Sunday, December 22, 2013

What's wrong with Elf?

I'm actually going to start off with a few slightly more festive photos before broaching the highly controversial topic of "What's wrong with Elf."

First, I did manage to make a couple of snowmen in the front yard.  FWIW, this was some of the best packing snow I've ever seen.  It's anyone's guess if it will rain over night and wash them away.  The one on the left is the little sister of the one on the right.

Then I happened to see both of the TransLink holiday buses decked out in their gear, so I snapped a photo of that.

Finally, my son made some kind of a gingerbread house with plenty of marshmallows and gummy bear trimmings as part of an after-school cooking class.

This super-sweet concoction looks just like something that Buddy the Elf would expect to see in his lunchbox every day, which is my segue into Elf the movie.

While there are definitely many charming aspects to the 2004 movie Elf, there are some things I really don't care for about it.  No matter how cute the duet scene is with Zooey Deschanel, it still starts out in creepy, stalker territory, and it's hard for me to feel good about a movie where the main character is rewarded for this kind of behavior.

I understand that Buddy is portrayed as some kind of weird hybrid between an adult and a child, and you don't really know if he is developmentally challenged or not.  But I find it really disheartening how he really fails to make an effort to adjust and insists on putting his spin on reality rather than learning from those around him who have a better understanding of New York.  I mean he refuses to cut it out after being warned 4 or 5 times about calling Peter Dinklage an elf.  I really found myself upset over that and actually started to check out of the movie around that point.  I really don't find it cute.  He totally ruins his father's career (of course there is a happy fairy tale ending, but why would we expect that to turn out that way under normal circumstances) because he is a selfish, immature person who refuses to listen to his elders.

More upsetting to me is when the younger son says something to James Caan about how all he cares about is work and he doesn't care about the family.  I find myself taking the side of the workaholic dads who are sometimes too gruff and grumpy around the holidays.  What Caan should say is something like I care about keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table.  Of course, he discovers the importance of the holiday spirit and that's all well and good, but I really don't appreciate the idea that people who are serious about their work should be shamed into catering to every whim of their feckless offspring.  Somehow they are the ones with the completely off-kilter values.  Like everything there is a proper balance between work and family, but the makers of Elf put their thumb so much on the scale the other way (work should be relegated to a place far behind family) that I find myself quite impatient with the film in these sections.

Anyway, whether you secretly agree with me or not about the merits of Elf, enjoy the holidays.  And with that, it is time for me to get back to work...

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