He Said/She Said #13: White Christmas
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
To be clear; I didn’t grow up with WHITE CHRISTMAS playing 3 times a night for the entire month of December. Perhaps there’s a special association people have to the film and maybe watching it invokes memories of a happier, more innocent time in their childhood. For me, I only see it as a second rate “Christmas” movie capitalizing off of its recognizable stars and offering nothing in the way of meaning or entertainment. If you haven’t seen this and you’re over the age of 12, but weren’t alive during WWII, I can’t imagine you’ll get anything out of it.
To start with, the only thing that makes this a Christmas movie is that they sing ‘White Christmas’ at the very end. Imagine, that at the end of the last Transformers movie, Shia Labeouf belted out ‘Jingle Bells’ and they called it “Transformers Christmas”. It wouldn’t make sense and you’d feel tricked into watching a Christmas movie…right? Same thing here, except people openly accept this as a Christmas movie even though the word “Christmas” is used sparingly, if at all and they don’t even bother touching on any of the accepted meanings of Christmas. The rest of the time is spent watching Bing Crosby fight back his latest Marijuana buzz to try and mutter his ridiculous lines. I acknowledge the fact that Mr. Crosby is one of the most talented musicians of all time, but in WHITE CHRISTMAS, he’s relying solely on his name to generate ticket sales.
Nostalgia aside, this movie just grates on me. I’m constantly reminded of what a great movie it is, but despite repeated viewings, I can’t find anything enjoyable in it. If you want to hear Bing Crosby sing ‘White Christmas’, just pop in his Christmas CD. Of course, I’m not going to rule out the possibility that I’m just a Grinch.
WHITE CHRISTMAS is definitely one of those nostalgic Christmas movies for me and I did watch it two to three times each week during December while my mother and I belted out the songs with Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. It is still a soundtrack to my holiday season and whenever I hear Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ I’m transported back to wrapping presents or baking cookies with my family. And because of those memories WHITE CHRISTMAS will always be my favorite Christmas movie. And yes, it is a Christmas movie–let me explain why.
Unlike some Christmas films that pummel you with jingle bells, snow and Santa presents to get you into the holiday spirit, WHITE CHRISTMAS depicts the true meaning of Christmas which is the giving of oneself to help another human in a time of need–that’s the Christmas spirit. This is prevalent in the beginning of the film as Phil Davis (Kaye) saves Bob Wallace (Crosby) during WWII on Christmas Day, which bonds their friendship. Through the movie they perform wonderful dance and song numbers before they happen upon their old General from the Army who’s business is down on its luck and will most likely shut down because the holiday season is so slow. Wallace and Davis put on a spectacular show on Christmas Day for their General friend and the Christmas spirit is restored in all. It’s a great movie that represents the true meaning of Christmas–which is goodwill towards men. Some Scrooges will have you believe that just because we don’t see Santa and his reindeer then it couldn’t possibly be a Christmas film, but believe me gentle readers, it’s a Christmas movie that rivals all others and has stood the test of time.