I watched a movie on Christmas Eve. Yes, I know - I was going to watch the misadventures of Ralphie in A Christmas Story - which I practically know by heart - but instead I opted to watch what is sure to become a new classic: Cowboys & Aliens. Go ahead and laugh, but it was actually pretty good. It was like Rio Grande meets War of the Worlds meets Independence Day - sort of. Amazingly, Daniel Craig can do Old West gunslinger as well as he does Bond, James Bond. Harrison Ford excels at hard-shelled crochety old man with a soft, squishy inside. Mining the desert for gold, the aliens are ugly and vicious and pretty tough to kill; they fly around in these oddball contraptions that allow them to snatch unwitting townsfolk from the ground in one fall swoop. Outlaw Jake Lonergan (Craig) manages to escape with no memory of his abduction other than a woman named Alice and a strange restraint on his left arm - which turns out to be the aliens' undoing. Ella (Olivia Wilde) is looking for help fighting the aliens to she can "find her people." After Colonel Dollarhyde's (Ford) ne'er-do-well son is snatched by the invading aliens, the outlaw, townspeople and the rancher join forces to rescue their loved ones. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) does an admirable job playing the preacher who patches Jake up a bit when he first comes to town. He has a few memorable lines, like "God doesn't care who you were, son - He cares who you are now." Oddly enough, this screen adaptation of a story that started out as a comic book (I guess they call them graphic novels now) is a tale not just of love and loss, but also sacrifice and redemption. I'd watch it again.
Maybe next Christmas. Tradition, after all.