On Thanksgiving Day this year, I sat with my girlfriend's lovely family eating turkey and watching Home Alone, and it occurred to me that in the hustle and bustle of reviewing new movies, I seldom take the time to go back and revisit the holiday movies that I remember from my childhood. Even among the titles I've viewed for this "Shelf Life" series, few of them were seminal kids movies, whether they were from my own childhood, or from those of previous or subsequent generations, and none of them have been traditional holiday or holiday-themed films.
Home Alone was a film I saw at a formative time in my young life – I was 14 or so – but National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was probably more important to me, since it balanced gingerly on the line between family entertainment and more grown-up fare. In hindsight, it's probably more oriented for teenagers and kids than anyone, even with (or maybe because of) its abundance of potty humor, but it seemed like 20 years was about the right amount of time to take between viewings. Which is why Christmas Vacation is this week's "Shelf Life" subject. (Well, that and Warner Home Video recently released a deluxe box set including one of those moose-shaped eggnog glasses.)