Lesson Transcript

Alisha: Hi, everybody. Welcome back to English Topics. My name is Alisha. Today, I'm joined again by…
Davey: Hi. I'm Davey.
Alisha: Welcome back, Davey. So, today, we're going to be talking about "Famous American Christmas Movies." We have both prepared three movies that had some kind of special significance to us around the holiday season or Christmas, in particular. So, let us introduce a few. Davey, do you want to start?
Davey: Sure. I this was the first one that jumped to my mind so I'm sharing it first. "Home Alone," classic Christmas movie. I remember seeing this in the theater with my mom when I was a little kid. Yeah. So, that ages me a little bit. It's a great movie. Kevin gets stuck home alone in Chicago, I believe, as this family goes off to spend Christmas in Paris and he has to fend off some whacky criminals.
Alisha: Right. And, "Home Alone," there were like two or three sequels to "Home Alone?"
Davey: I think, there was at least one.
Alisha: Wouldn't you find that a bit suspicious about that family if that child continued to be left home alone year after year and the same criminals came back year after year?
Davey: Yes, some of them have to change. Actually, I think in the second one it's still Kevin. And then, I think they switched to a different kid for a different movie.
Alisha: I see.
Davey: I don't know who--I don't remember who the criminals are.
Alisha: The only reason I think that that's considered a Christmas movie is because that's the time of year at which the movie takes place.
Davey: I must disagree with you there.
Alisha: Okay.
Davey: There is a strong Christmas message.
Alisha: It is?
Davey: Yes, Kevin is home alone at the beginning of the movie he's motivated because he's so dissatisfied with his family life. He's really angry at his siblings and his parents and he wishes that they would leave. And, they leave and he's stuck home alone. The first he loves it and he puts on his dad's aftershave so we get the "Home Alone" face.
Alisha: I remember that.
Davey: And, hanging out, then the criminals come and he realizes he misses his family, he needs them. He finds Christmas solace through an old man that lives down the street.
Alisha: Uh-huh.
Davey: It's a heartwarming tale.
Alisha: Indeed. Action, as well.
Davey: Yes.
Alisha: Zany antics.
Davey: Yup. Just like Christmas.
Alisha: Right.
Davey: Uh-hmm.
Alisha: Every Christmas is like that.
Davey: Always. Always.
Alisha: Throwing refrigerators at criminals.
Davey: That's right.
Alisha: Right. Mm.
Davey: Cans.
Alisha: Indeed.
Davey: Blowtorches.
Alisha: Right.
Davey: Yeah.
Alisha: The traditional festivities.
Davey: It was pretty cruel for—
Alisha: Actually, yeah. I don't remember being that creative or evil when I was that little.
Davey: True.
Alisha: Yeah, a lot of things going on in that movie we could analyze. But, let us move on.
Davey: About time.
Alisha: Okay, I'll go on to the first movie that I have on my list. The first one that I have is "Elf." "Elf" is fairly recent compared to a movie like "Home Alone." "Home Alone," it was made in what the early 90s.
Davey: That's right.
Alisha: Something like that. "Elf" is made what like the early 2000s or so. "Elf" is quite a new, comparatively new Christmas movie, actually. The story is Will Ferrell plays an elf. So, elves are, in maybe American Christmas lore and Christmas stories, elves are the people who help Santa, Santa Claus in his workshop to create toys for children. And, elves only stay in that workshop. They lived there in the North Pole with Santa. But, in the story of "Elf," one of these elves leaves the North Pole in an effort to find his father because he's raised different from his fellow elves because he is much bigger. So, he's played by Will Ferrell. It's a comedy but it's also kind of a sweet story of a person who is different, trying to find acceptance in a world that doesn't really appreciate people who are different. So, there are a lot of kind of nice messages in this story and it's comedy, as well. So, there are a lot of really funny moments but they're also kind of like some really sweet moments as well. There's singing in it which is very nice. There's actually very nice singing.
Davey: Yes.
Alisha: I don't even usually like singing but that's quite good.
Davey: Zooey Deschanel.
Alisha: Yeah.
Davey: Lovely voice.
Alisha: Though, that song it leaves--that is the--that is a very questionable Christmas song, I will say. It was very troubling Christmas song, the one they sing there. It's cool.
Davey: It's cool.
Alisha: I'll just say that. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" is the least agreeable—well, perhaps Christmas Carol. But, anyway, that's a different topic. So, "Elf," yeah. "Elf" is a very popular and rather cheery, pleasant movie.
Davey: I watch that Christmas movie every year.
Alisha: Really?
Davey: Every Christmas, I watch that movie.
Alisha: Are you the kind of person who watches Christmas movies every year?
Davey: Well, I guess, yes. Yes, because I watched that almost every-- almost every year. I don't remember every year.
Alisha: What is it that makes you want to watch the same movie at the same time every year? I'm not that kind of person.
Davey: One kind of movie that I will watch again and again is a comedy. I will watch comedies over and over and over again. I'll always laugh at the same jokes. I like waiting for the jokes, knowing they're coming. I love "Elf," it's a very funny movie. I remember that that movie exists when Christmas is coming around. So, more like it just reminds me to watch "Elf."
Alisha: Okay.
Davey: So, it's not that I think, "Christmas time, I have to watch 'Elf.'" It's more like Christmas reminds me to watch "Elf."
Alisha: I see.
Davey: It's a very fine movie.
Alisha: It is good. Okay. Nice. What's your next one?
Davey: My next one is another one I watch almost every year, "Die Hard." A lot of people might argue that "Die Hard" is not a Christmas movie. I think that it is. And, perhaps, maybe this is one that you could say becomes a Christmas movie by default.
Alisha: Mm-hm.
Davey: But, again, John McClane didn't have to go down to the building to the Christmas party but he did. He went down there to try and win back his ex-wife because he was struck by the Christmas spirit. And then, he found himself in the middle of a terrorist plot and had to fight his way out.
Alisha: Happens to me all the time.
Davey: Yeah.
Alisha: Yep, happens to you too, I'm sure from time to time.
Davey: Every now and again, not every year, thankfully.
Alisha: Right, right. You just get swept up in a terrorist plot and you have to fight your way out. Yeah, holiday season.
Davey: Tired old tale.
Alisha: Yep, yep. For sure. But, yes, that is a hotly contested. "Hotly contested" means many people discuss and debate about it. That's a hotly contested movie in terms of whether or not it is, in fact, a Christmas movie.
Davey: That's true.
Alisha: But, it seems that the majority consensus, most people believe—well, some people, I should say, do believe firmly that "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie.
Davey: Well, you should watch it and make a decision for yourself.
Alisha: That's true. Nice. Okay.
Davey: What's your next movie?
Alisha: I'm going to go to one which you guys actually pointed out to me. I guess I'll just introduce the name of it first. The movie is called "The Santa Clause." This came out when I was in elementary school? I don't remember. "The Santa Clause," but this, I did not realize it until like a few minutes ago. Usually, Santa Claus, the person like in all of our Christmas stories, the guy who brings presents and his red coat and red pants and all that, we spell his name without an "E." But, in this story, the main character is played by Tim Allen who was a very popular actor, kind of comedic actor in the 90s in the USA. In this story, Tim Allen accidentally kills Santa Claus as Santa is delivering presents on Christmas. And so, "clause" here refers to like a condition, like a condition in a contract or part of a contract. Something that indicates future necessary behavior, in this case. So, in this--I'm over complicating it but because Tim Allen's character kills Santa Claus, the actual person, by doing so, he begins, he enters into a contract wherein he has to become Santa Claus, the next Santa Claus. The title of the film is actually a play on words, it's some wordplay related to this. And, I didn't realize that until just now. I saw the movie as a child and I didn't realize the play on words at the time. But now, it's like, "Oh, it's interesting. There's kind of a double meaning in the title of this movie." So, yeah. So, the movie is Tim Allen learning how to be Santa Claus and as he's going through all these changes, like personality changes and physical changes, as well. Yeah.
Davey: That's right. Yeah.
Alisha: This was one--I saw it maybe once or twice. Maybe once, I think, when I was a kid. But, there were just like some strong kind of funny visuals in it like his hair. He would subtly grow a beard or he would suddenly get like really fat as he was becoming Santa in the movie. This was one that I remember from my childhood, for some reason.
Davey: What I don't remember either is whether or not "The Santa Clause" stipulates if you have to become Santa as a result of murder or just accidental.
Alisha: I don't know. It's getting very dark. Was it manslaughter or homicide?
Davey: I don't know. They don't want to stipulate.
Alisha: I believe that it was accidental in the movie.
Davey: So, what happens if you really go for it?
Alisha: I don't know. Let's continue. On to another movie.
Davey: Okay, alright. My last movie, I had to go for a classic, is "It's a Wonderful Life." I haven't seen this movie in a long time but it's one of the maybe oldest Christmas movies I remember. Not because it's just the oldest one of my list, I think this movie come out in the 50s or 60s, but it's one I remember watching when I was very small watching it at home with my family and it's just a really good classic Christmas movie.
Alisha: Yeah, I think I've only seen it once as well. I saw it maybe when I was a teenager. The movie, it's called "It's a Wonderful Life" but it is an emotional film that goes to many different places.
Davey: It is so heavy movie.
Alisha: There are some Christmas themes, for sure. So, yeah, that's quite a--that is absolutely quite a classic. But, don't let the title fool you. There are many emotional roller coasters to ride in that film for sure. Okay, nice. Then, I'll finish up, I guess, with one that we sort of debated. I wasn't sure whether to include it and we decided, okay. I decided okay. The movie is "The Nightmare Before Christmas." I was hesitant to include this because I feel like it could be like a Halloween movie but at the same time, it is sort of a Christmas movie. So, if you're familiar, this is a film by Tim Burton. It's an animated film but basically, the characters in the movie, the animated characters in the movie are from a place where Halloween is like the theme of their city.
Davey: Halloween Town.
Alisha: Yeah, it's called Halloween Town. And, one day, one of the characters in Halloween Town discovers this other place, this other city like Christmas Town like where all of everything is themed around Christmas and he's so excited about it. He wants to bring that back to his Halloween City. So, he tries to recreate Christmas in his hometown, essentially. He creates kind of this very, very strange, very dark interpretation of Christmas. But, again, he's trying to bring the idea of Christmas spirit to his hometown in the best way that he can and he kind of messes it up but the message there is just that he's trying to make his community a little bit happier, to improve his community a little bit and kind of the struggles that he goes through to do that.
Davey: Yeah.
Alisha: That's a very interesting film as well. There are a lot of layers to that.
Davey: It's true. I think that the overall plot makes it more of a Christmas movie than a Halloween movie.
Alisha: Yeah, I think so too.
Davey: More of a Christmas message.
Alisha: I think so, too. And, actually, while I was talking about that, have you seen the movie "The Grinch?" "The Grinch" who stole Christmas?
Davey: Uh, which one? The old the old animated one or this…
Alisha: Well, both? That's true.
Davey: I don't think I've seen the Jim Carrey one.
Alisha: The Jim Carrey one?
Davey: I don't think I've seen that.
Alisha: Yeah, I think I saw it one time but it just occurred to me now. I was like, "Oh, that's a classic story."
Davey: It is a classic Christmas story.
Alisha: About this kind of mean, old, essentially, mean, old man who tries to push everybody out and lives outside of town but around Christmas time, the community tries to bring him in and show him appreciation and care. Eventually, he warms up to them and tries to kind of integrate into the community a bit. But, that's another one that's sort of into that same theme that maybe we've been talking about if people coming together around Christmas time every year. Hmm. Very nice.
Davey: That's the Christmas message, I think.
Alisha: I think so. I hope so.
Davey: Loving community.
Alisha: Indeed. Great! So, that's all I have.
Davey: That's all I got.
Alisha: Alright. So, those are a few very famous, I think, American Christmas movies. If you haven't seen them, you should check them out. I think that they're actually some pretty good references and cultural references. Especially a movie like "Die Hard," that is a huge, hugely famous movie that lots of people reference. I remember for Christmas as well. I think it's also quite popular. So as "Elf" maybe too. But, all of these really can give some interesting insights into American culture, and I mean, you can practice your English too, of course, and enjoy.
Davey: There are a lot of Christmas movies that we didn't get to talk about today so have a look around, explore, see what other Christmas movies that you can find.
Alisha: Absolutely. Yeah. If there are any other Christmas movies or if there are some famous holiday movies from your country that you enjoy and that you think are really famous or kind of represent holidays in your country, let us know. Thanks very much for watching and we'll see you again soon. Bye.
Davey: It's a miracle.


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Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 01:33 PM
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Hi there Olo,

Thanks for taking the time to share. 👍

Please let us know if you ever have any questions throughout your studies, we would be happy to assist.



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Tuesday at 10:25 AM
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I have saw Home alone tens of times! Both of them)even that We’re not celebrate Christmas

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:11 AM
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Hello Gabe,

Thank you for posting. Those are really funny movies! :)

Let us know if you have any questions.



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Thursday at 04:24 AM
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yes. elf and home alone. 等