Posts Tagged ‘White Christmas’

Top 5 Christmas Movies

December 21, 2020

I tuned in last week to watch the above video from one of my favorite YouTube channels to hear the thoughts of two of my favorite perfomers (Shane Madej and Ryan Bergara) and their guest. As with most lists of this kind, I disagreed with some of their choices. Instead of tearing their lists down, I decided to make my own. I decided to exclude a lot of what I consider joke answers to this question such as Die Hard, Batman Begins, and Gremlins. I also put Christmas Horror in a completely different boat. Also, even though I love the movie dearly, I do not think of A Nightmare Before Christmas as a Christmas movie even though it uses a lot of the assets.

  1. White Christmas

To be fair, this is the Bing Crosby Christmas movie without the blackface. I watched this with my mother a couple of years ago and we both really enjoyed it. Bing and Danny Kaye are army men who finish their tour of duty and head back to the States. They become successful performers as a singing and dancing duo. They meet up with two performing sisters played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen. The four end up heading to the middle of nowhere Vermont to spend the holidays at an inn where the girls are booked to perform. However, the inn and the town are in trouble without any snow so the four of them decide to put on a show to save the day. It is an endearing story of four witty and artistic people who have such great chemistry with each other. The movie is full of great songs like “Sisters”, “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)”, and starts and ends with “White Christmas”. Bing Crosby became synonymous with Christmas and that is probably a big reason why this movie made this list.

  1. A Christmas Prince

This was the second movie that helped launch my getting back into watching Christmas movies. I chose this movie originally because it stars Rose McIver, an actress I loved so much in iZombie. In this, she stars as a reporter tasked with getting the scoop on a prince’s coronation in a foreign country obsessed with Christmas. She stumbles into a lie which gets her close to her subject but when feelings develop, she starts regretting everything. McIver really makes the movie as she is at times sarcastic, wide-eyed, clever, and just plain funny. She is paired with Ben Lamb who plays the titular role with such playful wholesomeness. His sister really steals a lot of scenes (played by Honor Kneafsey) walks the edge of what could have been an annoying character and makes it into a very smart and funny one instead. Theo Devaney is so great as the smarmy “villain”. However, the movie very well could have failed if they had not been given a really great supporting cast. The two sequels are even better though this is the one I kept coming back to.

  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol means a lot to me. When I worked professionally in live theater, we did the same production five years in a row and the story never got old. This is a story that I have experienced starting at a very young age and this version may have been the very first. It came out when I was nine years old at a time when I had already experienced The Muppet Show and Sesame Street. Seeing these familiar characters acting out this story was truly magical. Michael Caine as Scrooge is almost the only human character and that made it feel like an extended episode of The Muppet Show. Caine acts so earnestly in the movie and always reacts to the Muppets as if they were fellow performers which, in a sense, they were. The movie adheres to the original story very well but also adds in much needed laughs along with what is essentially a Christmas ghost story. The movie is also a musical which helps to keep the story bouncing along in what can be a very long-winded story. This was absolutely a marriage of three things I have loved since I was a kid: The Muppets, Horror, and Christmas.

  1. Klaus

I am a sucker for Santa Claus lore because I have been fascinated with (ahem) research about the man, the myth, the legend. This movie is a throwback to the more traditional two-dimensional animation comparable to the Disney Rennaisance period. It utilizes 2D drawings with a new 3D lighting software design which really produces a breathtakingly beautiful movie. The story follows a young mailman-in-training who is sent to an island town to reopen their post office. In order to do that, he befriends a hermit in the woods and basically invents the man we know and love. The movie is such a touching portrayal of a world similar to ours but with some invented politics and geography. It is also wildly funny at the same time. Jason Scwartzman plays the excitable Jesper, a young screw up who now has to make good. JK Simmons plays the titular character, an emotionally wounded man who just wants to make good. Rashida Jones plays the clever school teacher who gets sucked up into the madness. Joan Cusack and Will Sasso play the heads of two feuding families that has absolutely destroyed the town. Norm Macdonald basically plays his usual sarcastic self. The production also involved actual Sámi people with authentic Sámi language in a very touching manner.

  1. The Christmas Chronicles

This movie absolutely caught me off guard. It felt like an entirely different kind of Santa Claus tale which managed to shine a spotlight on Santa while making him a supporting character in his own movie. The movie follows two kids played by Darby Camp and Judah Lewis. They are a brother and sister who have grown apart due to the death of their father. Lewis plays a teenager who has grown cynical too early and is annoyed by Camp’s optimistic and sunny character. A chance run-in with Santa Claus sets the two on a whirlwind adventure that will teach them about themselves and realign both of them on the right path in life. Santa is played by Kurt Russell and it is the coolest portrayal that has ever appeared in a movie previously. This is a Rock and Roll Santa who absolutely loves his job. The lore building that they created in this was absolutely a draw for me. They explained a lot of the Santa stories without explaining too much or getting too detailed. The spotlight remains on the two kids as they learn together and separately the true meaning of Christmas. The movie is an exciting rollercoaster from start to finish while still allowing for a lot of heartwarming moments that directly confront the dysfunctionality and bonds of family.

Honorable Mentions:
The Year Without a Santa Claus
The Knight Before Christmas
Shop Around the Corner
Let It Snow

Christmas Interview Questions

December 25, 2016

Since it is Christmas, I thought I would break my normal update schedule and post today. While it has been over a decade since I have attended church, I still celebrate Christmas with my family. My stepfather’s family actually gives and receives gifts tomorrow morning which extends our Christmas tradition a little more. Anyway, here are a few Christmas interview questions to celebrate this day of giving.


Do you prefer to give gifts or receive them?

When I was little, I was all about receiving things. However, as I got older and older, receiving became less and less important. I struggled to actually add things to my Christmas list because things became less important to me. Action figures just took up space so I started to float toward comic books, books, video games and movies which are all objects that give you an experience and serve a specific purpose. I still find it hard to ask for anything since I already have mostly everything I need and most of what I might want is boring and cheap. At the same time, giving gifts has become a more rewarding experience. I struggled to pick good gifts for the people I love. I was always desperate for a gift to give because it was required. Now, I have become better at reading people and drawing on my personal connections to them to pick a good gift. Nothing I give is boring or impersonal, it always carries memories of a bit of fiction we both liked or a memory we shared. Now I prefer giving gifts so I can see the reaction and the feeling that I really know that person.


What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

This is a huge running thing on the Internet and among my friends and family. The most popular answer that I have heard is Die Hard as it is loudly proclaimed by my brother. While I love Die Hard, I cannot pick it because it is not actually a Christmas movie. The same goes for my joke answer which is Batman Returns which involves Batman saving Christmas. One of my favorite movies, A Nightmare Before Christmas, has officially been labeled a Halloween movie so that does not count either. I feel the same should be said of Gremlins. I think I would actually go with White Christmas which I finally saw for the first time last year. It starts with singing Christmas songs to the troops in the middle of a really bad war zone. It ends with the main characters putting on a show to save a failing business. It stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye among others and has the old Christmas standard White Christmas (of course). It is a kind-hearted movie but it does not fall into the trap of getting too sappy, too sarcastic or too sugary sweet. It has a lot of humor but it also has a lot of touching moments and conflict which, to me, is what the holidays are all about.


What’s your favorite Christmas song?

Musically, I would have to go with the song I posted on Thursday, All I Want for Christmas is You by Vince Vance and the Valiants. Lisa Layne is one heck of a singer and I like the pleading nature of the song a lot along with some jazzy backup from the band. However, it is not a message that resonates with me. I have never had a special somebody during Christmas that I was missing and needed desperately to be with. It felt a little right that one Christmas I was working on A Christmas Carol and could not come home to my family for Christmas but that is not what I want from Christmas. I would have to go with Santa Baby simply because it embodies what I want from Christmas. I want playfulness, I want happiness, I want good music and good secular fun. Obviously, my heart goes out to the Eartha Kitt version because she was Catwoman and that ties into the whole Batman thing from earlier. She also really does well walking the line between playfulness, flirtatiousness and holiday cheer.

And how about a few gifts?

From the WWE for fans of Why I Love Pro-Wrestling:

A little Heavy Metal in honor of my new Dungeons and Dragons character:

And a look at why Home Alone may not be the best holiday film:

Media Update 12/24/2015

December 24, 2015


Snatch

I honestly thought I had seen this movie before. For some reason I remember my friend Arthur really pushing this as a great movie. I wasn’t very familiar with Guy Ritchie back then. I hadn’t seen Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and I thought of Ritchie as Madonna’s boyfriend. As discussed before, I didn’t really appreciate foreign film very much and I didn’t cotton to being told what to watch and enjoy. Time and time again I’ve learned that my stubbornness keeps me from enjoying good movies and television (although sometimes I’m right, damn it). The movie is really good. Jason Statham is too often used as a kung fu mook but here he’s a pretty funny and believable actor. The movie is full of great performances by Benicio Del Toro, Vinnie Jones, Dennis Farina, Rade Serbedzija and a lot of others. Brad Pitt is especially funny as Mickey and it’s refreshing to see a minority represented that I’m encouraged to laugh with rather than at. It’s a great low budget movie so check it out.

 


Ant-Man

I put off this movie for far too long. I am in love with the Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe as I have repeatedly stated in this blog and nothing they have put out has disappointed. The timing fell into a bad place and I couldn’t get anybody interested in going to the theater with me. I felt bad that I had lost my chance to see it in theaters but I resolved to wait and see it on DVD. I owned it on DVD for over a week before I sat down to watch it. Again, I shouldn’t have waited. Ant-Man is not a character I’ve really followed too much in the comics outside of crossovers but interestingly I’ve followed Scott Lang the most who Paul Rudd plays. Speaking of Paul Rudd, I was worried but he was great as a beginner superhero. Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lily backed him up brilliantly along with a great cast. The movie still held some of the flavor of the earlier Edgar Wright version and was a great mix of comedy and action and real drama. The tone was something between Guardians of the Galaxy and Iron Man 2. It was a great movie and I can’t wait to see the sequel or maybe even a crossover in the future.

 


White Christmas

I really felt that I needed to watch something to help pick up my Christmas spirits so that I’m not so Grinchy this week. The holidays are always stressful because you deal with things you look forward to intensely while also dreading other things. If you look at earlier posts from this blog, you’ll notice I love old musicals. I had never seen White Christmas and neither had my mother so we decided to sit down and check it out because it’s a classic and I like Bing Crosby. Even after all of the similar movies I’ve watched, I still didn’t expect the depth of the story. The movie deals with World War II, what happens to veterans after retirement, stubborn love, show business and generosity vs. self-interest. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye have great chemistry together and are very funny. Rosemary Clooney is a great singer but I was surprised by her great chemistry with Bing Crosby and her great performances with Vera Ellen. Dean Jagger practically steals the movie a lot of the time as an old retired army general. The movie is great and is on Netflix so if you have time this week check it out.

Links of the Week

Henry Rollins – The Night Before Christmas
Speed Painting of Santa by Roy Paschal (my Uncle!)
SNL Digital Shorts – Best Friends
Tupperware Remix Party – Christmas Special
Brian Wecht – Voted Most Likely to Cure Aids

Updates of the Week:
– Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
– Check out Tuesday’s Star Wars review
– The Steve Harvey incident was a good lesson that design matters
– The Slammy Awards are fixed
– There are a lot of bad holiday movies out there
– Gotta see Krampus


The Hidden Message

klaatu barada nikto

Growing a family

Im just trying to evolve

Panorama of the Mountains

Liam Sullivan's Ideas and Reflections

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Damyanti Biswas

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

%d bloggers like this: