Christmas with the Kranks is a movie which pretty much follows the short story Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. I usually listen to the story on Audible and watch the movie every year but they are pretty close so sometimes, just the movie. This year I listened closely to the parts about neighbors.
Mr. Crank decides Christmas is too much fuss and too expensive so he decides to skp it and take a cruise instead. The problem is the neighbors, especially one menacing looking one played hysterically by Dan Ackroyd. When the neighbor hears about Mr. Crank’s crazy idea he goes to talk to him and Mr. Cranks says that they can’t make him feel guilty and he would appreciate it if “everyone around here would respect my wishes.”
I wonder why we have to defend ourselves to our neighbors. About going against the herd? Can’t we be friendly and kind without all having to be in lock step? For this neighborhood, it ruins their chances to win the best decorated street since the Cranks refuse to put up their roof snowman named Frosty.
Spoiler Alert – The Cranks almost get to go off on their warm cruise when their daughter calls to say she has a surprise – she is returning home and wants all the trimmings because it’ll be her fiance’s first Chicago Christmas ever (being from Peru and from different traditions). The Cranks suddenly need to decorate the house, shop for food, and throw the party they had cancelled that year.
Mr. Crank dangles from their roof and the neighbors gather to wonder why he suddenly tried to put Frosty on the roof. They say they all should help to make it Christmas for them and someone asks why after their month-long behavior. The answer is “We are a community and a community sticks together even if one, for most of the holidays, has been acting like a selfish little baby. Why should the daughter pay for the sins of the father?”
Later, Mrs. Crank reminds her husband that “Thanks to this true meaning of community, they sacrificed their Christmas to put others first.”
I know this is Hollywood and the fantasy we all want. Whether it is a whirlwind romance or an alien fighting superhero, the movies create perfect neighborhoods. Cohousing is the dream that everyone will put others first. That they will come together no matter how one person behaves. That was the dream I had and I hope, that if you move into cohousing, that it’ll happen to you. Some Hollywood films are based on true stories.