I knew this was going to happen at some point during this month, because I see so many movies. Eventually I was going to see a movie for the first time that instantly became a favorite, and today was the day. I went to see The Polar Express just because it was on at Flashback Cinema, which is a program at my local theater where they show older movies on Sundays and Wednesdays, and also because my brother asked me to go.

Oh my Lord, I want to live in this movie. There’s something about a train ride movie, and I’m also including The Darjeeling Express, that makes me want to ride the train forever. I want to see The Polar Express in 3D in an IMAX theater. I want that train to pull up to my house and let me get on. I want to learn that song the two kids sing on the back of the caboose. I want someone to punch my golden ticket with a message. Does everyone love this movie and I’m the last to know? All I had heard about it was that it had a rotoscoped Tom Hanks. But there are at least three Tom Hankses, I think! I mean, the whole theater shook when the train pulled up at the beginning, and I felt like I was on the ride when they went up and down the hills. Is there a ride that goes with this movie at one of the amusement parks in Florida? What a trippy dream of a movie! Northern lights! Elves riding in a tube like they have at the bank! Napoleon! Hot chocolate! Eddie Deezen!

Best of all, this isn’t a tearjerker like most kids’ movies. It is a musical, an adventure, a mystery, a lesson, it is everything. And permit me the indulgence of my personal interpretation that the Conductor is Jesus, the hobo is the Holy Spirit, and Santa is God. Because the three men I admire most, the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, they took the last train for the coast. A kid in the audience I was with kept stage whispering “It’s Santa!” The whole audience clapped at the end of the movie, and then some other kid came down the aisle ringing a bell and there I was saying to the kid, “I can hear it! I can still hear it!” and everyone was laughing. I can still hear the bell. I will always be able to hear it.