Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday movies with holiday song titles

Continuing the theme of holiday songs and their power, this week I thought I would write about one specific way these songs impact society: the movie industry. 

Often, people try and capitalize on the power of popular songs, even if the meanings those people want conveyed are completely different than the song's original meaning. The classic example is politicians using Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA" for their own promotion, even when the song is really an ironic and negative commentary about the negative effects of the Vietnam War.

Hollywood tries to capitalize on Christmas songs by stealing their well-known lyrics for holiday movies (mostly bad). What better way to label a shameless marketing ploy? For example:

This year, we've got an addition to this list, this time in the Christmas Horror genre: Silent Night. (Note: it's supposedly a loose remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)). Aren't you excited? No?

In that light, I've got some suggestions for bad holiday movies with titles drawn from holiday songs:

  • "A hippo hero standing there" (The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle special.)
  • "The other kiddies" (A story about those evil bullies down the street who ruin the Christmas spirit for everyone.)
  • "Io, io, io" (Christmas for aliens on Jupiter's highly volcanic moon? What does this mean, anyway? For that matter, what does any of "Ding Dong, Merrily" mean?)
  • "Don we now our gay apparel" (The What Not to Wear Christmas special.)
  • "Sing a [slaying] song" (in the Horror Christmas genre)
  • "Hurry down the chimney" (Do you think this was a possible title for the Santa Clause 2?)
  • "Gone away is the blue bird" (The Rachel Carson Christmas story. )
  • "If the Fates allow" (The fantasy Christmas special. It is this line's Destiny.)
  • "Everybody knows a turkey" (Don't you?)
  • "He sees you when you're sleeping" (What they should have called this year's Silent Night.)
What is the take-away from this? Well, music can give words extra power and meaning by association, but that extra power and meaning may not always be constant. In other words, added music makes makes words perhaps more multivalent (or open to many interpretations) than words alone. Especially when those words are taken out of context.

Vocab: multivalent

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