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(Yes, we need another) Holiday Movie Thread

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(Yes, we need another) Holiday Movie Thread

#1

Post by OldAle1 » December 12th, 2017, 5:51 pm

OK, I meant to start this thread right after (American) Thanksgiving at the end of November, and now matthewscott has put up a thread on gift boxes and special holiday-timed video releases, and morrison has a non-English-language thread, and I feel like I'm going to get slapped around for a third thread. What can I do? Do it anyway; I always started these threads, or participated in them on IMDb, and I have to keep it up. Also my new GOAT which I saw for the first time just about a year ago starts at Christmas, though it isn't any more a Christmas movie overall than Die Hard or Brazil. Christmas must be in my blood.

So discuss yer favorites for this season - Christmas, New Year's, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or any other holidays you celebrate. Do a top 10, or even better write reviews, especially if you see something weird, obscure or under-appreciated. I'll try to re-activate this thread around Easter as well and perhaps Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Arbor Day, Take Your Puppy to Work Day, etc...

Christmas to me used to mean going to Grandma's, until she died in 1994 when I was 28; since then it usually meant going to an aunt and uncle's with a much smaller group, but that aunt died this spring so I dunno what we'll be doing, dinner-wise. But I always loved Christmas movies and those aren't going away. I'm not at all religious so a lot of the more "faith-based" things don't necessarily appeal, and I save the overtly religious films like The Ten Commandments for Easter in any case. And I'm 'merican so I grew up on the endless Christmas specials and a few movie chestnuts; the one non-English-language "Christmas" film that I really love I discovered only a few years ago, Christian-Jacque's sublime L'assassinat du Père Noël. Maybe this year I will get around to watching the long Fanny och Alexander and that will join my list?

Anyway here's my top 15 list; I usually rotate through these and watch them all every 2-3 years though the shorts I typically watch every year -

1. It's a Wonderful Life - remains both the feature film I've seen the most times (about 40) and the most in the cinema (15).
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones) - I've probably seen this close to 50 times now, never gets old and Jones is my favorite animation director, with Seuss one of my favorite children's book authors. And the Grinch is better than any film Scrooge though Alastair Sim is close. Boris Karloff FTW.
3. The Shop Around the Corner
4. Remember the Night
5. Meet John Doe
6. The Snowman
7. Hardrock, Coco and Joe - Maybe you have to be a Chicago kid, and have to have seen this at the Music Box in front of innumerable viewings of IAWL and White Christmas, but whatever, it makes me happy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKGonDIq8gw
8. A Christmas Story
9. A Charlie Brown Christmas
10. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
11. L'assassinat du Père Noël
12. Meet Me in St. Louis
13. Miracle on 34th Street (George Stevens)
14. Bell Book and Candle
15. Bad Santa


I will write reviews of everything I see in subsequent posts though I'll probably keep them very short when they're for heavily exposed films (like most of the ones I've listed above).
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#2

Post by OldAle1 » December 12th, 2017, 5:58 pm

2017 holiday viewing 1: Elf (Jon Favreau, 2003, feature)

I liked this a lot more than I expected to, not being much of a Will Farrell fan and not really loving most of the holiday films from the last 30+ years that I've seen. It helps to have Ed Asner (greatest TV actor of all time) on board as Santa (surprisingly not very gruff) and Bob Newhart as occasional narrator and stepfather to our misfit human elf, Farrell. Predictable storyline of human raised by elves going to NYC to seek his destiny, confronting Scrooge-like real father James Caan and falling for Pixie Dream Girl Zooey Deschanel, but there were some nice touches like Farrell's elfish work ethic that allows him to make decorations and toys 24 hours a day on a diet of nothing but sugar. Overall it's pleasant and watchable and something I'll probably watch again - in 5 years or so. The BD (which I got from the library) has a huge amount of extras, I'll probably pick it up the next time it shows up at Goodwill or somewhere for $1-2.
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#3

Post by Good_Will_Harding » December 13th, 2017, 12:55 am

Ah, another yearly holiday thread. Was worried these would go belly-up once the IMDB boards got scrapped. Here's some stuff I watched recently or things that went unmentioned in your OP:

1. Holiday Inn (1942) - Already talked about this in the weekly thread, but to recap: enjoyable and well made, but doesn't quite measure up to the truly classic X-mas filmic staples we all know and love. That said, I could see myself revisiting this puppy every few years or so.

2. White Christmas (1954) - I've only managed to catch bits and pieces of this on TV in the last couple of weeks, but I actually got to see it on the big screen back in 2013 (and looking back, that was the last Christmas season where I was truly able to appreciate and enjoy the whole spirit of the season without any stressful real life hindrances; this year seems potentially to be more in that vein, if some of my more immediate family members can quit piling on the stress). Anyhow, this is on Netflix Instant watch, so I'll make a point to revisit this sometime soon.

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - Is it for Halloween? Is it for Christmas? Maybe Thanksgiving? I dunno. At any rate, I'm completely on board with this otherwise wholly overexposed and over-merchandised holiday staple (second in that regard, beaten out only by A Christmas Story). Back when the Tim Burton brand was at its creative peak (and yes I'm aware he didn't direct it himself), I find the whole style and aesthetic truly engrossing and original, albeit very overplayed and ripped-off endlessly by now. And most of the music is just delightful and it's short and sweet at just barely over an hour long, which led itself to constant repeat viewings for me when I was younger. I don't make a point to watch this every single year anymore, since I have every frame and every note of music burned into my brain, but whenever it's on, I always stop for a nice refresher of the whole experience.

4. Krampus (2015) - Just re-watched this fairly recently, actually, and while I didn't enjoy it as much on home video as I did when I saw it in theaters (with a full auditorium and an appreciable amount of audience reception), I still think it's one of the better Christmas-themed new releases from the last couple of years - certainly nothing I'd consider great or exceptional, but with the seemingly nonstop parade of obvious, try-hard Christmas comedies that we get every year and all of which end with the exact same moral and lesson, this one is a refreshingly grim and darker take on the "family who doesn't get along is forced to interact during the holidays" (or about as dark as a PG-13 horror comedy can get these days, though I wouldn't say the rating hinders this all that much). Not a must see, but I found plenty to appreciate here, with one or two specific moments immediately striking me as enough to merit giving this a watch. And for those who need more convincing, I'll just leave this completely out of context clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8s2txilG08

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#4

Post by OldAle1 » December 14th, 2017, 4:12 pm

Hey, a reply! I haven't seen Holiday Inn in 10+ years - remember the racial stereotyping which is really problematic, but overall it is a better-directed and written film than White Christmas. The latter is a film I really disliked initially but have come to like quite a bit, thanks in large part to Danny Kaye, and a couple of the songs. I might give that another spin this year, dunno. Nightmare I haven't seen since it came out, wasn't crazy about it at the time, might want to revisit someday. Didn't see Krampus and likely won't this year, but some day...
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#5

Post by OldAle1 » December 14th, 2017, 4:38 pm

2017 holiday viewing 2: It Happened One Christmas (Donald Wrye, 1977)

In 1977, It's a Wonderful Life was still for the most part in obscurity-limbo; it's copyright had lapsed in 1974 but it wasn't yet omnipresent on TV, and the producers behind this (among them star Marlo Thomas who I'm guessing saw this as a passion project) decided it was a good story that needed resurrecting, in color and on TV. The film was apparently received positively at the time and was even nominated for 2 Emmys, one of them for Chloris Leachman's stunningly awful Cockney-Irish-accented "Clara" (Clarence in the original film as played by Henry Travers). According to Wikipedia it played the next couple of years but by then the original film was getting to be well known and this remake sank into the same obscurity that had kept the original out of the public eye. It's never been on DVD or Blu and I'm not sure it was ever even on VHS; the so-so copy I watched may well be from a TV recording in the late 70s though the commercials have been very skillfully excised and it looks more like a commercial VHS to me. Anyway...

I'd been curious about it for many years, so finally I got to it, and alas it's every bit as bad as I expected it to be. Even Orson Welles as Potter is only a pale approximation of the genius of Lionel Barrymore in the original film. Even those who are not fans of Frank Capra or his holiday chestnut probably can grudgingly admit that it's filled with great performances by many of the greatest lead and character actors of the era, some (particularly Travers, Thomas Mitchell, Barrymore, and star James Stewart) doing career-defining work. For me Stewart's performance as George Bailey remains my favorite in film history, and I think George Bailey is one of the most well-defined and "complete" characters in cinema. I will admit certainly that it's an interesting choice to switch genders and have Marlo Thomas play "Mary Bailey" as the star of the show - though this make for some awkward historical revisionism as nobody at all (apart from Potter in a couple of brief digs) seems to find it odd for a woman to be a bank president in a small town in the 1920s - but Thomas is woefully over her head here and can't summon a tenth of the power, particularly in the darker scenes, that Stewart did. Leachman and Welles I mentioned; both great actors doing - to be kind - much lesser work here than we normally see. Barney Martin as Uncle Willie isn't going to make anyone forget Thomas Mitchell though he may have the worst toupee in film (at least TV film) history; the rest of the cast which includes Wayne Rogers and Doris Roberts is mostly just bland. About 75% of the dialogue is word-for-word unchanged, but with a 20-minute shorter run time a lot had to be cut, which mostly turns out to be large chunks of "character" stuff such as most of the Ma Bailey and Violet Bick roles. Well, they didn't have Beulah Bondi or Gloria Grahame so maybe that was for the best, but it brings up the biggest problem in the film in terms of narrative and effect: it's a much bleaker and less funny film, and given how depressing the central idea is, that a person would commit suicide because she believes her life is a failure, this is a story that needs some humor and fun as a balance. It's not supposed to be 4th-rate Bergman but that's closer to what this ends up being - and most Bergman has more lightness than we see here.

In sum, one of the worst remakes and worst Christmas films I've seen.
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#6

Post by matthewscott8 » December 15th, 2017, 6:22 pm

There is only one film that I traditionally watch at Christmas, Gone With The Wind. Not Christmas related in and of itself.

When I was a child the BBC used to put all the Tarzan movies on in the run up to Christmas. 1 a day. So I watched absolutely every one of those, and absolutely loved them to pieces. Rewatched Tarzan the Ape Man a couple of years ago and still stands up very well.

Traditionally we had James Bond movies on at Christmas too. On Her Majesty's Secret Service is set at Christmas, I enjoy watching that, especially when Diana Rigg in all her splendour starts quoting that modified Flecker poem to Blofeld.

Also there was a He-man (the cartoon) movie or Christmas Special which I was always desperate to see.

I also like L'assassinat du Père Noël, although, despite the Christmas setting, it is not exactly what I'd call a Christmas movie!!

I just saw The Grinch for the first time, having noted your OP. Very good. Like it when his ears curl.
Last edited by matthewscott8 on December 15th, 2017, 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#7

Post by OldAle1 » December 15th, 2017, 6:45 pm

Interesting stuff. The point about the Tarzan and Bond movies being on is particularly neat, it ties in with some of my memories - not Christmas, where I really only remember Christmas-themed films showing every year, but Easter where we traditionally saw The Wizard of Oz alongside all of the Biblical epics. Why, I have no idea. My sister-in-law who grew up in Québec remembers seeing The Sound of Music every year, that's her Christmas classic, but I don't remember it being on then here in the midwest USA, in fact I think that might have been an Easter-time film as well.
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#8

Post by OldAle1 » December 15th, 2017, 7:47 pm

2017 holiday viewing 3: Siworae / Il Mare (Hyun-seung Lee, 2000)

This is probably only marginally a "Christmas" movie by most people's standards, but given that it starts just before Christmas and those holiday themes of love, hope, charity, forgiveness, looking back and forward, whatever are all part of it...what the hell. It's part of a small but interesting little subgenre of time-travel-fantasy involving two people communicating with each other while chronologically separated, in this case by two years. Two people occupy the same fascinating little seaside cabin in the winters of 1997-8 and 1999-2000, writing letters to each other and dropping them in the odd ancient-looking mailbox outside, where they are magically transported to each other. The same basic theme is present in another South Korean film from the same year, Donggam / Ditto, in the American film Frequency, also from 2000 (millenial thinking backwards and forwards, I guess); Siworae was later remade as the American film The Lake House; and we have this idea pop up again in last year's anime Kimi no na wa / Your Name. Having *loved* the latter film and liked all the other examples, I guess this is a subgenre/theme I need to look into more. Anyway, the couple here (it's usually a romantic or potentially romantic couple of course) are Jung-jae Lee, an architecture student who has decided he'd rather be a laborer, and Ji-hyun Jun, a radio story actress who suffered a sad breakup and is prone to moroseness and self-doubt. Both leads are very attractive and charismatic and that's much of the battle here, the storyline goes in a fairly predictable route but the energy of the leads, the photography and settings work pretty well and it was pretty enjoyable overall - a "Christmas miracle" in theme, I guess you could say.
Last edited by OldAle1 on December 15th, 2017, 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#9

Post by maxwelldeux » December 15th, 2017, 9:03 pm

My wife and I usually watch a German masterpiece, which roughly translates as "The Hard" or its sequel, "The Harder"

I'm not really a Christmas person, so watching John McClane kick ass at roughly Christmas time, is about as cheerful as I get.

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#10

Post by 3eyes » December 16th, 2017, 3:44 am

when I was a kid usually we had Christmas with relatives who lived at a distance, and going to a movie theater (the only option) was the farthest thing from our minds. Ergo, Christmas and movies don't mix for me.

I first saw It's a wonderful life in a theater in the summer, and have never regarded it as a Christmas film.

On my amazon queue at present are:

Mr. Mcgoo's Christmas Carol
Christmas in Connecticut

neither of which I've seen.
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#11

Post by RBG » December 16th, 2017, 5:56 am

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#12

Post by Good_Will_Harding » December 21st, 2017, 8:20 pm

Been slacking a lot more in this category than I was initially expecting to. Work has been piling up lately (not complaining, though; the job I have now is a thousand times better than where I was working this time last year) so I haven't been able to set aside time for much more than newer releases and such. That said, I did a back-to-back viewing of the first two Home Alone films at a friend's house recently and have nearly identical thoughts on both: they were crucial staples of my childhood holiday viewings since I grew up in the 90's, but I'd be lying if I said I still view them with the same reverence as I did way back when. They each have their moments of both solid comedy and some lighter, touching scenes but overall are pretty idiotic and pandering all the way through. Mixed feelings overall towards both, but not without their charms, however fleeting they seem now.

As for upcoming viewings, I just got The Shop Around the Corner from Netflix - the first time I'd be watching it in well over a decade. Now if only I could remember to watch it before Christmas...
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#13

Post by AdamH » December 21st, 2017, 8:50 pm

I've watched The Snowman every Christmas since I can remember (I think it's normally shown on Christmas Eve, actually).

I've seen other Christmas themed films but there's nothing else I'd watch each year like that.

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#14

Post by RBG » December 21st, 2017, 8:56 pm

i'll watch ferrara's R Xmas :smiliz19:
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#15

Post by XxXApathy420XxX » December 21st, 2017, 9:27 pm

RBG on Dec 21 2017, 01:56:31 PM wrote:i'll watch ferrara's R Xmas :smiliz19:
Best Christmas film
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#16

Post by outdoorcats » December 22nd, 2017, 1:53 am

Tangerine is actually a pretty good Christmas film.

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#17

Post by OldAle1 » December 22nd, 2017, 6:42 am

2017 Holiday Viewing 4: Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah Chechik, 1989)

I first watched this in 2010 or so; yes, I was around when it was originally released, and in fact it was during the height of my moviegoing period (which lasted roughly from '88-97). And I lived in Chicago, worked on the North Shore in John Hughes territory, which may be one part of why I've never warmed to most of his films, though the main part might be that they tend to celebrate assholes and stupidity. At any rate this film and Planes Trains and Automobiles are the two films that I genuinely like that have Hughes' name on them, and I'm not sure why. I also tend to dislike his brand of schmaltz, and you'd think it'd be most obnoxious in a couple of holiday-themed films. But Planes Trains is saved by John Candy's extraordinary presence, and Christmas Vacation is likewise - astonishingly enough - saved by the presence of Chevy Chase in modern-day George Bailey form. There are a lot of flaws here, the comedy is way too broad and slapstick at times - it's an uneven mesh of comedy and pathos for sure - but for whatever reason I really connect with Clark Griswold here, and to a small extent in the other films in the series as well. It's the role Chase - an actor I normally really dislike - was born to play and he develops the pathology of the put-upon guy who wants everything (irrationally) perfect beautifully. Best scene is probably the moment where he goes nutso on finding out that he's not getting his bonus, though all of the scenes with Mae Questel are classic as well.
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#18

Post by maxwelldeux » December 22nd, 2017, 8:39 am

A Christmas Story (1983)

I'm not a Christmas person. But my wife was giving away our copy of this movie, so I figured I had to watch it. We watched it once ~Christmas 2015, and I HATED the film. Part of it was my inherent bias of not liking or relating to children, but another part was that I just found the plot boring. Well, I watched again to give it a fair shake (I've learned quite a bit about film from this forum since my last watch), and had a better appreciation for it. [At the risk of revealing too much, yes, I was under the influence of adult substances when I watched it.] What finally clicked for me this time is that it's a movie from the perspective of a child - yes, everything in there is over-exaggerated and slightly ridiculous, but that's the way a young boy would see it. I think my favorite scene was the imagination sequence where he's shooting the robbers with his BB gun - I remember feeling like an 8yo badass who could take on anything, and that scene was a fun reminder of just how ridiculous I was.

Still didn't particularly care for the film. But I did appreciate it a whole lot more than I did the first time.

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#19

Post by xianjiro » December 23rd, 2017, 10:07 am

In case someone prefers a bit more blood and gore, The 12 Best Christmas Horror Movies. I think most are supposed to be on Netflix though Google might be lying (and Netflix is only mentioned in a sidelink).

:guns: :smiliz19:

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#20

Post by maxwelldeux » December 23rd, 2017, 10:17 am

Puppies Crash Christmas (2017)

A cinematic masterpiece available on Hulu US. Take a room with a fireplace and a Christmas tree and decorations and everything. Add in 6-12 puppies. Film.

That was the formula for this one. It was so unbelievably cute that Wife and I kept making our "OMG! Cute Dogs!" noises, which our dogs interpreted as "OMG! We're being so cute! Let's bark and play!" This was among the most adorable 34 minutes I've spent in a long time. Our dogs were not thrilled we were paying so much attention to the TV screen and so little attention to them. Somehow, they managed to survive the 34 minutes of neglect by only being petted and snuggled instead of ALL the play time to which they thought there were entitled.

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#21

Post by OldAle1 » December 23rd, 2017, 8:00 pm

2017 Holiday Viewing 5: A Christmas Story (Bob Clark) (re-watch)

Interesting take from maxwell above. I too was unimpressed the first time I saw this, I'm thinking probably Christmas 1990 on VHS. For whatever reason I missed this on the big screen when it came out; I was in my first year in college at the time but I wasn't working all that hard and I was certainly still seeing movies and I believe I was just as enamored of some of the holiday trappings then. But I missed it. The first viewing was with my second girlfriend, who *LOVED* it and had seen it several times before; she strongly disliked It's a Wonderful Life, my favorite, so maybe that was part of it. And she had more of a taste for broad comedy (she also loved John Candy who I detested at the time), and our relationship was always problematic - so for these and other reasons the film did nothing for me at the time. I don't know if I watched it again in the 90s but since 2000 it has become a fixture for me and I love it more every time.

This viewing was notable for the DVD ceasing to work right at the halfway point; I believe this is the first time I've ever had a DVD that I bought new go blooey on me. Sad. So a couple of nights later I got out the library BluRay and finished it. One of the great appeals for me is the beautiful, nearly perfect depiction of time and place. I wasn't around in 1939, but I did have older relatives who lived in suburban Chicagoland in a house much like the one in the film (just a little nicer and larger) in a neighborhood that looked like it was built at about the same time (1900-1920); and I spent my first 7 years and years 17-30 in and around Chicago, and though this was filmed in Cleveland and Toronto it gets the feel of the older suburban Chicago are just right. And there are certainly other personal elements for me - I wanted a BB gun as a kid also, though my parents were even more over-protective than Ralphie's and I didn't get one until much older. But mostly it's just impeccably put together, very funny, and anchored by great performances with Darren McGavin doing once-in-a-lifetime work as The Old Man.
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#22

Post by flaiky » December 23rd, 2017, 9:22 pm

I also watched A Christmas Story this morning, my second viewing. I think it's a real classic in the US, right? That's not the case over here, in fact I'd never even heard of it before I started posting on IMDB and it entered the top 250. But it fully deserves that status - it's such a fun and charming little film that perfectly captures the essence of childhood (in its intentionally exaggerated way). The whole family is great but I think Randy makes me laugh the most; the scene where he's wrapped up in his winter gear is just hilarious. I was also cracking up at the Santa scene.

Yeah, I could see this becoming a personal favourite.

Top 10 Xmas films would be something like:

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (totally agree with you, Dr Seuss was a genius)
2. Bad Santa
3. A Christmas Story
4. It's a Wonderful Life
5. Love Actually
6. The Muppet Christmas Carol
7. Miracle on 34th Street
8. The Shop Around the Corner
9. Gremlins
10. Home Alone (mostly for the nostalgia, but it still works)

The main "non-Chrismassy films that I associate with Christmas and watch nearly every year" are The Sound of Music, Gone With the Wind, and several Pixar films, especially Toy Story. These are aalways shown on TV over here.
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#23

Post by RBG » December 23rd, 2017, 11:50 pm

donovan's reef still has the best christmas scene. 3 godfathers more of a christmas film though

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#24

Post by AdamH » December 24th, 2017, 1:31 am

I didn't know anything about A Christmas Story growing up (don't think it's well known here at all). Watched it a few years ago and I didn't understand why it's seemingly so important in the US. I didn't think it was terrible but certainly not great.

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#25

Post by Good_Will_Harding » December 24th, 2017, 7:12 am

Carol (2015 - Todd Haynes)

This is definitely a Christmas film - I've made an executive decision and will hear none other! Anyhow, a re-watch for me, first time viewing it in full since its initial run in theaters round early 2016. I liked it a lot back then but for wasn't able to fully embrace it in the way I was maybe hoping to, for a variety of potential reasons: back then I was working a job I really disliked and at six days a week no less, so that effected my overall mood a great deal during that time (and looking back on that period of my life and realizing how much time I wasted and how much it impacted my mental health can be a lot to deal with - hence my bringing it up here out of nowhere ;) ). Plus, I was probably caught up in the hype of the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which turned out to be much better than I was expecting, and was also pretty much the only film related/pop culture released thing that anybody I knew of had wanted to talk about for weeks after its release.

Back to Carol, I must say that this recent revisiting of it improved it a great deal for me. I think another reason why it didn't totally click with me at first was that I was on some level constantly comparing it to Todd Haynes' very similar Far From Heaven, which I still consider to be his best work, but maybe sizing them up side by side isn't the smartest move, given their tonal and stylistic differences. Free from any comparisons to past films and outside personal baggage, I was able to now fully dive into the world of Carol and I got completely swept up in it. While I don't see the rest of the country embracing this as a new Christmas classic, I very well might make it a brand new holiday staple or tradition. We'll have to see how future years pan out.

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#26

Post by albajos » December 24th, 2017, 1:06 pm

So which of the A Christmas Carols are the best one. I think many would go for the 51 version, but personally I'd go for the 84 one

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#27

Post by OldAle1 » December 24th, 2017, 7:29 pm

outdoor - didn't know Tangerine was set at this time but thanks for the reminder, had meant to see it for a while anyway.

RBG -

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GWH -

Carol was an interesting experience for me; I was mixed-positive all the way through, but then a couple of scenes near the end, particularly the very last scene, just wrecked me. I wanted to see it a second time but of course it wasn't around long enough; there probably isn't another film from the last 5 years that I did not rate 9 or 10 that I'm more interested in re-visiting, and I loved Haynes' latest which makes it even more a priority. But it probably won't be today or tomorrow alas.
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#28

Post by maxwelldeux » December 24th, 2017, 7:32 pm

albajos on Dec 24 2017, 06:06:52 AM wrote:So which of the A Christmas Carols are the best one. I think many would go for the 51 version, but personally I'd go for the 84 one
I grew up on the '84 version with George C. Scott. Every year on Christmas Eve, we'd watch it. My parents have it again this year.

What was interesting about this growing up, though, is that my parents recorded it off TV. When it was produced with "limited commercial interruptions" by IBM. So interspersed with A Christmas Carol were commercials for state-of-the-art IBM wares. From 1984. This made the viewing experience increasingly hilarious every year. The copy my parents have this year is still the '84 version, but without the IBM commercials, so it just won't be the same.

I'm also partial to the 1983 "Mickey's Christmas Carol", based purely on memories from my childhood.

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#29

Post by OldAle1 » December 24th, 2017, 7:32 pm

albajos on Dec 24 2017, 06:06:52 AM wrote:So which of the A Christmas Carols are the best one. I think many would go for the 51 version, but personally I'd go for the 84 one
I'd have to go with Alastair Sim '51 myself, but George C. Scott '84 isn't too far behind. The 30s versions are rather mediocre; I don't much like the 1970 musical Scrooge, nor are any of the short TV animated versions that I've seen - Mickey, Mr. Magoo, etc - all that great, though Magoo has some charm. Don't remember caring for the Muppets film that much either though my recollection of it is limited. I actually liked the Jim Carrey/Robert Zemeckis mo-cap version a lot more than most folks though it certainly isn't a favorite, wouldn't mind seeing it again though I suspect it might not hold up.
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#30

Post by OldAle1 » December 24th, 2017, 7:36 pm

Oh and I like Scrooged with Bill Murray more every time I see it though it's still not one of my faves. Certainly the Lee Majors opening is awesome though

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#31

Post by OldAle1 » December 24th, 2017, 7:57 pm

2017 holiday viewings 6-9: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Chuck Jones, 1966) and three TV Christmas episodes from the early days

Grinch doesn't need much from me; it's been a perpetual favorite since I first saw it in the late 60s or early 70s, it's the one thing I just have to watch every single year, and the combination of Karloff, Seuss and Jones is one of the greatest triple threats in film/tv/animation history. I love how the animation looks like an even blend of writer and director, though there are moments that reflect more on one than the other, like the Grinch's sideways glance early one that could easily substitute for Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck or Elmer Fudd. Can't find the exact image but Looney Tunes fans will know...

The Beveryly Hillbillies - "Christmas at the Clampetts" (December 1963, dir. Richard Whorf) - the Clampetts get a whole bunch of presents that they just don't understand the uses of, like a TV and wetsuits. Ellie Mae wants to give Mrs. Drysdale a mink - a live mink, of course. I used to watch this show in re-runs in the 70s, probably mostly in the hopes of seeing Ellie Mae wearing something skimpy; it doesn't really hold up and I'm not sure that the homespun, honest morality of Jed Clampett and his kin make up for the broad stereotyping of rural culture. Still, there are plenty of worse sitcoms from the era.

The Jack Benny Program - "Jack Does Christmas Shopping" (December 1954, dir Ralph Levy) Jack debates endlessly over whether to buy a really nice wallet ($40 - probably about $500 bucks today, that's a fucking nice wallet, even in Beverly Hills) or a cheapo, arguing ad infinitum with harassed clerk Mel Blanc, who totally makes this skit. I'm not the biggest Benny fan and probably never will be but this was watchable enough and has an ending that probably wouldn't fly on network tv today, or even in the 70s or 80s.

The Jack Benny Program - "New Year's Eve" (1961, dir Ralph Levy) - Jack narrates the story of a previous NY that didn't go as planned, where he spent the evening with Rochester, date-less and morose. Not really that interesting though it's nice to see more of Rochester here.

Overall these "classic" TV Christmas episodes were rather tiresome, probably good that I didn't bother with the Ozzie & Harriet episodes on the same disc. I tend to like a lot of older TV, but most sitcoms prior to the late 60s, apart from The Honeymooners, just don't cut it for me.
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#32

Post by weirdboy » December 24th, 2017, 8:11 pm

No fans of "Die Hard" I guess.

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#33

Post by OldAle1 » December 24th, 2017, 8:14 pm

weirdboy on Dec 24 2017, 01:11:14 PM wrote:No fans of "Die Hard" I guess.
Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.
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#34

Post by joachimt » December 24th, 2017, 9:51 pm

So it's Christmas Eve and I just randomly put on one of the unwatched DVD's. In the very first scene Santa Claus came down through the chimney...... and then another one...... and another one..... and another one, etc...... I had no idea I was about to watched something related to Christmas, pure coincidence. It looks like that was all the Christmas related stuff in the whole movie though.
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#35

Post by OldAle1 » December 24th, 2017, 10:03 pm

joachimt on Dec 24 2017, 02:51:42 PM wrote:So it's Christmas Eve and I just randomly put on one of the unwatched DVD's. In the very first scene Santa Claus came down through the chimney...... and then another one...... and another one..... and another one, etc...... I had no idea I was about to watched something related to Christmas, pure coincidence. It looks like that was all the Christmas related stuff in the whole movie though.
Ha!

It is interesting how omnipresent Christmas is in most western cultures, though I suspect it peaks in the USA. When I worked in video stores in the 90s we always did Christmas displays and I always put up the display of "not-really-Christmas" movies like Die Hard, Brazil, etc. It would be interesting to generate a list of as many films as possible that actually take place at Christmastime and have at least one obvious visual reference to the holiday - but are not really Christmas films overall. I think the number would be pretty enormous.
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#36

Post by xianjiro » December 24th, 2017, 10:21 pm

maxwelldeux on Dec 24 2017, 12:32:11 PM wrote:
albajos on Dec 24 2017, 06:06:52 AM wrote:So which of the A Christmas Carols are the best one. I think many would go for the 51 version, but personally I'd go for the 84 one
I grew up on the '84 version with George C. Scott. Every year on Christmas Eve, we'd watch it. My parents have it again this year.

What was interesting about this growing up, though, is that my parents recorded it off TV. When it was produced with "limited commercial interruptions" by IBM. So interspersed with A Christmas Carol were commercials for state-of-the-art IBM wares. From 1984. This made the viewing experience increasingly hilarious every year. The copy my parents have this year is still the '84 version, but without the IBM commercials, so it just won't be the same.

I'm also partial to the 1983 "Mickey's Christmas Carol", based purely on memories from my childhood.
and the Muppet Christmas Carol

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#37

Post by xianjiro » December 24th, 2017, 10:23 pm

OldAle1 on Dec 24 2017, 12:36:29 PM wrote:Oh and I like Scrooged with Bill Murray more every time I see it though it's still not one of my faves. Certainly the Lee Majors opening is awesome though
The Night the Reindeer Died looks so horribly awesome. Yes, Scrooged is the only version of Christmas Carol I'd consider watching today/tomorrow, but I'm not doing much rewatching these days as there are so many first time checks to do. :guns:
Last edited by xianjiro on December 24th, 2017, 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#38

Post by maxwelldeux » December 24th, 2017, 10:57 pm

OldAle1 on Dec 24 2017, 01:14:55 PM wrote:
weirdboy on Dec 24 2017, 01:11:14 PM wrote:No fans of "Die Hard" I guess.
Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.
Heh. Die Hard is my Christmas tradition - Wife and I will definitely be watching it tomorrow. Just haven't posted about it yet.

Some friends of ours throw a (mostly) annual Christmas party, and people generally dress up in Christmas garb. The last time they had the party, my "costume" was wearing a plain gray shirt that had "Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho" written on it in washable paint. I refused to run into the store with my wife while wearing that shirt.

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#39

Post by RBG » December 25th, 2017, 1:15 am



happy holidays everybody :party:
icm + ltbxd

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#40

Post by OldAle1 » December 25th, 2017, 1:28 am

2017 holiday viewing 10: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (MoRon Howard, 2000)

I had avoided this sucker on account of a) not being that much of a Jim Carrey fan, b) an assumption that a feature-length live-action expansion of a very short book and animated short would bound to be bloated and idiotic, and c) Ron Howard. Well, I've gotten to like Carrey more over the past decade (though I've still avoided many of his earlier dumbass comedies), and I found a film that fits category b) but is brilliant (Where the Wild Things Are), so I decided that despite my ongoing problems with c) I'd brave the film this year.

And boy am I...not glad I did. It actually starts out all right, the first half hour kept me somewhat intrigued, and the production design and costumes really are pretty great. And Carrey is adept at both channeling Boris Karloff and bringing his own plastic gifts to bear but...the songs are mostly awful, the maudlin sentimentality that Howard handles as poorly as usual, the stupid and terribly uncreative backstory developed for the Grinch, and the very tiresome action sequences and attempts at comedy got me waiting for this to end by the 50 minute mark, unfortunately only halfway. Ron Howard wins another round in the battle to be OldAle's Least-Favorite Generally Well-Regarded Director since 1980 over perennial contender John Hughes.

In short, shit.
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