I am nothing if not cutting edge with Looking for the Postman. All of the pressing issues are addressed here.
It should therefore come as no surprise that I am going to attempt to answer the question which is on everybody’s lips:
Is Lethal Weapon a Christmas Movie?
The internet has established that Die Hard is a seasonal movie. That one is buried. The next one to consider must be the 1986 Richard Donner classic, starring Mel Gibson & Danny Glover.
It certainly opens the right way, to the sounds of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ by Bobby Helms. Some nae-sayers might point out that this festive favourite fades out into some tense music which culminates in the death of a drugged-out prostitute, but don’t let that put you off thinking it’s a Christmas movie. After all, Home Alone begins with a young child being left while his parents go abroad and White Christmas starts in a war zone. It’s just a starting point.
Shortly afterwards, we meet the person who’s journey brings the Christmas Spirit, recently widowed cop Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). He’s at a low, toying with thoughts of suicide and acting without caution during his day job. It’s typical of a Christmas movie that the hero hits a low before being saved. Why, wasn’t it thoughts of suicide that led George Bailey to be visited by old Clarence the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life?
The Christmas songs keep coming. I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, The First Noel.
The storyline is one of hope and salvation. Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) may be too old for this shit, but his growing friendship and camaraderie with Riggs in chasing lunatic merc Joshua (Gary Busey) brings him back from the edge. In their common bonds of wanting to rescue Rog’s daughter, avoid Trish’s (Roger’s wife’s) cooking and get through a day without killing another bad guy, a strong friendship is formed.
The movie ends with Riggs outside Murtaugh’s house on Christmas Day, being invited in for a terribly cooked Christmas dinner, and there’s not a dry eye in the house.
Is it a Christmas movie? Well, it’s set at Christmas. It has Christmas throughout the movie. It has Christmas music at every turn. Some of the bad guys are shot while wearing Santa hats. Is that enough?
No, it isn’t. But that’s fine because it isn’t those things that make it a Christmas movie. It’s the saving of Riggs. Murtaugh is his Clarence, providing him with validation, support and a reason to be here. Riggs tells Murtaugh that it’s only the job that’s prevented him from topping himself so far, but by the end, we see that it’s being part of a family that’s made his eyes light up. Now, isn’t that the same journey taken by George Bailey?