12 Films of Christmas 2020 (Part 2)

Hohoho, and a good evening to you (it’s evening where I am at the time of writing, shut up). So anyway, shall we continue with this silly little series of mine.

’twas the night before christmas and all throughout the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Okay, that was not right, as there were actually two siblings up all night. Waiting for Santa all of his toys, so to not get caught by him they shouldn’t make noise. But for there to be some plot, their plan works out not. So now the siblings must give a hand, to help Santa save christmas all across the land. Aaaaaand I can’t keep that up anymore, back to non-rhyming jackass Markus. But yeah, I think you get the gist of the plot for “The Christmas Chronicles”. It’s a fairly standard kids’ christmas adventure film narrative, that has some nice moments throughout. And the two kids playing the siblings are really good in their roles. They deliver their lines well, they have good chemistry, and they even bring some nice charisma to proceedings. But that’s enough of that, let’s talk about the main event here.
KURT FUCKING RUSSELL PLAYS SANTA CLAUS. I swear, the pitch meeting probably went something like
“So imagine Santa Claus… ”
“Yeah?”
“But Kurt Russell!”
“Here’s moneys”.
Who knows, maybe I’m wrong. But it sure feels that way. Like I said, the narrative doesn’t do much to stand out, but it manages to still pop a bit within the crowd of holiday hijinks thanks to Kurt Russell. He brings that rugged charm of his to this role, and it is endlessly entertaining to watch. Every time he was on screen, I smiled. He is terrific, I don’t know how else to put it.
So to try to tie this present together, “The Christmas Chronicles” is a fun enough family adventure that stands out thanks to Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. It is maybe a little too long, but overall it’s still a fun enough little holiday adventure on Netflix.

On the second day of christmas, this film in my mind seared
The image of Kurt Russell’s glorious beard

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Final Part)

It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. The final part in this year’s 12 Days of Christmas series. It’s been fun, but it’s time for it to come to an end. So let’s go out on a note.

I was considering going with “Jingle All the Way” for this last one, as it was on tv earlier. But then I decided against it because I’d prefer to not get annoyed by a movie on christmas fucking eve. So instead I went with a different thing that was on tv, something that airs every year, same Bat-time, same Bat-channe- damn it, wrong old thing. This is “From All of Us, to All of You”. In this interesting piece of Disney animation, Mickey Mouse and Jiminy Cricket host a sort of christmas show in which they give us some “christmas cards” from various characters. These “cards” are short films, some actually christmas related, and some just clips from movies like “Cinderella” and “The Jungle Book”. And for some unknown reason, it has aired on Swedish television every year since 1960. So yeah, living here in Sweden all my life, I’m kind of familiar with this. I feel nostalgic about seeing it, but at the same time it almost gets a bit same-y, since nothing new is added. Okay, I lied, at the end they show clips from new/upcoming Disney movies, but other than that, it’s the same thing as always, with only minor edits throughout the years. That said, there’s something a bit nice and warm about it, and it brings a nice sense of joy every time I see it. “From All of Us, To All of You” is a charming little compilation with a fascinating legacy.

On the last of christmas’ days, Markus wishes your ass, happy holidays, and a merry fucking christmas.

12 Films of Christmas (Final Part)

We’re finally here, guys. The final part of this silly series of mine. We’ve talked about all kinds of christmas cheer. From the obnoxiously sweet “Elf”, to the not very cheerful “Bad Santa”, to the commercialism-critiquing “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, to the explosive and and violent “Die Hard”. It’s really been fun doing this.

This whole thing started with “The Grinch”, so it will end with “The Grinch”. It’s christmastime in Whoville, and everyone in town is overly excited for the holiday. Except for little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) who just doesn’t get what the point of it all is. Oh, and the Grinch (Jim Carrey) hates it too. So he cooks up a vile plan to steal christmas from the people of Whoville. And is this any good? It’s… okay. I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like it’s one of the greatest christmas movies of all time, but I don’t think it’s one of the worst either. The biggest problem is that it takes a classic 25-minute long story and extend the runtime while also “modernizing” it. From 25, to 140. From simple humor about stealing christmas, to weird, early 2000s humor. Ron Howard directed this, but that’s quite difficult to tell. You could’ve told me that this was directed by Jerry Generic, and I would’ve believed you. It’s more concerned with weird late 90s/early 2000s filmmaking tricks rather than being interesting or making sense. Anyway, is there anything I like about this. Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Not only is the makeup/costume amazing, but his shtick works surprisingly well… even though it’s just Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey while wearing a Grinch costume. But he’s still enjoyable in the role. Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who is adorable, and her performance is good… so that’s a plus. And there are some jokes here that land. Also, I like Anthony Hopkins’ narration. Not because it’s “inspiring” or “entertaining”, but more because I imagine it being Hannibal Lecter reading the story to one of his victims, and that makes this entire ordeal a bit more fun. So yeah, “The Grinch”… it’s average.

What are your thoughts on “The Grinch”? And what’s your favorite Jim Carrey movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Merry christmas, happy holidays, and have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 11)

We are at the penultimate part of this silly series of mine. Have you enjoyed reading these? Because I’ve enjoyed writing them and would like to hear from you what you think. Anyhow, let’s get into the main event here.

Some say it’s not a christmas movie. And to those I say stop arguing against the truth… “Die Hard” is a christmas movie! John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a New York cop who has traveled to Los Angeles to see his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and kids for christmas. However his visit gets a bit more troublesome when a group of terrorists led by the charismatic Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) attack the christmas party that John has found himself at. So now John has to take out these terrorists with nothing but a gun and his wits. And yeah, I fucking love “Die Hard”. Directed by John McTiernan, this 1988 movie is a masterpiece of action filmmaking. It’s exciting and tense, while still having a sense of fun to it. The movie has an almost claustrophobic feeling with John sneaking around in vents and elevator shafts around the Nakatomi building, trying to find a way to stop these terrorists. It’s also nice to watch a movie where Bruce Willis actually gives a shit about acting. His performance here is great as the beat and somewhat bitter New York cop who gets dragged into such a tense and scary situation, making for some really entertaining scenes. And rest in peace Alan Rickman, you were great as Hans Gruber, sir. One of the best movie villains of all time. Blood, cursing, guns, explosions, fun and interesting characters… “Die Hard” is an action classic and one of the greatest christmas movies ever.

What are your thoughts about “Die Hard”? And what’s your favorite of the sequels? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Yippe-ki-yay, motherfucker… I mean, have a good one!

12 Films of Christmas (Part 10)

Part ten. The tenth part. We’ve seriously already gone through ten parts in this series. I’ve said it before, but time sure flies. Wow. Anyway, let’s get into it.

Family. Facing your fears. Deadly traps. These are the central themes of christmas classic “Home Alone”. Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) lives in a troubled home. And when he’s supposed to go on vacation to France with his family, his family forgets him and he gets left alone at home. And he soon have to defend his home from a pair of bumbling thieves (Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern). And yeah, “Home Alone” is great. It’s a good movie for teaching lessons about family and how you should learn to confront your fears and to be a good person and blah blah blah, we all know why we’re watching “Home Alone” every year, and it’s to see two thieves get knocked around by some really clever and fun traps set out by a little kid. Yes, the lessons in this are heartfelt and good, but they’re not what people watch this for. We’re here for slapstick, and then we get some heartfelt lessons in the meantime. This movie could’ve probably gotten away with just being a silly holiday comedy featuring traps and slapstick and stuff, but the filmmakers actually gave a damn and put in a lot of effort to make a movie that resonates on multiple levels. So yeah, “Home Alone” is great.

What do you think about “Home Alone”? And what’s your favorite trap from the movie? Leave any and all answers in the comments.
Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 9)

Holy shit, we’re already nine part into this silly series. That means there are only three parts left… damn, time sure does fly.

Out of all the movies I’ve done for this so far, this is the only one I had set from the start since it’s a yearly tradition for me to do on the 21st of December every year. The movie (if you didn’t know from the image, you cave dweller) is “The Nightmare Before Christmas”. Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the pumpkin king, the very face of this magical place called Halloween Town. He has however gotten quite tired of Halloween and want something new in (after)life. Then one day while walking through the woods he stumbles upon a portal that leads him to Christmas Town, and this gives him the idea to take on christmas. And as you probably gathered from the opening of this paragraph, I love this movie, it’s one of my favorites. It has a fun story, fantastic animation from Henry Selick and his team, catchy songs, and some of the most memorable character designs in any movie ever. From the second I hear the opening notes to “This is Halloween”, it sucks me right into it and I am happy that it does. Out of every christmas movie available out there, this is my personal favorite.

What do you think about “The Nightmare Before Christmas”? And what’s your favorite Tim Burton movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one!

12 Films of Christmas (Part 8)

Only a couple of days left until christmas, which means only a couple more of these left. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts so far, because I’ve had fun making them. Anyway, enough of that semi-sentimental crap, time to talk about a movie.

Today we’re not talking about your typical single-narrative movie, but rather an anthology. Today we are talking about “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”. The stories in this don’t really have anything in common other than being about christmas and starring various Disney characters. Other than that, the only thing stringing them together is some narration by Kelsey Grammer. That’s right, Frasier doing the typical whimsy and inspiring holiday movie narration… just the idea of that makes me laugh. But he does a good job of it. Anyhow, what are these about then.

The first story is about Huey, Dewey, and Louie (all voiced by Russi Taylor) being all excited about christmas, and at the end of the day making a wish about wanting christmas every day… and that wish comes true. Every consecutive day after that is now December 25th, with the same chain of events. As expected, they soon learn that this gets a bit dull after a while, which makes them try to shake things up and that’s all you get for plot. It’s a simple plot with a simple lesson. But there’s enough decent jokes and scenes here to keep you, or at least a child entertained. I think my favorite part about it might’ve been hearing the great Alan Young (may he rest in peace) as Scrooge. He doesn’t really get any great lines, but that voice just makes everything he says something amazing. The other cast members also do well and help make this a fun little story.

The second part is about Goofy (Bill Farmer) and his son Max (Shaun Fleming) waiting for Santa Claus and being really excited for his arrival. But their excitement gets halted a bit when Pete (Jim Cummings) tells Max that there is no Santa. And this is a good short. It features the typical Goofy humor (some great, some meh), and a surprising amount of heart. There are scenes that really tugged on my heartstrings, and really made me feel for the characters and their situations. The end of the story is a bit of a cop-out since it gives a definitive answer to the “is there a Santa Claus” question. I’d have preferred a bit more ambiguity in that sense, but this is still a good short. And admittedly it has a really good joke in there that made me laugh quite hard. Funny, heartfelt, charming, this is a good short.

The third and final short is a Disney version of “The Gift of the Magi”. In this we have Mickey (Wayne Allwine, R.I.P) and Minnie (Russi Taylor) wanting to buy each other something really special for christmas, but neither of them have any money. So they try to find some way to get these gifts for each other and I won’t spoil the rest. It’s a cute story with some heartfelt moments to it. It has some okay humor in it, and the drama did suck me in a little bit. Overall it is good.

“Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” is a fun and charming collection of shorts that may not bring much for an adult viewer, but it’s still fun and perfect for younger audience members. I’ll give it this: They have put a surprising amount of effort/money into this for a direct-to-video christmas thing. They didn’t have to do that, but they did, and we got some really good animation thanks to that. Really, this is good.

What are your thoughts on “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”? And who’s your favorite Disney character? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 7)

’twas the night before christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for that asshole mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes they would have presents and not an angry bear. It was the seventh part of this silly thing, so let’s get into it before our heads start aching.

A christmas. A time for family, fun, and friends. These are some of the central themes of “The Night Before”. Three friends (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie) decide to have one last hurrah before hanging up their crazy old christmas tradition for good. And we follow them as they sing karaoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, and go on crazy misadventures. And this is a fun movie. While it can feel a bit inconsistent at times, it’s a highly enjoyable movie with a good amount of funny humor throughout. Sure, a lot of it is the typical stoner/dick humor that one can expect from Seth Rogen movies. And while that can be hit and miss for some, I did laugh at it here. Not at every joke, but at most jokes. Some were chuckles, and some were gut-busting laughs. The three main actors all give good performances, and they have awesome chemistry with each other. All the other actors too are really funny. There’s also a surprisingly sweet message about friendship here that I did not expect at all. So while not perfect, this is a fun christmas movie that I do recommend.

What do you think about “The Night Before”? And what’s your favorite stoner movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 6)

Hello there. We’re now halfway into my 12 Films of Christmas series. Time sure flies. So let’s get into this.

So I kind of cheat with my definition of “Films” for this series, but I feel like christmas specials count since they’re never part of any major arc, but rather tend to be one-off stories, making them somewhat eligible for the “Films” definition. Why did I have to make such a convoluted explanation? Because I wanted to have an excuse to talk about “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for my series. So what’s this about then? Well, it’s christmas in *wherever the hell this is set*. However, Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) isn’t feeling the christmas spirit as he’s disgusted by how commercialized christmas has gotten. So this is really about him trying to find the meaning of christmas. All while he has been chosen to direct a christmas play featuring all the other kids… and Snoopy (Bill Melendez, R.I.P) of course. I haven’t seen this since I was like seven years old. And revisiting it I am actually loving it more than I did back then. I think this might be because I understand some of the critiques that Charlie Brown has about christmas and it’s rampant commercialization (a sentiment I share with him). It’s actually really clever and fascinating in that sense. I also of course love the animation. It’s simple, but it has a lot of charm to it. And the humor is so good in this too, especially the stuff from Snoopy who just steals every scene he’s in. Really, this holds up incredibly well and I highly recommend watching it, whether you’re a “Peanuts” fan or not. It’s great (and available on youtube!).

What do you think about “A Charlie Brown Christmas”? Who’s your favorite “Peanuts” character? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 5)

Time for part 5 of my 12 Films of Christmas series. And what better option now that the snow is here.

Snow. Magic. Rankin/Bass. That’s right, today we’re talking about 1969’s tv special “Frosty the Snowman”. When a magician’s hat lands on a snowman, it makes the snowman come to life. This snowman (Jackie Vernon) then goes on an adventure with some children to find the north pole so he doesn’t melt. All while the magician (Billy De Wolfe) is chasing them to get his seemingly magic hat back (’cause he’s a greedy fucker who just wants money). So is this any good? I think that if I was five or six years old, I would love this. But watching it for the first time as a 20-year old… yeah, it’s not great. It’s okay. The animation, while a bit awkward at times, is pretty good. Rankin/Bass clearly put effort into turning this classic christmas song into a 25-minute long short. I’m sure at least one person reading this might have nostalgic feelings for it. But I personally think it’s just okay. If you have a young child, then you could put this on and he/she would probably be entertained by it.

What are your thoughts on “Frosty the Snowman”? Is this something you’re nostalgic for? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.