It’s the time of year again, when all those old holiday movies start showing up in the streaming service, or if you are a boomer, on TV. Sadly, most of these movies can be argued are products of their time.
Or are they?
For the month of December I asked for assistance from TPTB to put together a coherent string of random thoughts, take a few bong hits postulate which of the classic Christmas movies can actually be made today.
This is my review of Campanology Brewing Chocolate Babka Stout
Today, we look at Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. This stop motion animated classic begins with the narrator, a snowman voiced by Burl Ives, tells us a story of the most famous reindeer of all. He takes us to the beginning of the story where Santa’s reindeer, Donner, meets his son Rudolph…who has a red nose. You could even say it glows; you could say that because it does in fact glow. It blinds everyone that looks into it directly, making it rather dangerous. Donner believes this is a problem and decides to put a cap over Rudolph’s nose to prevent others from ostracizing Rudolph, making it more likely they invite him to join in their reindeer games.
Later we meet Hermey the elf. Hermey is one of Santa’s elves, but does not like to make toys. He want’s to be a dentist. This proves to be an issue with his supervisor, who naturally wants him to do his job, which does not involve being a dentist.
In later scenes Rudolph’s nose cap falls off while playing reindeer games in an effort to impress a doe named Clarice, subjecting him to ridicule from his peers. They simply laughed, called him names, and would no longer invite him to participate in any reindeer games. Hermey on the other hand gets into a verbal altercation with his supervisor and is given the ultimatum to finish his job, or be fired. After a brief musical number, Hermey quits.
Rudolph and Hermey meet each other during a dispute involving the property rights of a nearby snowbank, decide to put aside their differences, and be “independent together”. They set out into the world, unsure of what to make of themselves and meet Yukon Cornelius, a gold/silver prospector. Eventually, they find themselves on the Island of Misfit Toys, where they meet other misfits like themselves. They are allowed by King Moonracer, the local monarch to stay a short while, but he states his kingdom is for misfit toys, not people.
Following a plot device that convinces Rudolph to go home, the story concludes with the defeat of the Abominable Snowman through Hermie’s crude ability to pull its teeth, and Yukon wrestling the bumble. Due to blizzard conditions making flight difficult and dangerous, Rudolph finds his glowing red nose to be a useful asset as a result. In spite of being a little bit different, all three characters are accepted by Santa, and others at the north pole for their gallantry.
Could this movie be made today? Absolutely, but not without a few small changes.
Among other things, it has been argued the entire movie is an allegory about gay acceptance. Rudolph being slightly different is judged by his father, who attempts to butch him up because he is “protecting” his son as a worried father is wont to do. In reality, Donner being one of Santa’s original eight reindeer and therefore high in north pole society, is only protecting his own standing out of embarrassment. Hermey is blatantly obvious. Not only is he the only elf in the story with hair, it is magnificent. He speaks with an effeminate voice and aspires to work on people’s teeth. That in itself isn’t gay but it is an odd thing for an elf to want to do. Finally, Yukon is the classic bear with his performative masculinity, that they meet to guide their path forward to first accepting themselves. The suspension of disbelief is low by the standard of today’s audience, who are well acquainted with the hero’s journey archetype.
Where it would likely be changed is in the narrator–not only is Burl Ives dead, he was a white male. He will be replaced with Morgan Freeman. The opening scene where Santa is body-shamed by his wife will be reversed, by Santa body shaming his wife with the gift of a Peleton bike. Santa and the north pole culture will need reinforcement of strict gender norms, and an oppressive culture in order for this storyline to work. This time around, he cannot be an amiable fellow traveler in the story. The Island of Misfit Toys unfortunately will have to be made into a delusional society that believes they are being oppressed by the world, thus will all be evangelical Christian misfits. King Moonracer will be the same in order to reinforce this delusion, because apparently nothing says misfit like a flying lion (when that’s actually freaking awesome). He will still decide to temporarily take in Rudolph, Hermey, and Yukon because it is the Christian thing to do but knows three gays will not find acceptance on his island.
Either Rudolph or Hermey will need to be trans. The easier of the two will likely be Hermey because Santa has a “girl” elf uniform. Yukon is still a bear, There will be a Clarice, but she will merely be a “ally” rather than a love interest.
Little Drummer Boy. This cannot be made again today. The drummer boy is an ass to everyone he meets in Israel. It takes the near death of his friend, a literal ass, for him to have a very literal “come to Jesus” moment. It is far too religious for nearly anyone to redo, and thus will be reserved for channels that cater to such audiences in it’s present form.
Frosty the Snowman. This cannot be made again. Apparently, we can’t handle a commercial where a man gives his wife an exercise bike for Christmas. **SPOILER ALERT** The snowman DIES at the end, nobody can handle that anymore.
Babka being a type of (((pastry))) that I have not tried but is available at a deli I frequently purchase bagels, might suggest this bear a Kosher certification, but I did not find one. This beer is otherwise fantastic. It is 10% ABV and pours like chocolate syrup…because it more or less is. They put down making a beer float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as a serving suggestion. Quite frankly they do something like Samuel Smith’s Double Chocolate Stout, and went over the top with it, and priced it for the average Trader Joe’s shopper ($5). Which, isn’t all that bad. Campanology Brewing Chocolate Babka Stout 4.0/5