The mall music alone is enough to drive you insane during this time of year. Then there are those god-awful Christmas movies running 24-7 on TV: It's a Wonderful Life; White Christmas; A Christmas Carol; A Muppet Christmas Carol; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; and Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. It could all make a football fan of you during December.
Fortunately, there are many DVD holiday alternatives to preserve recipients' mental health during this seasonal marathon. So whether shopping for yourself or similarly afflicted family and friends, consider the titles below to insulate yourself against glad tidings, good cheer, and that jerk Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
HALLOWEEN Let Michael Myers sort out who's been naughty and who's been nice this holiday season. Who better to supplant the jolly figure of Santa than a knife-wielding psycho? John Carpenter's original and hugely influential 1978 slasher flick is just the right present for those overdosing on Yuletide saccharine.
ST. PATRICK'S DAY The March celebration always puts us in mind of diminutive brogue-spouting killers obsessed with protecting their pots o' gold. Even better, as portrayed by tiny Warwick Davis (currently in that damn Harry Potter movie), Leprechaun's rhyming little monster pursues a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston—without Brad anywhere in sight to save her. As our hero merrily declares, "Try as they will and try as they might, who steals me gold won't live through the night."
GROUNDHOG DAY The very funny 1993 Bill Murray comedy is guaranteed to drive away December's holiday bromides with its hero's self-absorbed peevishness. Ever sarcastic, Murray seeks to escape an eternal Feb. 2 by offing himself and engaging in ever-more louche behavior. Seeking a phone, he demands, "Don't you have a line for celebrities? Perhaps a special line for emergencies? I am both—I'm a celebrity in an emergency!"
PRESIDENTS' DAY We recommend the 1999 Dick for Dan Hedaya's sterling, shifty-eyed embodiment of Richard Nixon (plus Kirsten Dunst's wonderful teenage fan). Now's the time to celebrate wiretapping, dirty tricks, and Deep Throat (as if they ever go out of season).
COLUMBUS DAY Not one but two lame biopics from 1992 await on your video store shelves: Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, with Tom Selleck and Marlon Brando; and 1492: Conquest of Paradise, with G鲡rd Depardieu doing enough bad acting to sub for both Selleck and Brando.
MEMORIAL DAY How better to honor the Greatest Generation than by giving Steven Spielberg's, um, other World War II movie, 1941. The 1979 farce hardly aspires to Saving Private Ryan-style gravitas, but it's got John Belushi strafing the peaceful streets of Los Angeles—how much funnier could that be? Better still, the expanded DVD features extra footage and lots of interviews (with Belushi's voice sadly absent).
ST. VALENTINE'S DAY What's the holiday hook to Billy Wilder's 1959 classic Some Like It Hot? The St. Valentine's Day massacre in 1929 Chicago witnessed by cowardly musicians Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, stupid! Thereafter, our heroes don gay apparel and high- tail it down to Miami Beach with Marilyn Monroe. With cross-dressing, abundant double entendres, and a general air of polymorphous perversity, Hot is sure to adjust your holiday thermostat several welcome degrees upward.
THANKSGIVING OK, Jodie Foster's dismal 1995 comedy Home for the Holidays is a turkey, but it's one of those trashy-but-enjoyable turkeys that's worth savoring for just that reason. Pour yourself a drink, pop it in the DVD player, and ponder how such sane, talented performers as Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning were hoodwinked by Foster to appear in the project. Remember, this is a movie that contains both Steve Guttenberg and Geraldine Chaplin—one of those when-matter-meets-antimatter pair-ings that could cause your television set to explode.
1492: CONQUEST OF PARADISE is available for rental only.
DVD's available for purchase at Videophile (1028 N.E. 65th, 522-3035): DICK, $24.98; GROUND- HOG DAY, $19.98; HALLOWEEN (special edition, expanded version), $24.98; HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, $19.98; LEPRECHAUN, five DVD set (four sequels include Leprechaun in the Hood), $49.98; SOME LIKE IT HOT, special edition, $24.98.
DVD's available for purchase from Amazon.com include all of the above, plus 1941, collector's edition, $31.48. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS: THE DISCOVERY is available on VHS for $15.99.