So, I’ve been talking a LOT about Christmas lately. I’ve been all, let’s talk about my favorite Christmas movie, my favorite Christmas special, what 1980s board games I want for Christmas. Blah Blah Blah. I sound so festive!
Well I’ll let you in on a little secret. I am actually a little morbid: My favorite Christmas song ever is “Ave Maria.” How is a tune about the Virgin Mary depressing? you ask. What kind of Godless person are you? you retort. Mary rules!
Well, I say to you, you don’t understand. See, the reason “Ave Maria” is my favorite Christmas song ever is because I saw it in the movie Alive when I was in eighth grade. Even though it was Rated R, my mom bought me a ticket and let me go. At the time I was a HUGE Ethan Hawke fan (it was the ’90s!) and what better actor could there possibly be to play a Uruguayan rugby player who survived a deadly plane crash in the Andes for 72 days in 1972? Josh Hamilton, you say? How about BOTH of them? DONE!
I imagine if I watched Alive now I would appreciate it in a completely different way. It’s a very powerful and spiritual story. I even read a book in 2006 called Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home by Nando Parrado, the real-life Ethan Hawke. It was amazing.
But back in the 1993 I was all BOOOOOOOYYYYYYSSSSS. So my motives were less than pure. I also really liked to cry in movies, so there was that.
I was SOMEWHAT redeemed by the ending of the movie. The closing scene sweeps over a scene of the Andes and wait . . . what is that? Aaron Neville singing “Ave Maria”? Boom! I found my favorite Christmas song ever. Didn’t matter that the movie was released in January.
And yes, that is John Malkovich being Carlitos Páez. What a great accent!