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Soundtracking: Hustlers

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Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
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Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
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Christmas Classics: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Team Experience has been sharing their favorite Christmas flicks. Here's new contributor Jorge on a Burton special...

Edward Scissorhands, at first sight, not the most Christmassy movie. It is not an iteration of a Charles Dickens’ novella, there are no Santa Clauses, and no one is chasing anyone through a snowed-in airport. Falling snow is a big motif throughout, but only the last third takes places during that time of year.

But it beautifully captures the sentiment of Christmas in the most important sense... 

The film, more than 25 years after its release, feels like comfort food. Like coming back home for the holidays after a long and tough year (say, 2016). I like my Christmas movies to make me feel warm and fuzzy and safe inside, like a whole year isn’t about to end, or another one about to start. I want them to be nostalgic and yet still fresh upon new viewings. They’re ideally a balance of old and new, just like the holidays themselves.

Edward hits this spot in a delightful way. You can still feel the freshness and originality that it oozed when it was released in 1990, but enough time has passed that those once-new elements have now become recognizable, familiar tropes (which have, ironically, been since overused by the same people).

Twenty-six years into the future, we’ve seen everyone involved repeat what they did in this film, with varying degrees of success. Johnny Depp has played the social outcast more times than I can count, Winona Ryder rode the ingénue wave for a couple of more years, and Tim Burton constantly recreates his aesthetics and themes to the point of self-parody. But back then, it was all uncharted territory. Now, it’s a welcome trip to the past, to the heyday of each of them.

The holiday appeal of Edward also lies on the safety and universality of its themes. It’s a textbook feel-good movie. Who hasn’t related to someone that doesn’t fit in? For today’s standards, its not-subtle metaphor of the outcast is comfortable and accessible. Its pastel colors are charming. Winona is young and full of life. Dianne Wiest is the mom you wish you had, baking cookies for you.

I can come back to it time and time again, and I will still be moved by Kim dancing under a falling snow angel. If that’s not Christmas, I don’t know what is.

Previous Christmas Classics
Tim Brayton on How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Lynn Lee on Little Women 


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Reader Comments (3)

The ice dance scene is one of the most beautiful cinemagic scenes of all times.
Whatever happened to Johnny.... but I will always love him and Tim Burton for this wonderful movie. Always.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

And the [25-year-old spoilers?] reveal at the end that it was grandma Winona describing where the snow comes from. Heartbreaking. I don't know if we were supposed to know that from the beginning, but it cuts right through you at the end.

Danny Elfman's score makes the movie.

December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

Amazing movie! It`s so different from others, the film has an amazing energy and makes me cry every time I watch it!

December 11, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMerhdope

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