“We’re only nice to each other, it seems -- formally -- in this society on Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We should be nice to each other all year. We should be espousing Judeo-Christian values of ‘Treat others like you’d wish to be treated,’ and ‘To those much has been given, much will be required.’ You know, these are the words of the Christ, and they should be embraced throughout the year, not only at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.”
--Dan Aykrod

FEATURE ARTICLE
INTERVIEW WITH DAN AYKROYD

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—Interview with Dan Aykroyd
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FEATURE ARTICLE
An Everyday Sort of Christmas
Feature Article by Greg Wright
 

Dan Aykroyd made Christmas with the Kranks for a lot of reasons: because Jamie Lee Curtis is like a little sister to him; because he trusts and admires director/producer Joe Roth; because “you don’t get to make faces” like Vic Frohmeyer’s “in Edith Wharton pieces.” At the end of the day, Aykroyd still considers himself a practicioner of comedy that is “absurd” and “anarchistic,” of improv that functions as “healing psychological therapy.” “Absurdism,” says Aykroyd, “is
my personal touchstone.”

Vic Frohmeyer “was tailor made for the kind of things I like to do -- the midwestern voice, that attitude, that Illinois alpha-male, testosterone-laden dominator.”

But Tim Allen’s Luther Krank, not Aykroyd’s tradition-fascist Frohmeyer, more accurately reflects Aykroyd’s own Christmas sentiments.

“We lived in a suburban area just like in the movie, until I was about fifteen years old,” Aykroyd told me during press interviews for Kranks. “You know, brick houses all the same, Christmas tree lights all the same. It was very traditional. It was sleighs, and...

Until the last winter that we lived there, and my dad got me an electric lawnmower for Christmas. I was puzzled. And then spring came, and lawns started to bloom, and everybody in the neighborhood needed their lawn cut, and I made a fortune with that thing. And then we moved to Ottawa to this Victorian house; my father was coming up in the government there, and we bought this beautiful old Victorian house, and we had, for a while, the typical Victorian Christmas with lots of good cheer. And then -- it all stopped. For three years, no Christmas. My father got totally anti-sentimental: ‘This is bogus, this is a hoax.’ And we stopped. And for three years, no celebration of Christmas in the house. None. We didn’t recognize it. And I still have some of that. Who hasn’t wanted to? Just ditch Christmas, like Luther Krank in this movie?”

My wife and I certainly have made efforts to scale back the Christmas insanity, even being out of the country supporting Operation Christmas Child two years ago. So we’re sympathetic to Aykroyd’s complaint.

But Christmas still gets Aykroyd sentimental. “It’s a big, fat commercial hoax -- until that morning, when you’ve got that fire lit in the log cabin, the snowcats gurgling outside. Then my cardigan comes on, I put on Frank Sinatra Christmas music, and I get in the spirit at the last minute like everybody else.”

But I couldn’t just let Aykroyd’s family story drop. It seemed like there was more to tell. What was it, I wanted to know, that contributed to his father’s Christmas meltdown?

“I think it was just the pressure of having to do that every year -- decoration of the house, have these parties, all obligated for all the good will and good cheer. And just the material aspect of it. He just got fed up with it. And you know what? We all went along with it, very willingly. The first year was a little rough, but then the second and third year, we went along with it. And then as we started to date, and girlfriends started coming to the house, my brother and I -- well, we got back into the spirit again.”

But he still sees the underlying problem persisting today.

“We’re only nice to each other, it seems -- formally -- in this society on Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We should be nice to each other all year. We should be espousing Judeo-Christian values of ‘Treat others like you’d wish to be treated,’ and ‘To those much has been given, much will be required.’ You know, these are the words of the Christ, and they should be embraced throughout the year, not only at Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.”

Does Aykroyd think that’s realistic?

Yes. “Christmas,” he says, “is there every day in our house.”

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Review
—Interview with Dan Aykroyd
Trailers, Photos
About this Film pdf file
Spiritual Connections
Forum
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