Today is November 5, the day that Guy Fawkes infamously attempted to blow up Parliament in London. This action, called the Gunpowder Plot, was immortalized in the minds of popular culture (minds that usually no next to nothing about history and certainly not enough to appreciate it) by the 2006 action thriller "V For Vendetta" starring Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman. How many of us own this movie and only watch it but once a year? Contemplating this question made me think of other movies that we sometimes consider "once a year" movies:
Good Friday- "Passion of the Christ"
(2004) The true and saving story of how Jesus Christ suffered and died for us in our place. Criticized by many, it only proves what Jesus Himself said, that we would be mocked and persecuted for our beliefs. Despite its saving message, it's brutal but accurate gore and violence make it a difficult movie to watch more than a few times a year; many people figure that if there is one day to watch it, it is Good Friday.
St. Patrick's Day- "Boondock Saints"
(1999) The cult classic that gained so much popularity after its DVD release that it spurred film makes to make a sequel 10 years after the original. The story about vigilante brothers who feel they have been called by God to eliminate evil men is endearing to society's thirst of justice; throw in the fact that they are two young and attractive Irish men and you have yourself an instant St. Patty's day classic. Vulgar, violent, and in many places over the top, it is the stereotypical Irish party movie.
D-Day (June 6)- "Saving Private Ryan"
(1998) The winner of five Academy Awards (out of 11 nominations), "Saving Private Ryan" was the first Hollywood movie to capture the horror and violence experienced by American soldiers on beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Even though the majority of the movie takes place after the storming of the beach, the opening scene (which does take up 15-20 minutes of the movie) is what most viewers remember the most vividly. A brilliant performance by Tom Hanks and superb directing by Steven Spielberg make this movie an enduring American classic. Best of all, this movie started to raise awareness about the lack of a World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. Years after its release, the memorial was built and opened for the public to come and show appreciation for America's finest heroes.
Christmas- "A Christmas Story
(1983) If you have ever been near a television during any Christmas celebration, chances are you have seen this movie. Even if you have not sat through the entire movie in one sitting, it is highly probable that in the 27 consecutive years it has been shown on Christmas Day (this year will be the 28th) you have seen every scene of it in some kind of order. True, there are many, many Christmas movies; and you most likely have a personal favorite you like to watch every year on Christmas Day. However, out of all of these movies, "A Christmas Story" is most likely the most iconic... as it has been aired for 24 hours straight on Christmas Day in recent years.
Christmas Eve- "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
(1965) In a time where the sanctity of Christmas is defiled, ridiculed, and belittled by popular culture, the annual airing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is a breath of fresh air to those of us who still believe in the miracle that is Christ's manifestation. Linus's speech to Charlie Brown about the real meaning of Christmas (a recitation of the Christmas message from the Gospel of Luke) witnesses the Good News of Christ's birth to millions of Americans every year.
New Year's- "Holiday Inn"
(1942) We're going very old school on this one. Holiday Inn, for those of you in my generation that were not fortunate enough to be brought up watching classic and quality cinema, is the story of a song-and-dance performer who has had enough of the traveling, late nights, and unfulfilling life of a big-time star. After his fiance leaves him for his partner, he buys a farm in Connecticut. Farming life quickly proves itself to be far more strenuous than he had enticipated and he suffers a mental breakdown. Once discharged from the hospital, he transforms his farm into an inn that is open only on holidays. A movie that is a good watch on either Christmas or New Years, it is an American classic with stunning performances by Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire (this is also the movie for which Irving Berlin wrote the classic song "White Christmas").
Valentine's Day- "Valentine's Day"
(2010) This movie might be a little bit more recognizable for most you. A decent movie, most guys are glad that this is a "once a year" movie. Not that it is a bad movie per say (the comical performance by Taylor Swift is surly a memorable one), it plays upon the romantic sides of both single women and women who are in a relationship/engaged/married. Highlighted by one of the biggest star-studded casts you will ever come across, it is a movie that is both enduring and funny. Some women may stop here and claim that it is a movie worth watching more than once, but let me retort with this: there is only so much Ashton Kutcher a guy can take.
The wonderful thing about blogs is that I can come back and edit this at any time, which may happen because I cannot think of any other "once a year" movies. I do, however, believe there are more. Of course there are many movies that could take the place of any of the movies on this list; but I have tried to identify the ones that are most popular. In any case, you now know my holiday watch list.