My second favorite time of the year is upon us once again, and so is my annual Christmas memory piece. Instead of talking about a specific childhood memory this year, I decided to talk about a few of my favorite things that were born from this joyous holiday. So pour a little brandy in your eggnog and relax next to a cozy fire while you learn a little more about a Moan4Stallone Christmas.
Carl’s Jr Ornaments
This plush ornament featuring Carl’s, Jr’s iconic mascot was my favorite thing about Christmas while growing up — I would force my mom to take me to our local Carl’s once a week so I could get the new one. Next to Burger King’s Simpsons dolls, these ornaments go down as my favorite thing to come out of fast food restaurants (not to mention Type 2 diabetes). I have the entire set, consisting of an angel (pictured), drummer, reindeer, scarf, caroler, and classic yellow mascot with a Santa hat.
Married with Children
I still remember the dirty look my grandmother gave my dad when she found out he let me and my younger brother watch what was considered a racy prime time network show. Sure, Community and South Park have raised the bar for what one expects from a televised Christmas episode, but Married with Children’s “It’s a Bundyful Life” was a revelation for my seven-year-old self. It’s A Wonderful Life retold through the eyes of a middle-aged shoe salesman, featuring Sam “Ohhh Ohh” Kinison — it’s so good! When Al realizes his family would actually be better off without him, he decides that’s not fair and they need to be miserable with him. It’s still one the funniest things in a holiday-themed television show.
No relation to Marilyn. This somewhat famous singer from the 40s is best known (or best forgotten) as the singer of “Let It Snow,” as featured at the end of the Die Hard. No, that wasn’t Frank Sinatra. So whenever I hear it, I think of
Carl Winslow Al Powell skinning his smoke wagon one last time to save John McClane. What other song has this kind of street cred? That’s why it’s always the first and last song on my Christmas playlists.
Licensed Video Games
Back in the day, just about every major motion picture had a video game equivalent, from Super Cocoon to Benny and Joon (OK, maybe not those two). For me, Christmas meant finally getting a new game, and it was usually a licensed one. And it was almost always a Sly-inspired pick, from Rambo 3 for the Genesis to Demolition Man for the SNES. One year I got True Lies, and while it was a great game, I got it around the time I started digging into the previously mentioned Die Hard franchise. So me and my younger brother would play it and pretend it was a Die Hard game itself. That’s what the holidays are really about: getting together with your family and pretending you’re playing a game about a New York cop fighting off a West German Volksfrei terrorist group.
This is probably the single most forgotten holiday film, and possibly the most underrated 80s action movie of all time. Produced during the height of the Cannon Group, Invasion USA is, in my opinion, Chuck Norris’s finest film. Only in the 80s would a 30-something CIA agent retire to an alligator farm while wearing dual uzis as fashion accessories. Then a group of terrorists led by a poor man’s Rutger Hauer named Rostov somehow invades America and reeks havoc on local neighborhoods. This has every single action movie cliche and then some: guns that never need reloading, terrorists who somehow miss while shooting at point blank range, and awesome one-liners like “Time to die!” I saw this for the first time in my early teen years, and I finally understood how awesome denim jeans and chest hair were — I continue to rock both well into my mid-thirties!
Well, that’s it for now. I have to go watch Rhinestone on HD-DVD. So until next year, merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my fellow Laser Timers. Leave your holiday memories in the comments below, and hit me up on Twitter to talk about Chuck Norris and bad hamburgers.