The Gay Divorcee
Release Year: 1934
Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
“The Gay Divorcee“ was the second film to pair Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire together. The rumor goes that they were cast for this film because the audience loved the two of them together as side characters in “Flying Down to Rio“. Out of all their movies together, this is one of my favorites. It has an almost PG Wodehouse tone to the story that I absolutely love and is populated with so many wonderful character actors.
A Muppet Family Christmas
Release Year: 1987
Running Time: 47 minutes
A Muppet Family Christmas was a made for TV family special from the 80’s. We had this recorded directly from the TV on VHS and I used to drive my mom crazy watching it all the time. For a very young kid in the 80’s, this was like the holy grail of a Muppets movie. It features not only the Muppets, but characters from Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock too.
The plot goes thusly, Fozzie Bear and all his Muppet friends decide to spend Christmas at Fozzie’s unsuspecting mother’s farmhouse. When the Muppets show up, it’s to find the farmhouse rented to Doc (Gerard Parkes), as Fozzie’s mother had been planning to go on vacation. Deciding to give up her vacation, Fozzie’s mom convinces Doc to share the farmhouse with Fozzie and his friends. Things start to quickly start to get out of hand as, not long after the Muppets show-up, the gang from Sesame Street also randomly crashes the party. Soon the farmhouse is packed to the gils with muppets as a snowstorm starts. As the storm gets worse, Kermit begins to worry about Miss Piggy who is still traveling to the farmhouse to spend Christmas with everyone. Continue reading
Release Year: 1989
Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes
“Christmas Vacation” is my all-time favorite Christmas movie and the second holiday movie I’m featuring this month written by John Hughes (“Home Alone”, “Sixteen Candles”, etc.). I’m not a huge fan of the other “Vacation” movies, but this one is just fantastic and stands extremely well on its own.
The plot goes thusly, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is determined to host a good old fashioned family Christmas for his clan. So, he invites both sides of the family to come stay for the holidays, much to the chagrin of his wife and kids. Clark has the tendency to overdo things, which causes the simple traditions he has planned (hanging lights, getting a Christmas tree, etc.) to go awry. Things aren’t helped when cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) shows-up unexpectedly for the holidays and adds his own brand of crazy to the mix. Continue reading
Release Year: 1954
Running Time: 2 hours
For my second Christmas film pick, I decided to go with a movie that’s relatively new to me. Unlike “Home Alone”, I watched “White Christmas” for the first time last year and fell in love with how quaint it is.
The plot goes thusly, old war buddies, turned performers, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) go to a show featuring two sisters. Bob and Phil take a shining to the sisters and, after helping them sneak out of a performance, they end up at the same failing lodge in Vermont. When Bob and Phil discover that the place is owned by their old general, they team-up with the sisters to save the inn with a grand Christmas show.
Their show had everything but the kitchen sink.
Release Year: 1990
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
For the month of December I’m going to be highlighting my four favorite x-mas movies. These are films that I watch every year around Christmas to help get me in the spirit of the holiday.
Home Alone is an extremely nostalgic movie for me. It was the first film I can remember seeing in theaters and, for a certain time period, it seemed to be everywhere.
The plot goes thusly, the McCallister family is overrun with extended relatives as everyone prepares for a large trip to Paris for Christmas. After oversleeping, the family rushes to the airport. Mistakenly leaving young Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) behind.
People cannot run through airports like this anymore.
With the house all to himself, Kevin lives out every fantasy most kids have of what they’d do if they were left all to themselves. Kevin’s shenanigans are interrupted when two burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) try to rob the house. With everyone gone, Kevin takes it upon himself to defend the homestead.
The paint-can scenes were the most memorable for me.
This is a fun movie that has held up fairly well in the 25 years since it was first released. As a kid, I always loved everything that Kevin does the minute he discovers his family is gone. The snooping through his siblings things, eating junk food and messing with his parents stuff is something I think everyone can relate to wanting to do without consequences growing up. Add in Kevin’s slap stick booby traps to defend the house against robbers and this is a really fun movie that lets kids bask in the fantasy of being independent and playing the hero.
Even though the furnace scene always scared the bejeebus out of me as a kid.
Watching this again as an adult, I still find a lot to enjoy about it. It’s a great nostalgic watch that doesn’t talk down to its main audience. It’s also currently on Netflix, so stream away if you have a subscription.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
I hope you all enjoy the holiday. If you’re looking for something to watch that will put you in the spirit of the holiday and help fight back the X-mas stuff for one more day, here are my top 10 turkey day themed TV episodes that are available to stream on Netflix.
Buffy Season 4, “Pangs”
Season 4 was a little hit or miss, but this is a great episode. The gang (plus a captive Spike) find themselves suffering from a curse while Buffy tries to have a normal Thanksgiving.
Roseanne Season 2, “We Gather Together”
I absolutely love Roseanne. The show is probably best known for its Halloween episodes, but I have a deep affection for this Thanksgiving one. It does an excellent job of capturing the chaos of the holiday.
Both sides of the Dan and Roseanne’s family gather under one roof and do their best to drive each other crazy. Roseanne tries to just deal with it all and Jackie hides that she’s joined the police force from her parents.
Frasier Season 4, “A Lilith Thanksgiving”
I just recently got into Frasier. While this isn’t the best episode, it’s pretty entertaining. Niles and Marty are charged with watching Frasier’s son, Frederick, while Frasier and his ex-wife are off trying to impress someone. Continue reading
Halloween is slowly creeping up, so I thought I’d create a list of my favorite movies to watch around this time of the year.
Shaun and Ed
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
From IMDB: A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
Reason to watch: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are always a blast. Even if zombies aren’t necessarily your thing, I would still recommend giving this one a shot.
Morticia and Gomez
The Addams Family (1991)
From IMDB: Con artists plan to fleece the eccentric family using an accomplice who claims to be their long lost Uncle Fester.
Reason to Watch: I’m a huge fan of the tv series from the 60’s, but the movie adaptation from 1991 holds a special nostalgic place in my heart. I remember seeing it in theaters and going trick-or-treating with my cousin who dressed-up as Uncle Fester after the movie was released. But the chemistry between Morticia and Gomez is what has me watching this one every year. Continue reading