Thursday, December 25, 2003

Must Be Beautiful In Vermont This Time Of Year, All That Snow

I can pretty much recite the script for White Christmas verbatim, but the baby Jesus simply cannot come into this world until I've watched this while baking cookies, writing out cards, or simply basking in the glory that is Bing.

The sets are bad (exactly the same cloud hovers over the ski lodge in all outdoor scenes) and the storyline is worse (what happened to Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney's trunks and records after they escaped the nightclub? I worry about these things) but there is far too much tap dancing on overturned rowboats to treat White Christmas with anything but love, love, love. Who's not proud to be an American when Rosemary and Vera break out the bigass blue fans? (Rosemary is my homegirl, BTW. A native of Maysville, KY, I regret that she lived to see her nephew George develop into such a roaringly colossal dumbass. Her brother Nick, who was a local news anchor when I was sent to bed early so I could get up for grade school the next morning, is now running for Congress, and I further regret to inform you that the useful idiot doesn't fall far from the tree.)

White Christmas has cemented itself in my heart if only for gifting this good Earth with the World's Most Inappropriately Placed Number In a Christmas Musical, which comes in the form of Vera-Ellen tap dancing to "Abraham"-- a song about Lincoln-- in a canary yellow dress. I suppose this is a not-so-sly nod to the also magnificently mockable Holiday Inn, in which the song debuted, along with "White Christmas" itself, but still: Merry President's Day! Silver and gold and the Copacabana to you!

Frightening That I Know This Trivia: The "Vermont" line, which must automatically be recited by me or a family member whenever the state is mentioned and which made life very annoying for the two years I attended grad school in Vermont, is spoken by each major cast member but Rosemary Clooney.

Other Things We Dig About White Christmas :

-The singing of "Snow" on the train to Pine Tree, which is marked by these four wacky kids creating a mountain tableu out of a napkin and a crunched-up green.... something. Man, is that drunken four AM finals week behavior or what. "I'll wash my hair with snow!" sings Vera-Ellen's voice double. Irving Berlin, you magnificent bastard. (Frightening That I Know This Trivia, Part II: When Vera-Ellen shows Bing the picture of her brother Benny, the face that we see is Berlin's. Also, Vera? With the hyphenating? Don't do that.)

-Bing telling Rosemary to pick up a carafe of milk by telling her to "bring the cow." Because he is Bing, and he can get away with that.

-"We'll Follow the Old Man Wherever He Wants To Go": Oh! An unresolved question, though: When the soldiers are singing "As long as he stays away from the battle's fray", what's that about? They don't want to go into battle? What kind of crappy soldiers are these?

-Rosemary singing "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me" with the Gay Community Dancers, who, in black turtlenecks, tights, and absolutely no expression wander into the shot, gesture resignedly, then leave. Merry Christmas. This part gets watched in fast-forward motion. (Also, what is that silver thing riding around on the seat of Rosemary's dress? It looks like she sat in a pie plate sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.)

-The opening of the ski-lodge doors at the finale to reveal-- snow! Wasn't it cold in there? Also, what was up with the horse-drawn sleigh skidding through the shot? Wasn't there all of, like, .00000001 inches at that point? And suddenly the roads are impassable for cars (all of which bear California license plates, btw?) Ahhhhhhhhh, it is fortunate indeed that I am easily soothed by the gloriously un PC "Mandy" number. That white outfit Vera-Ellen is wearing? Is cool. I need one of those things, complete with detachable white tulle.

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