The problem with most Christmas movies is, well, Christmas. It’s just so front-and-center. So transformative. Life is stressful and wretched — misers grasp and banks threaten to foreclose and widowers are lonely and orphans weep — and then Christmas comes along and fixes everything. The miracle of this, the wonder of that.
I confess to having a weakness for this stuff (“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” is a particular favorite), but I also find that a little of it goes a long way. Which is why, every year around now, I watch the 1957 film “Desk Set.” It isn’t a Christmas movie, just a movie that happens to take place between November and January. There’s an offhand mention of Christmas shopping, a mistletoe-decked drunken office Christmas party, and that’s it. In the next scene the wreaths and tinsel are gone, and life has moved on.