Whenever we're in the mood to just kick back and enjoy the classic holiday cinematic fare, we still like to make it extra special. We've got all sorts of different events and activities we do at the theater to add some flare to the standards, but here are two of my favorites that work great in the theater but can also be a lot of fun when you're watching a movie in your house.
1. The 'Elf' Quote-Along
Yeah, so when I said "classics" I wasn't really going all that far back. But Will Ferrell's turn as Buddy the Elf in this Jon Favreau film from 2003 is the sort of instant classic that your grand kids are going to be watching repeatedly in their hologram snowglobe handheld device of the future. It's also a film that's filled to the brim with quotable lines, and while we're usually incredibly strict about not letting people talk during the movie, for our Quote-Along series we actually encourage it on key lines of dialog.
We limit the lines that you can quote to in the theater at our shows, but in your own home? Go crazy! The best thing to do is get a big group of friends over, pile all over the couch, and then set yourselves up with some extra props and goodies to bring the film to life. Key ingredients you'll need include:
Coffee - On his first date with Jovie, Buddy takes her to a diner to enjoy the World's Best Cup of Coffee. Make your own World's Best Coffee by following the tradition of the Irish - add some Jameson to it! This will help loosen everyone up for the quoting.
Bubbles - When Buddy walks in on Jovie in the shower, we like to have everyone in the theater blow bubbles so the soapy suds from inside the shower come out into the room with the rest of us. It's hard to sing-along to Baby It's Cold Outside and blow bubbles at the same time, but if you're taking turns and only singing one gender's part at a time, you can sing and then blow and then sing and then blow and then you get light headed, the room is full of bubbles, and there's all sorts of holiday cheer in your brain.
White Balloons - We're lucky at the Alamo Drafthouse - we've got a snow machine installed on the balconies so whenever it's cold outside in the movie we can snow down on the audience. If you don't have a snow machine in your living room, I recommend purchasing one as soon as possible. In lieu of that, white balloons can not only help create a festive atmosphere, but they're the perfect prop for when Buddy and Michael get into a snowball fight with the group of bullies. As they throw their snowballs at each other, pick up the balloons and start nailing everyone else in the room. Just try not to knock the TV over.
And then, of course, quote-along to every line you know. For bonus points, quote-along in the voice and excitement level of the person saying the quotes. No matter how exhausted you are from your holiday shopping and whatnot, you'll instantly cheer up as soon as you yell out, "I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite!"
2. Have an Xmas Pop Music Video Party
There are more standard classics than just the movies and TV specials, and thanks to YouTube you can compile your own playlist of some of the best holiday music videos and sing and dance all over your apartment. Some of my favorites that I include in the Xmas Pops Sing-A-Long at the Alamo Drafthouse every year:
'Last Christmas' - only the Wham! version. Not only is it the best version of the song, but pay attention to the "plot" in the video. Apparently last year George Michael and his girlfriend went to this cabin in the woods with this big group of friends to go skiing on Christmas. According to the lyrics in the song, it was "the very next day" that that girlfriend broke up with him. Ouch, right? Getting your heart broken the day after Christmas?
But it gets better - with the video there to show us more, we can see that now she's dating Andrew Ridgeley (the other guy in Wham!, and presumably the best friend of the straight guy character George is playing in the video). So the day after Christmas last year, George's girlfriend dumps him then starts sleeping with his best friend. And what does George decide to do this year, on the anniversary of that pain? HE GOES BACK TO THE SAME CABIN WITH THE SAME GROUP OF FRIENDS. Then he stares creepily at his ex and seems to ignore the date he brought with him...
That's what Christmas means to me.
'Jingle Bells' - the Olsen Twins version. When you're ready for your guests to leave, turn on this little ditty from the days when Mary Kate and Ashely were just a couple of brats on home video. To get their kiddie audience of the time pumped up, their producer (dad?) has added a techno beat behind every kid's favorite Christmas carol. Not only do you get to see the Olsen's singing a little disco "ooy oop!" but in the middle of the song they add a random rap about throwing tinsel on each other and creating a human Christmas tree. What's not to love?
'Dick In A Box' - Yes, this hit single from SNL went viral a few years ago, and you probably listened to it way too much when it first came out. But just as 'I'm On A Boat' will forever haunt the dreams of anyone who works on a boat that gets rented out for strangers, 'Dick In A Box' should be a holiday classic that returns year after year.
Once you've refreshed your memory and watched the video for this awesome holiday song, consider taking your party to the streets. Print out lyric books for all of these new classics and go a capella caroling through your neighborhood. Open up with a standard like Feliz Navidad (that version of Charo singing it to Pee Wee is the best thing that's ever happened), then before your neighbors close their door with a warm smile on their face, hit them up with your version of Christmas In Hollis. Or Dick In A Box.
And remember, it's Christmas. I don't want to fight tonight: