Unless you count "Fairytale of New York" by Shane MacGowan and Sinéad O'Connor -- which we don't, necessarily -- what's the last popular song that entered the collective Christmas consciousness? (Dont say Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." Thems fightin words.) And how about Hollywood? The dream factory specializes in pumping out icky flick after icky flick year after icky year. Jingle All the Way. The Santa Clause. Fred Claus. Ick. Ick. Ick. Then there's Billy Bob Thornton's Bad Santa (brilliant, but won't stand the test of time) and The Polar Express (brilliant, and will be with us forevermore).
Express has impeccable genes. The film, which screens under the title The Polar Express: An IMAX 3D Experience at 3:30 and 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve at IMAX Theatre Arizona Science Center, 600 East Washington Street, is based on the Caldecott Medal-winning book by Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji, Zathura), was directed by Robert Zemeckis of Forrest Gump fame, and stars Tom Hanks in eerily animated form as the conductor of the North Pole-bound train. You can take the kids, but its no kiddy movie, and it sure beats hell out of gnawing on fruitcake with Uncle Elmer and Aunt Kay.
Fridays, Saturdays, 3:30, 5:45 & 8 p.m.; Mondays, Tuesdays, Sundays, 3:30 & 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, Thursdays, 3:30 & 5:45 p.m. Starts: Dec. 14. Continues through Jan. 3, 2007