Film Festival: Contemporary Christmas
Elf (2003) follows the journey of a man searching for his birth father. The young man is Buddy (Will Ferrell), who was raised by elves at the North Pole. He finds his father in New York at Christmas in the Empire State Building. Along the way he finds love and helps save Christmas!
Papa Elf explains the three jobs available to elves: making shoes in the night; baking cookies in a tree; and making toys in Santa’s workshop.
How did Buddy get to live at the North Pole among the elves? He started off as a baby in an orphanage. His diaper had a tag, “Little Buddy Diapers.” Santa (Ed Asner) visits the orphanage with presents, and Buddy climbs into Santa’s sack. Santa gives Buddy to Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) to raise.
“The best way to spread Christmas cheer / Is singing loud for all to hear” –elves
Buddy finds out he’s actually a human and decides he needs to go to New York to find his human father. Unfortunately, his father, Walter Hobbs, is on the naughty list!
Buddy has a sunny, happy disposition and has a great time exploring New York. Revolving doors, elevators, and escalators are all outside his experience.
His father (James Caan) ends up having security throw him out of his office. They tell him to go to Gimbels department store. All the Christmas in the store makes Buddy feel right at home. And he meets a beautiful girl, Jovie (Zooey Deschanel).
“I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!” –Buddy
Buddy moves in with Walter’s family and goes to work in a suit and tie with Walter. He can’t drink coffee, though, not enough sugar. He does well in the mail room.
“I’m not messing with you. It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.” –Buddy
You can add to the fun while watching Elf by looking for references to Lethal Weapon, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34ththStreet, A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
How can a very large elf-man find happiness among all the unbelievers in New York City? Can he save Christmas and figure out where he belongs? Put Elf on your Christmas viewing list for a modern, optimistic fantasy.
- Elf (2003) from IMDb
- First department store Santa from Santa’s Whiskers
- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer TV show from Mashable
- North Pole and elves from Bustle
- Bernard Gimbel from Investor’s Business Daily
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