Longtime pal of mine and great critic/pop culture pundit Curt Holman introduces me to many fascinating creative folks through his writing–and he has for years. And every once in awhile he literally introduces me to talented people. The latter is the case with this week’s interview subject: Alonso Duralde, the author of Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas. Duralde and Holman are old friends–and while he and I have exchanged pop culture email exchanges in the past, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to discuss Duralde’s pop culture work with him. His latest book (published by Limelight) aims to be “the first film guide written specifically for holiday film viewing, including traditional classics alongside more unusual choices of films that are set at Yuletide without being thought of as ‘Christmas movies.’ The guide will spotlight Christmas-themed adult comedies, dramas, action thrillers, foreign films, and horror films—even a documentary—as well as movies for the whole family.” My thanks to Duralde for the interview (and Jamie Scot for his assistance in making this interview happen [as well as my pal Holman]). As a longtime Frank Capra fan (my late father had me watch It’s A Wonderful Life when I was seven), it’s an early Christmas present for me to encounter a critic who appreciates Capra as much as I do. After reading this interview, be sure to check out this preview of the book.
Tim O’Shea: In considering these holiday films are there certain ones you grew to see in a different light, be it more positive or negative?
Alonso Duralde: I was really surprised how politically progressive and bold the two Frank Capra films are. Both “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Meet John Doe” have things to say about corporate greed (and control of the media) and the disparity between rich and poor that are amazingly relevant to 2010 audiences. Capra gets a bad rap for being corny and sentimental, but I think he was making very incisive movies about what was going on in Depression-era America, and his messages remain very timely.