of a licensed private investigator specializing in computer forensics. His latest book is Spider's Dance.
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