Classics or not, covid would have had something to say with these five...
“Yippee ki-yay, Mother-******”
screamed John McClane, exposing his mouth freely and with not a mask in sight.
Ah…these were simpler times
Just like that, another year has come and gone. The month of merriness has crept up on us once again, despite the fact that some of us (ahem, me) are mentally, still in April. In a world where the terms: Zoom, Pfizer and Tiger King, ranked highly in our daily vocabulary, none of us could have truly anticipated a socially distanced winter back in March. The sun now retreats to the Southern hemisphere in the afternoon, leaving us desperately longing for serotonin and affection.
One thing that we can always rely on, to shimmy ourselves into the spirit of the Holidays is of course, the Classic Christmas Movie™. We can’t deny that movies have always been the ultimate form of escapism. The outside world can’t touch you once you’re knee deep in, ‘I feel it in my fingers’, and sugar coated storylines of boundary defying love. As an eternal optimist, I’m here to tell you that love and togetherness has not been demoted to the naughty list at all!
In a year where Ms Rona has taken centre stage in everyone’s lives, I can’t help but wonder how certain Christmas movies would have weathered a Covid-19 climate. Would our protagonists still fall in love at first sight with a mask on? Would meet cutes be centered around spilled hand sanitizer? And of course, virtual speed dating would have won best supporting actor in all of these films.
Nobody asked, but without further ado, I present to you, Christmas Covid Cinema: Isodate Edition.
The Holiday (2006)
Kicking off with one of cinema’s most iconic British-American collaborations, The Holiday is the closest many of us will have to a vacation this year. This transatlantic, quasi Shakespearean exchange of houses, lovers and microbes would not have stood the test of the pandemic. Graham’s pub-going antics would have been replaced with bulk buying toilet paper for himself, his two little girls and Mr Napkin Head. Amanda’s time spent trying to understand the metric system, as she attempts to mend her broken heart with home-made banana bread.
This sleepy village in Surrey is the ideal backdrop for a snow dusted Isodate romance. How could these two blue eyed beauties and their chiseled jawlines cross paths? Whilst Graham and Amanda await their respective supermarket deliveries, they find each other on a virtual speed date. A perk of virtual dating is that their contrasting accents are not lost in their first exchange. Graham’s textbook Britishness and Amanda’s Californian playfulness shine through on their video date! A match made in Surrey – not on a dating app.
Die Hard (1988)
Yes, we’re going there. Here’s my two cents on whether a film this violent qualifies as a Christmas film. If we’re taking that stance, I ask you this. How is this plotline any less traumatic, than the one about the kid who has to take home security into his own hands? Poor Kevin is left behind by his family and misses out on a holiday in Paris (bet he was super pumped for Euro Disney too). Nothing says ‘Christmas cheer’ than a minor fending for himself against two ruthless crooks. Spoiler alert, both protagonists are reunited with their families at the end. Both of these films take place during the festive period. Good prevails. I rest my case.
Anyway, back to Die Hard: Covid-19 Edition. Firstly, working from home would have saved John McClane and his estranged wife, Holly, a lot of effort. Hans Gruber would have seized an empty office block, with no civilians in sight. Did someone say Zoom Christmas party? Organised fun just saved your life for once. For John, an Isodate from an office building, would have worked so well with their super speedy Wi-Fi. Jumping on a call from a sweaty air conditioning vent on the other hand, doesn’t exactly scream, ‘I love what you’ve done with the place’. However, it fully demonstrates that you’re a man of action. Photos on a dating profile just don’t do justice to how ‘sporty’ you really are. Having a real time conversation, whilst you’re taking down a fresh faced Alan Rickman with no shoes on, does.
Love Actually (2003)
I admit it. I needed Alan Rickman for my seamless transition into our next reimagined Christmas film. His portrayal of the unfaithful husband, Harry, to his wife, Karen, is one that hits hard every December. My heart aches for the way she composes herself when his betrayal comes to light on Christmas Day. Karen realising that the diamond necklace Harry purchased, was never destined for her, is the reason we all have trust issues. Before I start crying again, this is not the storyline I’m delving into today. I’m putting the Covid spin on the storyline that involved a baby faced Keira Knightly and a love triangle that leaves us yelling at our screens.
Firstly, lockdown would have halted all wedding plans between Juliet and Peter. This leaves best man and best mate, Mark with almost too much time on his hands to think about his feelings for Juliet. Well, the one thing going for Mark is that he was always ahead of his time. His famous little cue card routine could have been carried out at a safe 6ft distance and still have been effective. But let’s be real here. Juliet and cue card Mark were never meant to be. That doesn’t go to say that love isn’t out there for him. In order to distract from his existential crisis, that his best friend is marrying the love of his life…he can have a crack at virtual speed dating. To Isodate, he is perfect.
Honourable mention: Home Alone (1990)
Covid is rampant. France is in lockdown; and travel is limited. The McCallister’s take a rain check on their travel plans, and Kevin stays safe (hopefully avoiding from the obvious emotional and mental scarring left by this film).
Did Covid just become the hero? Erm…
It’s been 9 months of social distancing and keeping ourselves as sanitised as humanly possible. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose heart rate spikes every time they see a fictional, mask-less crowd scene in a movie. I hope that these reimagining’s bring some joy to your holiday season.