A Jewish friend of mine recently pointed out via Facebook post something I found very interesting: "There are no 'Holiday Movies.' There are only explicitly Christmas movies, implicitly Christmas Movies, & 8 Crazy Nights."
Her point was well taken. We all know that Christmas movies envelop the holiday movie section like a fire in an elevator shaft. Case in point:
But even with that knowledge, I still assumed her statement would be a bit of hyperbole. I mean, there are almost a dozen movies alone about cars that drive fast and furiously and that's not even a major religion. (Yet.) Surely, there are Hanukkah movies other than 8 Crazy Nights.
So I got to thinking. There's An American Tail -- that's a Hanukkah movie. And then ... then ... I didn't know. I completely drew a blank. It was kind of surprising because, as a Jewish person myself, I would have thought I'd be able to come up with more than two Hanukkah films, especially two like 8 Crazy Nights and An American Tail, which are now both old enough that they could have gotten married and birthed a third Hanukkah film baby.
I'm not saying it's a big deal. Christmas is seemingly like the Super Bowl to American Christians, whereas to American Jews, Hanukkah is really only meant to be like a Thursday night game between the Jets and the Bills that you're streaming off of a laptop. It's supposed to be a tertiary holiday for us, but it was still shocking to realize that, holy shit, "are there really only two mainstream movies about Hanukkah?"
So then I got to Googling, and the results were still disappointing. You can add Full Court Miracle to the list if you count Disney Channel Original movies (I really don't want to). We also get Little Fockers, the third film in the Meet The Parent's franchise. (Not a big win.) There's also The Hebrew Hammer. (Not great. Definitely exploitative. But I'll take it.) There are a few others, and they all have varying degrees of Hanukkah in them, but I'd also argue that they aren't really about Hanukkah so much as they are about Hanukkah in relation to Christmas.
Then there are the not-actually-Hanukkah-films-that-have-become-adopted-into-being-Hanukkah-films-because-shit-dude-we-really-need-some-more-Hanukkah-films. It's kind of like how Die Hard was never really thought of as a Christmas movie until we all collectively decided that it was. These include Call Me By Your Name and Black Swan and, you know what, we'll take these too. Sure, "a festival of lights" isn't exactly what you're thinking when this happens:
But we can't get too picky here. I'd also add The Holiday onto our list because there was a Hanukkah party and maybe this episode from Rugrats because screw it, if a team is down by 50 points in the fourth quarter, then is it really worth it to throw the flag anymore?
And thus, our grand tally gets into the double digits with a little bit of finessing. It's a Hanukkah miracle, but it shouldn't have to be. We can all name about a dozen Christmas movies off the top of our heads, and those are just the A Christmas Carol adaptations. You'd think we could give anyone celebrating Hanukkah a few more options better than "here are two animated films from nearly 20 years ago, oh, and you can also cozy up in front of the fireplace with your family to watch Black Swan." So, with that in mind, here's a sentence I thought I would never say: Please, Adam Sandler, if you're listening, we need you to make more (Hanukkah) movies right now.
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Top Image: Happy Madison Productions, Universal Pictures