The pre-Christmas Day season of Advent is upon us. Here at SeedSing we love the chocolaty goodness of getting a piece of candy once a day until we get to open our presents. As our gift to you we will present a great movie associated with the holiday season. Many will be awesome, some will be extra awesome. Enjoy.
Day 23: “Trading Places”
At this most joyous, and odious, of celebrations let’s celebrate those we look down upon. If we are in the gutter, those in the high rises who manipulate the economy for their gain are the ones that need to hear our grievances. If we are in the top tax bracket, those at the bottom are no match for the hired help we can procure and best our economic enemies in the feet of strengths. But what if this Festivus means something a little bit more? What if this Festivus, the rich and the poor trade places? Would we learn anything and come together as one humanity on this planet we call Earth?
In June of 1983, the John Landis directed comedy “Trading Places” hit theaters. The movie was a smash hit. Dan Aykroyd was far removed from his days on Saturday Night Live and was already considered a top movie star in the comedy genre. Eddie Murphy was still new to the movie game, but was a breakout star from the beginning, and “Trading Places” solidified Murphy’s superstardom. With Jamie Lee Curtis, Denholm Elliot, Don Ameche, and Ralph Bellemy, “Trading Places” was a film that could not fail. Critics and audiences of 1983 loved it, and thirty-five years later it is one of the most quotable, and beloved movies of the last two generations.
The plot of “Trading Places” shares a lot with the ideas of Festivus, a fake holiday made popular over a decade later. The dehumanizing nature of wealth and materialism, “Trading Places” has it. The whole movie is a big airing of grievances on the ideas of wealth and poverty. With all the slapstick in the back half of “Trading Places”, the feats of strength is more than covered. The aluminum pole may be missing, but we do get a dirty, drug out, gun toting Santa Clause. All seems fairly in line with the spirit of Festivus.
We are lucky to have the tradition, and angst, of Festivus to break up the joy, and stress, of the holiday season. Many of us may see Festivus as a recent gift to the Christmastime canon, but movies like “Trading Places” show us that Hollywood has embraced the philosophy of Frank Costanza. Take this December 23rd off from the same old movies we watch every weekend before Christmas. We do not need the false lesson of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life”, we need the cynicism, scheming, and R rated shenanigans of movies like “Trading Places. It is a film after all that is made for the rest of us.
RD is the Head Editor for SeedSing. After you watch “Trading Places”, go back and remember that we got the holiday of Festivus all because of a bagel shop strike.
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