Isn't it strange that around Christmas time - Jesus' Birthday! - more focus seems to be put on Santa Claus and his naughty/nice list than on Jesus and his heaven/hell list?
Held hostage and forced to watch a landslide of holiday-themed dreck this December, the overlap between Jesus and Santa Claus has never been more apparent to me, and it's kind of strange. All that we need for Santa to take over as Supreme God of All Creation is for Mel Gibson to film a scathing, first-person, brutally realistic account of Santa's torturous annual Christmas Eve marathon across the world.
Filmed entirely in Elvish and complete with graphic depictions of St. Nick's painful slides into burning fireplaces, intense soul-searching bouts with self-doubt and envy (the Easter Bunny only carries eggs!), and an eye-opening reinterpretation of Santa's attitude towards his mission, such a film would immediately hop to 2nd place on my Top Five Holiday Movies list.
That's another thing about this time of year: the endless lists. Santa's naughty or nice list. King Herod's highly practical Census list. Jesus's book of the damned list. David Letterman's nightly lists. The end of semester Dean's List. And the aforementioned Mike's Top Five Holiday Movies List:
1. Die Hard
2. Mel Gibson's Santa Claus
3. It's a Wonderful Life
4. Bad Santa
5. A Christmas Story
Then, of course, there's the incredible number of top ten lists that are published in nearly every newspaper and magazine and website around: top ten movies of the year, top ten TV shows, top ten albums, top ten books. ESPN even comes out with its top ten games and its top ten plays and its top ten stories about T.O. over the past ten days...
And if we're lucky enough to be at the end of a decade or a century, we get even MORE top tens and top 100s and best ofs and most influentials.
Top Five Lists List:
1. That awesome list of Chuck Norris' accomplishments
2. This list
3. iPod playlists
4. McSweeney's hilarious lists, like this one. And this one.
5. Schindler's List
This time of year, the lists never stop. And you know what? I'm not gonna complain. I love to read them.
Not only is it fun to see how my own opinions match up with the critic from Knight Ridder and whatever hack Stuff/Blender/Maxim employs, I also use the lists as shopping guides, particularly for music.
Back in 2000, while browsing The Onion's unexpectedly dead serious AV Club, I landed on their extensive "top ten albums" page. They had lists from every contributing writer, and no two writers had the same opinion. It was with those lists that I first read about, and subsequently heard (with Napster's help), a whole handful of new music, some of which grew to become personal faves.
Top Five Favorite Albums of (or Discovered By Me) The Decade List:
1. Every album by Spoon
2. Meadowlands, The Wrens
3. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel
4. TIE - College Dropout, Kanye West/The Black Album, Jay-Z
5. TIE - Is This It, The Strokes/White Blood Cells, The White Stripes
I also enjoy getting "Entertainment Weekly"'s year-end issue, which includes top ten everythings, even though I respect Lisa Schwarzbaum's opinion about as much as I respect L. Ron Hubbard's.
Top 5 People Whose Opinions I Least Respect List:
1. L. Ron Hubbard
2. Lisa Schwarzbaum
3. Mel Gibson
4. Mel Gibson's Dad
5. TIE - Matt Lauer/Larry King/Anyone who thinks Crash is a great movie
But validation is a valuable thing, even if it comes from someone I hate. At the same time, sometimes sharing an opinion with someone I don't respect can actually make me reevaluate that opinion.
Top 5 Popular Things I Currently Don't/At One Time Didn't Like Mostly Out of Spite List:
1. Cell Phones - past
2. Nirvana - past
3. "South Park" - past and current
4. American version of "The Office" - past
5. Tom Brady - he's still overrated
And sometimes when someone disagrees with you, that's better than anything.
Top 5 Things Losers Are Wrong About Being Good List:
2. TIE - Green Day/Napoleon Dynamite
3. The Da Vinci Code
4. The Indianapolis Colts
5. Red Bull
Top Five Things The General Public Is Wrong About Not Loving But That's Okay Because Most People Are Idiots And Their Recognition of These Things Would Cause Said Things' Stock To Drop List:
1. "The Wire"
3. "Mr. Show"
5. Intrepid Media
But it is the holiday season, a time to be humble in the face of candles and trees and...kwanzaa stuff. So, in the name of humility, here is my final list.
Top 5 Things I May Be Wrong About List:
1. "Family Guy"
4. Please. There aren't 5 things.
Well, I gave it a shot.
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
more about mike julianelle
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
12.13.06 @ 9:15a
You're dead-on about Die Hard. I'm glad to see at least you think you might be wrong about Family Guy - ridiculously hysterical. But you seemed to forget the movie "Santa Claus", with Dudley Moore as Patch the elf, that should easily be in your top 5 Christmas movies.
12.13.06 @ 9:18a
"But it is the holiday season, a time to be humble in the face of candles and trees and...kwanzaa stuff."
I love that "Die Hard" made your favorite Christmas movie list.
12.13.06 @ 9:20a
Every december Heather forces me to watch countless Christmas movies, including the cinematic abortion known as Jim Carrey's live-action Grinch. But she won't let me watch Die Hard! BOO!
12.13.06 @ 9:30a
Very entertaining. I must disagree with you, however about two things; Crash and South Park.
12.13.06 @ 9:45a
Look at it this way, at least the remaining necessity-based movie viewing this season includes "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story." Everything's coming up MJ!
12.13.06 @ 10:54a
Are you on crack,Rachel? This column was about as entertaining as an Ebola epidemic.
12.13.06 @ 11:09a
The awesome list of Mr. T's accomplishments.
The Killers' Hot Fuss just because you won't admit it.
12.13.06 @ 11:20a
When I was thinking up answers to the lists, a friend mentioned the Killers, but their crap Sam's Town took them out of the running.
I almost used Desperate Housewives on the Loser Are Wrong list. But appreciation has cooled.
Almost used Scrubs on the good list too.
Eff Tom O'Brien. Mark Whipple, baby!
12.13.06 @ 12:12p
Hey Chris, was the column as bad as Millenium?
12.13.06 @ 12:42p
Nothing could be as bad as Millennium, but your column comes a damn close second, you hack.
12.13.06 @ 12:46p
Was it as bad as Tom Brady was this weekend in Miami?
12.13.06 @ 2:24p
on the general public list, I definitely agree on 1 & 2, but how can you not like Napoleon Dynamite?
12.13.06 @ 2:27p
Ya know, I saw it in the theater, and I loved the first half an hour, and then I got really bored. I've tried to watch it several times since and just can't get through it. It's a one-joke premise and the joke gets old really fast.
12.14.06 @ 1:50a
Man, The Ref is the all time best dysfunctional holiday film. It's right up there with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and Home for the Holidays. Of course I also like Silent Night, Deadly Night.
You're not wrong about Scientology.
12.14.06 @ 9:08a
I like The Ref, but I always fetl like it was leading up to Leary going OFF on the grandmother and he never does. They should've let him rip. It's still good, but there isn't enough of a blow up on his part.
12.14.06 @ 9:14a
Listen, Julia-nobrainswhatsoever, what happened in Miami on Sunday was the exception, not the rule. When you've played on three Super Bowl championship teams and been a two-time MVP, then you can feel free to criticize Brady's QB acumen; until then, do us all a favor and shut up.
Oh, and by the way, "The Wire" is the worst TV show ever made.
12.14.06 @ 10:18a
Hey genius, pull the panties out of your crack and realize that the "overrated" comment about your boyfriend was a joke! It's on the "out of spite" list, Mr. Perceptive. Also, I never said anything about Brady's "acumen," but nice try.
Getting a bit defensive about your favorite heartthrob? I wonder what will happen if I make fun of Larry Bird next.
Also, before you start critizing Kris Kristofferson and his films, you should become a popular recording artist and member of both the Songwriter and Nashville Halls of Fame, as well as a successful actor that has starred in such classics as A Star Is Born, Semi-Tough and Big Top Pee-Wee. Until then, do us all a favor and shut up.
One more thing, how many "Vote for Pedro" shirts do you own?
12.14.06 @ 8:59p
Hey Oakley! You're in luck, Brady's back on the market!
It's a Christmas miracle! Go get him, Tiger! He's all yours!
12.22.06 @ 8:39p
Hey, Julia-knothead, if you were trying to be funny you've failed miserable.
You should be put against a wall and shot.
12.27.06 @ 4:56p
Now THAT's comedy.
1.2.07 @ 12:32p
Dude, there ain't nothin' funny about the crap you've put me through the last few weeks.