Alonso Duralde and I ran into each other earlier this year while waiting in line at TCM's Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. He let me know then that he was planning to publish a book about Christmas movies in the Fall and hoping to tour with it to San Francisco. Considering venues for such an event, it seemed obvious this should take place at the Castro and, indeed, so it goes: tonight, Alonso will promote Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas while hosting a horror holiday double-bill of Joe Dante's kinetic comedy Gremlins (1984) at 7:00PM and Bob Clark's Canadian slasher Black Christmas (1974) at 9:15PM (both in 35mm prints).
Alonso Duralde has written about film for MSNBC.com and the Village Voice, among other media, and programmed film festivals, including Outfest and the USA Film Festival/Dallas. A regular contributor to The Rotten Tomatoes Show, Duralde has been featured in documentaries for IFC and Starz and on the Brokeback Mountain and Valley of the Dolls DVDs, and he is the author of 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men. He lives in West Hollywood, CA.
When I asked Jenni Olson—who will be moderating tonight's event at the Castro—what she might add about Alonso's specific contributions to the GLBT community, she promptly responded: "Alonso combines expansive film scholarship with a wildly entertaining approach to film criticism. I love how he always has such strong opinions and smart, fresh takes on any given film-related topic. Plus his general knowledge of popular mainstream film is insanely deep. I frequently quote one particular line from his book 101 Must See Movies for Gay Men—in regard to gay men and their reluctance to watch lesbian films: 'It would kill you to see a lesbian movie?' He is without question one of the smartest gay film critics around and 101 Must See Movies is a brilliant compendium of our true cinematic homo heritage. I can't wait to get my hands on the Christmas movie book!"
As proclaimed at the publisher's website and on the book's jacket: "Don't waste another second of your valuable holiday time on another boring Christmas movie. Film critic Alonso Duralde highlights the best—and worst—movies of the Yuletide season with this fun and informative film guide. Whether you're looking for the classics, family favorites, holiday horror, Christmas-themed crime epics, or the most wonderfully awful cinematic lumps of coal, Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas will point you and your rental queue in the right direction. Whether your idea of a holiday classic is White Christmas, Bad Santa, Die Hard, Eyes Wide Shut, or Gremlins, you'll find the right film for you, as well as an exhaustively entertaining breakdown of the various screen Scrooges, from Alistair Sim to Jim Carrey to ... Tori Spelling? And get ready to encounter movies you may never have heard of from the gritty noir Christmas Holiday, starring 1930s singing ingénue Deanna Durbin in her first hard-bitten adult role, to the loony Santa Claus, a Mexican kiddie movie in which St. Nick teams up with Merlin to fight the devil! Plot synopses, video availability, and fun facts—did you know the actor cast as Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life was also in the running to play mean old Mr. Potter?—make this a stocking stuffed with information you'll turn to every Christmas season."
I've only just secured my copy of the book so haven't had much chance to peruse its festive contents but it's clear Duralde has already become a Yuletide expert, not only for this holiday season but seasons to come. For starters, he's offered L.A. Weekly a list of 10 memorable big screen Xmas food moments and has been featured on The History Channel's The Real Story of Christmas. At Inside Vandy.com, Ben Ries has transcribed Duralde's Vanderbilt Q&A session and Jim Ridley has interviewed Duralde for Nashville Scene.
The itinerary for the Have Yourself A Movie Little Christmas book tour has been posted on Facebook. At his various venues Duralde has screened such holiday "classics" as Shane Black's dark comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), This Christmas (2007), René Cardona's Santa vs. Satan Mexican mindblower Santa Claus (1959), Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Jon Favreau's comedy Elf (2003), and the cheek-slapping Home Alone (1990); but, he's reserved his holiday horrors for San Francisco! And doesn't that make you feel fuzzy and warm in all the right places? Warner Brothers has even taken Duralde's marketing cue and offered his listed titles on their website, and no doubt the other studios will be swift to follow.
Cross-published on Twitch.