December 11th 2016
Today we, as tradition requires, watched Miracle On 34th Street as a family. Every year, for as long as I can remember, in the run up to Christmas we watch it together. It’s our famous Christmas film, we basically know all the words.
I took the mick out of my Mum because she started laughing about 3 seconds before the punchline of a joke came. “But I know what they’re going to say,” she said.
“How can it be funny if you already know the punchline?” I asked, Scrooging it. But, eventually even I was laughing before the punchline hit.
Last year I watched this film with cynicism and doubt, (and wrote about it here). This year, I believed in it just a bit more.
My Mum was in tears. She loves it. She even bought a little bell to show that she too believes. I didn’t have the heart to point out that the quote on the bell was from The Polar Express.
Every time I watch the film I notice new things, and as I become more privvy to the workings of a screenplay, they’re often flaws that I notice. Like the way exposition is provided in the most cliched of ways, with a montage of a news anchor telling you what’s just happened. Or how Mr Bedford randomly tells Mr Kringle about Ms Walker’s previous lovelife, just so that the audience are informed.
And I’m still not convinced that in a court of law there was sufficient evidence to acquit Kris Kringle of being quite cuckoo. The way that he convinces Ms Walker in the film is by making her spend a couple of million dollars on a house in the suburbs. That’s not magic, that’s real estate. She’s the one paying for it. And all he did was make a phone call.
But this year, it didn’t matter to me so much. Because by the end I was reciting the lines and laughing before the punchlines.
Until tomorrow, this year I had slightly more to believe in.