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The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

Teacher Recommendations for Holiday/Winter Season

Teacher+Recommendations+for+Holiday%2FWinter+Season
Photo Credit: Kacie Burns

The holiday season, and even just the vibes that come with winter, usually bring high energy and a sense of excitement leading up to the coveted break for high school students. Yet it’s not just the students who enjoy the holidays; the teachers feel the same holiday spirit. Here are what some of the high school teachers are looking forward to enjoying in the upcoming weeks.

 

Movies:

Diehard recommended by Mr. Coyle

  • NYPD cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife Holly in Los Angeles where she works for the Nakatomi Corporation. While they are at the Nakatomi headquarters for a Christmas party, a group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber take control of the building and hold everyone hostage, with the exception of John, while they plan to perform a lucrative heist. Unable to escape and with no immediate police response, John is forced to take matters into his own hands. Some claim this movie is not a holiday movie, as it was released in 1988 on July 15. However, there are holiday themes throughout the movie that tie into the holiday season.

Home Alone recommended by Mrs. Rinaldi

  • Growing up in a Jewish household, watching Christmas movies during the holiday season was not a thing. However, it is one of my husband’s favorite Christmas traditions; whenever we get together with his family in December, the big question is always, “which Christmas movie are we going to watch tonight?”. Maybe it’s my lack of nostalgia for these movies, but I’m almost always bored and unimpressed by their selections. I don’t want to name which movies I grit my teeth and bear to watch because I know it will cause an uproar among many of you. Let’s just say that I only have two favorite Christmas movies and I find most others to be a drag. Home Alone is one of my favorites; the other is Die Hard. I purposefully didn’t recommend Die Hard because again, I’m trying to avoid controversy (but it IS a Christmas movie–they’re at a Christmas party for goodness’ sake!). Okay, maybe I welcome that controversy. In any event, I’m recommending Home Alone because it has all of the trappings of a great holiday movie: it’s entertaining, well-acted, funny, heartwarming, and the cast is incredible. John Candy and Catherine O’Hara in the same film? We should always be so lucky. Do yourself a favor and watch Home Alone if you haven’t seen it. Or watch it again if you’ve seen it a number of times–it never gets old. Then do yourself another favor and watch the episode of the Netflix documentary, “The Movies That Made Us” on Home Alone so you can learn some fascinating tidbits about how this fantastic film came to be. And finally, the soundtrack has one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time (second only to Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Merry Christmas Baby”): Darlene Love’s “All Alone on Christmas”. Give it a listen after you (re)watch Home Alone. Enjoy!

Scrooged recommended by Mr. Cina

  • In Richard Donner’s reimagining of the classic “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, we see Bill Murray (Frank Cross) embody the “modern day” (1980’s) version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Each trip through Cross’ life and actions reveal the trauma that he has both experienced and inflicted upon others. Though the world it portrays may be dated (and some of its gags out of touch with a current lens), the practical effects and themes are still relevant today. Murray also commands the screen as he shifts from the stereotypical business executive with a heart of ice to a joyful, loving human. The cast is rounded out by Carol Kane (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Princess Bride), Karen Allen (Indiana Jones), David Johansen (New York Dolls, Buster Poindexter), and several other well-knowns, all accompanied by a score from Danny Elfman. Rated PG-13 for language, violence, and some suggestive themes.

It’s A Wonderful Life recommended by Mrs. Gliubizzi

  • This old movie takes place in a beautiful small town called Bedford Falls. George Bailey lived in Bedford Falls and worked with his dad at the Savings and Loans. George’s lifelong dream is to leave Bedford Falls and see the world. Because George is a kind and considerate person, his dream is always postponed due to the needs of others. Eventually, George falls in love, gets married and starts a family of his own. On one particular Christmas Eve, George’s elderly uncle misplaces a great amount of money from the Savings and Loans and this creates what seems an insurmountable problem for George. Completely defeated, George doesn’t understand why life seems to always put obstacles in his way. This is the most serious thing that has happened to him and seeing no other way out, George wishes he had never been there. It’s at this moment that an angel in waiting named Clarence comes down from heaven to help George in his hour of desperate need. Clarence helps him by showing him what the world would have been like without him in it.He points out what a positive impact he has had on all the people of his town and on his town in general. This is a beautiful story that teaches us the impact one person can have on others,  the importance of community and the idea that everyone’s life has purpose and profound meaning. It is the perfect Christmas story where a community comes together to help someone in need, the same someone who has always been there ready to help everyone else. 

It’s a Wonderful Life by Mr. Tullo

  • It’s a Wonderful Life, an American classic from 1946, is a “Must See” during the Holiday season, regardless of religious affiliation. George Bailey, played by a young James Stewart, is the lead character in the cinematic treasure for whom many of us, if not all of us, can relate to. The life of George Bailey is highlighted in the movie, showing many of his ups, his downs, his sacrifices, and the results of his decisions. But it’s in the deep abyss of his downs, a time when he is faced with great hardship and adversity in his adult life and career, for which George Bailey (Heeee Hawww) begins to find out who he really is, what he truly cares about, and the degree for which external factors should have as an influence on his own life and feelings. George learns, through the help of his guardian angel, that even through his financial hardship, he is rich in more important worldly offerings. Like George, all of us are now embedded in a digitally enhanced world, and we all lose ourselves from time to time. And none of us here on earth are impervious to sometimes forgetting who and what is important to us as we carry on through the daily grind…but it is in this film, through Lulu’s pedals, through character interaction and with the help of friends and family, that George helps to remind us all of something very valuable… and that is… Life is pretty great…as long as you understand what makes it great … and what might seem awful or sad, hurtful or important to you in a certain moment, is likely to be rather insignificant when compared to the “true” wonders in each of our lives. Have a stack of tissues ready on the side table.

 

Album:

The Complete James Brown Christmas recommended by Mr. Lupien

  • “As one who has never been much for (any) holiday themed music, as I have grown older, I began to realize I simply do not care for the ubiquitous holiday music we cannot escape. There is so much great Christmas music that mostly flies under the radar, both that of the grocery store Muzak canon and the Spotify algorithms that shape much of how music gets heard today. And while a lot of this is simply reinterpreted ‘classics,’ this collection of James Brown songs is not merely that. Each one of these songs stands on their own. This compilation collects three albums from the “Godfather of Soul” made between 1966 and 1970. And there is not a dull track among them.”

 

Books:

Wish You Were Here by Jodie Picoult – recommended by Mrs. Maye

  • ANY good book is perfect to curl up with in the winter (of course with a cozy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa:), but the last good book that I read was “Wish You Were Here” by Jodi Picoult. The story takes place first in New York City during the COVID outbreak in 2020, then in the Galapagos Islands. The account of the city during the initial stages of the pandemic is chillingly accurate, and the narrative did cause a little PTSD in this reader (I’m not gonna lie), but the Galapagos scenes are captivating and the book has a twist that I never saw coming! 

“Watchmen” by Alan Moore – recommended by Mr. Zink

  • The Watchmen is considered by many to be one of the greatest graphic novels ever written. It is particularly meaningful to me, as it combines history, superheroes, and just enough of the holiday season for me to make the argument that it belongs on this recommendations list. Whereas the modern Marvel and DC films depict their protagonists as unequivocal “good guys,” the Watchmen follows a very different trajectory. In this alternate universe, taking place during the Cold War, these superheroes are deeply flawed – just because they’re super, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re heroes. Alan Moore (also the author of The Killing Joke, one of the most famous Batman/Joker comics) forces the reader to contemplate moral ambiguity in more ways than one. The title was inspired by the Latin phrase “who will guard the guards themselves,” or “who watches the watchmen?” If you’ve watched The Boys on Amazon Prime Video, the Watchmen is right up your alley. After you read the Watchmen, check out the HBO miniseries which is set in 2019, three decades after the graphic novel. There’s also a Watchmen film, but it isn’t as good as the original work. 
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About the Contributors
Castalia Litos, School and Community Editor
Castalia is the editor of School and Community News for The Anchor. Outside of the newspaper, Castalia participates in several afterschool clubs; she is the co-president of the Hen Hud Debate team and is a member of SEED club, Literary Magazine, and AV and Stage Crew for Drama. An avid alternative and classic rock lover, Castalia spends her free time listening to music, reading, and playing cello for the school’s Chamber Orchestra.
Kacie Burns, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Kacie is a Senior at Hen Hud and this is her fourth year on The Anchor. For the paper, she does the layout, artwork, and writes. This year, she is the Arts & Entertainment Editor and Head of Layout. Outside of school, she loves to listen to music (Fiona Apple, The Cure, and The Smiths), take film photos, and read classic literature. She doesn’t play any sports, but does play the violin in the school’s orchestra and loves to draw and paint. 
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