Welcome to the seventh installment of our Nerds Gets Cheery series! During the month of December, we will be recommending some of our holiday favorites to help spread the spirit of the holiday season. And nothing spreads Christmas cheer more than the movie Elf.
Elf was an instant classic for me when it was first released back in 2003. Will Ferrell brings a heartwarming and humorous take on what the holiday spirit truly means. Furthermore, it is fun for the entire family. Folks of any age can find delight in this sweet holiday tale.
The quirkiness of being “out of place” is what truly brings the element of humor to the movie. As a baby, Buddy (Ferrell) found his way into Santa’s bag on Christmas night in an orphanage. The majority of his life was then spent on the North Pole as an elf — a very giant elf, that is. Knowing he does not fit in, Buddy travels to New York in search of his father (James Caan). It, as you can imagine, does not go as planned.
His half-brother gets a kick out of his eccentricities, and they bond over things like burping very loud. “Did you hear that?” His stepmother is very sweet to him and makes sure Buddy is well taken care of. His father, though, is hesitant. You see, he is the only one who does not seem to have the Christmas spirit, and that in turn affects how he spends time with his family.
Beyond epic Etch-A-Sketches, massive decorating, and pouring maple syrup over everything (including spaghetti, yuck!), Buddy meets a department store elf played by Zooey Deschanel. Buddy is smitten with her singing, even if she is a bit shy about it. As buddy says, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” The pair end up spending more and more time together, teaching each other along the way.
There are quite a few memorable moments, but one of my favorites is when Buddy discovers department store Santas. With news that Santa is arriving, Buddy is of course excited to see him. After screaming like a kid getting a pony on Christmas morning, he says to his new boss, “I know him, I know him!” When Santa arrives, Buddy joins the kids in jumping up and down, but the excitement does not last.
Buddy right away can tell the man in the Santa suit is not the real Santa. Buddy tries to trick him by asking him what song he sang on his birthday last year. Obvious answer, “Happy Birthday.” He whispers his anger to the department store Santa, including the memorable line, “You sit on a throne of lies.” It goes further downhill as Buddy de-beards him, resulting in “Santa” tackling him while all the kids scream. It is a complete disaster, but utterly hilarious!
What I truly love is the message, though. Singing may spread the Christmas cheer, but it is really about being around your loved ones and making time for those you care about. Family and friends help make the season bright, and help ease all the stress of the holidays. The laughter, the singing, the storytelling… it all helps keep the magic alive beyond our childhood years believing.
So, grab some hot chocolate, turn the Christmas lights on, snuggle in with your loved ones and hit play on Elf. I promise it will bring you as much joy as it brings me!