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General Discussion ***1st Annual(?) Very Merry HTF December Holiday Movie Challenge 2022*** (1 Viewer)

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4 1670885936152.png

14) 12/11/2022 You Better Watch Out (1980) 1670885936152.png 1670885936152.png

This cult favorite is part psychological drama, part slasher flick, and part whimsy. The final shot of the film makes one wonder if the whole thing had been a dream of the supposed killer. But the haphazard blending of several different tones is what makes You Better Watch Out a missed opportunity. Writer-director Lewis Jackson appears to have intentionally attempted making a cult film. Usually, that doesn’t work. Most cult films seem to be happy accidents. Sure, some filmmakers strive to make something offbeat, but that’s not the same thing. You Better Watch Out wants to be goofy and straight-faced at the same time, and it doesn’t work.

Brandon Maggart does a fine job playing a man obsessed with Santa. He keeps a Naughty and Nice book documenting the local children’s rights and wrongs. His own brother thinks he’s a total loser. Finally, one Christmas Eve, he snaps, ostensibly pushed over the edge by some business types who see Christmas solely from a profit perspective. He steals toys from the factory where he works, dons a Santa suit, paints a sleigh on the side of his van, and distributes gifts to needy children. But then he runs into some obnoxious adults, leaving a Christmas Eve church service no less, who tease him. That’s when the murders begin.

As good as Maggart is in the role of the killer Claus, his character is genuinely off-putting. We’re supposed to think he went nuts when, as a child, he saw Mommy doing more than just kissing Santa, unaware his father was the disguised playmate. But that doesn’t really translate into this sanctimonious, lone character who lives alone, mutters to himself, and stalks the local kids. It’s creepy, not endearing. Are we supposed to be cheering this guy on when he murders a co-worker who tricked him into taking his shift? Grow up, dude.

It’s telling this viewer had much more fun spotting the New York actors who would later regularly guest star on Law & Order. There are loads of them, including Jeffrey DeMunn, who plays the grouchy brother. This isn’t DeMunn at his best. He’s not particularly likeable either, although ultimately, he’s proved right in his thoughts about his sibling. But he’s so fever-pitch angry from the get-go that it’s hard to think much of him.

There are moments of suspense, shock, and humor in You Better Watch Out. But the film is clunky and feels half-formed. It fails at making the psycho the anti-hero we’re supposed to be cheering for by the end. (Also known as Christmas Evil.)
 
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Dave Moritz

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01) 11/19/2022 Polar Express (1992) 4K Bluray
02) 11/20/2022 The Santa Clauses E1 (2022) Disney +
03) 11/20/2022 The Santa Clause (1994) Disney +
04) 12/01/2022 The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) Disney +
05) 12/04/2022 Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) Bluray
06) 12/09/2022 The Grinch That Stole Christmas (2000) HBO Max
07) 12/11/2022 It's A Wonderful Life (1946) 4K Bluray
 

AlexF

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Dec 11 - Modern Family 1x10 - Undeck the Halls (2009) - Disney+
Dec 12 - Christmas Always Finds Its Way (ep. 1-3) (2022) - Prime
Dec 12 - Your Christmas or Mine (2022) - Prime


So, Christmas Always Finds Its Way is totally a Coke advertising thing, but it was actually surprisingly interesting. Three short films (~12m, ~10m, ~11m) made in Mexico, the United States, and France respectively.

The first short is called Alma and is set in a town where the residents work in a factory that makes Christmas ornaments year-round and has really lost its feel for Christmas. This one was in Spanish and totally felt like a Doctor Who show without the Doctor in it.

The second was Christmas Bites and was my favourite of the bunch. It features Linda bringing home her boyfriend Kevin to the family for Christmas. And Kevin's a vampire. Absolutely hysterical and utterly bizarre.

The third was Les Petits Mondes De Noël and takes place between a record store and a bookshop. It's definitely the one with the least dialogue and the most interesting cinematography of the three. Strange and French. VERY French.

And yes... all three feature the beverage in question in VERY obvious product placement. :)

Your Christmas or Mine is the new Asa Butterfield film. And it's a surprising amount of fun with references to Cluedo, The Queen, The Crown, and just about every other Christmas mixup RomCom out there. The credits are filled with fun Polaroids of Christmas Day dinner and tell a short story on their own.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I’m a little behind on my comments -

-I watched all of the “Frasier” Christmas episodes, which has been a tradition since 2019. I’m currently working on reviewing the new Blu-ray set, and I gotta say, it’s a very nice upgrade from the old standard definition broadcast masters. I like to ease into my Christmas season viewings with this show; most of the holiday stuff I watch winds up being solo but I can always get my wife to join me for these. There’s such a nice variety on the Frasier episodes - nothing hinting at the supernatural or divine or that breaks the format of the show - my favorites are probably Perspectives on Christmas (Niles climbs a Christmas tree in an elevator!) and Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz (I have Jewish and Christian heritage so I feel like I’m in on both sides of the joke), but they’re all good.

-Night Gallery “The Messiah of Mott Street” - I got the Night Gallery DVDs as a Christmas present years ago and have struggled to make my way through them, so this was a first time viewing. I absolutely love the Twilight Zone and that’s a top five show for me, but I just can’t get into Night Gallery. Nothing really clicks for me - the aesthetic is ugly, the writing obvious, the lengths overlong, the performances cloying. I hate that I don’t love this show but there it is. I love Edward G. Robinson normally but this was a bit much. Rod Serling’s script feels like getting hit over the head with a sledgehammer. However, Yaphet Kotto totally walks away with it in his few moments of screen time, and I’m glad I saw this episode on the basis of his contribution alone.

-Saturday Night Live: Steve Martin & Martin Short - I don’t often watch SNL these days but I knew these guys had been on it and they did a bunch of Christmas specials so I thought I’d check it out. All of the sketches with the hosts land well and it was worth the time.

-The Honeymooners “Christmas Party (1953)” - This was the third and final live performance of this specific holiday-themed sketch. Ralph Kramden is sidelined through most of the episode, allowing Jackie Gleason the chance to have his other prominent characters interact with the rest of the Honeymooners cast. It’s fun, frivolous and fits the performers like an old glove. Since the Honeymooners repeated a lot of the same material over their different runs, I tend to rotate these each year rather than trying to watch them all.
 

Tony Bensley

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Having spotted this 1st Annual Very Merry HTF December Holiday Movie Challenge this morning, I decided to jump in at this relatively late date. Here are my first 2 Christmas Holiday titles that I've viewed today:

1. The Monkees; Christmas Episode - This Season 2 episode, which first aired on Christmas Day 1967 features Butch Patrick as a spoiled impossible to please pre-adolescent, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike fall all over themselves trying to please him to no avail until they realize the one thing they didn't give him! Heartwarming episode!!

2.* Scrooge (1923) - Russell Thorndike stars as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this 26 minute 1923 silent short version of Dickens' immortal classic.

* means first time viewing.

CHEERS! :)
It occurs to me that in the month of December, I have previously viewed other holiday related programming not listed above, thus I shall do so, here!

1. The Twilight Zone; The Night Of The Meek (1960) - This Season 2 Episode, a longtime yuletide favorite, this time around, I had the added pleasure of viewing this on the reissued 2021 Complete Series Blu-ray set my son ordered from Amazon on their Cyber Monday special. As one of the infamous 6 Twilight Zone Videotaped Episodes, the visuals are never going to be razor sharp, but Art Carney's performance (As Henry Corwin) is every bit as endearing and heartwarming as ever! Also, if Dundee (John Fiedler) and Flaherty's exchange at episode's end doesn't warm your cockles, there's simply no holly in your heart!

2.* The Goldbergs; Worst Grinch Ever (2022) - This Season 10 episode from this long running '80s period family sitcom main (Though by no means, only!) focus is on the battle between Erica, who wants to celebrate Christmas, and her mom Beverly, who wants to uphold Hanukkah traditions. As with every Goldberg's episode, in the end family togetherness triumphs over the episodic squabbles.

3. The Monkees; Christmas Episode (1967) - This Season 2 episode, which first aired on Christmas Day 1967 features Butch Patrick as a spoiled impossible to please pre-adolescent, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike fall all over themselves trying to please him to no avail until they realize the one thing they didn't give him! Heartwarming episode!!

4.* Scrooge (1923) - Russell Thorndike stars as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this 26 minute 1923 silent short version of Dickens' immortal classic.

5.* Saturday Night Live; Season 48, Episode 8 - This week's co-hosts Steve Martin Short (Get it?) made for some worthwhile viewing, despite not reprising any of their made famous on SNL characters or skits (IE. Ed Grimley; King Tut.). As I viewed every sketch (Which included several that were yuletide themed!) and even both musical performances, I'm counting this one on my holiday viewing list!

* means first time viewing.
 

Wayne_j

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7) Batman Returns (1992) Theatrical
I saw this today at a local theater, it looked fantastic, the blacks were incredibly inky. After watching this, and Batman (1989) a couple of days ago I have to say that Michael Keaton had a tendency to let way too many people know about his secret identity. This film seriously looked better than most recent theatrical releases.
 

AlexF

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Dec 13 - The Santa Clauses ep. 4 (2022) - Disney+
Dec 13 - The Santa Clauses ep. 5 (2022) - Disney+


I had trouble with episode 4, in that it took me 2-3 days to get through it. But once I did? Flew threw episode 5. I like how this is playing out in a series. I can see the logic of doing it as a series in the way that it plays out in 20-30 minute segments.
 

AlexF

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Dec 14 - The Santa Clauses ep. 6 (2022) - Disney+
Dec 14 - Something From Tiffany's (2022) - Prime
Dec 14 - Lost at Christmas (2020) - Prime
Dec 15 - I Hate Christmas ep. 3 (2022) - Netflix
Dec 15 - I Hate Christmas ep. 4 (2022) - Netflix
Dec 15 - I Hate Christmas ep. 5 (2022) - Netflix
Dec 15 - I Hate Christmas ep. 6 (2022) - Netflix


Finished off the Santa Clauses. It finished (more or less) how I was expecting. Fun, and played out well overall to a good finish. And apparently renewed for season 2.

Something From Tiffany's... I was disappointed. It was decent, but not great. The trailers made it look more interesting than it was. The best line was something like "This played out differently in my head than I thought it would..."

Lost at Christmas... a Scottish film that was a bit slow and dreary and, for the most part, played out just as I expected it would. Then the ending was just... meh.

Finally got back to I Hate Christmas (the Italian remake of a Norwegian show and then dubbed in British accented English). Whipped through the last four episodes. It meandered a bit more than I had anticipated and finished on kinda a weird... almost downer. There were uplifting bits, but the series almost feels like it just peters out at the end of it all on the main storyline, though it does tie almost all of the side story threads together, so... that's something.

A bit too much of the bbno$ Edamame song through the series though,
 

John Stell

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Rating - Out of a possible 4 1671210141062.png

15) 12/12/2022 Ghostkeeper (1981)
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A trio of young twentysomethings are in the Canadian mountains to celebrate New Year's. A heavy snowfall, however, forces them to take shelter in a seemingly abandoned lodge. But they soon encounter the woman (Georgie Collins) who oversees the complex and she tells them they have to leave. They decide to stay, which is a very bad idea. Collins is terrific as the menacing housemother, and director Jim Makichuk builds a creepy atmosphere quite nicely. Unfortunately, the film burns too slowly so the film drags. Also, the sole male of the party is an arrogant, sexist, obnoxious jerk who wears out his welcome fairly quickly.

16) 12/15/2022 Gremlins (1984) 1671210141062.png 1671210141062.png 1671210141062.png 1/2

Inventor buys unique Christmas gift for his teenage son: a cute, troll-like creature dubbed Gizmo. Gizmo is a Mogwai and certain rules must followed: no bright light, sunlight is fatal; don't get them wet; and never feed them after midnight. The rules of course are (mostly unintentionally) broken, and before you know it there's a horde of violent, mischievous creatures terrorizing Kingston Falls on Christmas Eve. Hilarious dark comedy from director Joe Dante is a near-perfect amalgam of It's A Wonderful Life elements (Bedford Falls becomes Kingston Falls, Mr. Potter becomes Mrs. Deagle, etc.) and 1950s monster movies. Lots of in-jokes, sight-gags, neat cameos (including Chuck Jones) add to the fun. Warm cast has great chemistry. A good sequel followed but wasn't set around any holiday.
 

AlexF

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Dec 15 - I Believe in Santa (2022) - Netflix
Dec 16 - El Camino Christmas (2017) - Netflix


So... Netflix has been pushing the first one hard for the last few days since its release. There were bits of this movie that I really liked... and bits that had be totally flummoxed. Oddly, I think I enjoyed it more than it deserved due to some of the weirdly odd choices it made.

El Camino Christmas... No idea how I missed this when it came out. Kurtwood Smith? A line about Robocop when referring to him? That should be enough! Add in a manchild deputy in Dax Shepard, a drunken and power hungry Vincent D’Onofrio, an unhinged Tim Allen, a pregnant Jessica Alba, and Katy from Letterkenny? Sold!

Honestly, this is one of the best performances I've ever seen from Tim Allen, and the soundtrack is glorious, especially the insane version of 12 Days of Christmas over the closing credits sung by D'Onofrio himself...



I enjoyed the movie as a whole but the end credits song? Fantastic fun!
 

Adam Lenhardt

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(See my 2022 Summary for information on color coding and rating categories)

Little Women (2019) Poster


03) 12/17/2022 Little Women (2019) 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Greta Gerwig's adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's most acclaimed novel dials back the nostalgic warmth and places new emphasis on the March sisters' adult lives. I loved it when I saw it in theaters, and I loved it tonight.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I’m sorry I’m behind on adding comments on my viewing - we’ve all been battling the flu in my house so watching TV has been a bit easier than writing about it.

-I watched the Addams Family Christmas episode after finishing the Netflix Wednesday series. I’ve seen the 90s movies far more than I’ve seen the show, and I’m positive I’ve never seen the episode before. I think I’m just not in love with the show. It has things I like but an occasional episode is more than enough for me. I like the way the kids questioned whether Santa was real and the way each family member schemed to prove them wrong. (I half expected Lurch to wear Cousin Itt as a Santa beard.) And I liked how the episode suggested that Santa was real afterall. A little bit kooky and a little bit sweet.

-I also revisited the “Christmas Cheers” episode of Cheers following my Frasier holiday episodes rewatch. I love the It’s A Wonderful Life bit at the beginning but had forgotten most of the rest. There are a lot of little subplots going on but they’re all Christmas-y in their own way while feeling true to the characters, so this one is a winner in my book.

-I’m continuing to show my kids cartoons I remember from my childhood and it’s been really joyful doing that. They’re still not 100% on the concept of Christmas but these little Disney shorts are helping the pieces click. They’ll see Mickey bringing home a tree and remember that we had one last year, etc. They were probably a little young for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer but it played well and there’s something really cool about sharing something you remember fondly from your childhood with the next generation.

-We also watched “The Alan Brady Show Presents” Christmas episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. My wife and I loved it as always. The kids had never seen a B&W sitcom episode before. The regular episode stuff was over their heads but they laughed at the show-within-the-show skits. It’s nice that they’re just entering an age where we can start including them in things we normally do.

We have so much catchup to do getting ready for the holiday once everyone finishes recovering from the flu so I’m not sure if I’m going to get to much by way of holiday movies this season. But I expect to be able to squeeze in more TV shows and specials.
 

Dave Moritz

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01) 11/19/2022 Polar Express (1992) 4K Bluray
02) 11/20/2022 The Santa Clauses E1 (2022) Disney +
03) 11/20/2022 The Santa Clause (1994) Disney +
04) 12/01/2022 The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) Disney +
05) 12/04/2022 Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) Bluray
06) 12/09/2022 The Grinch That Stole Christmas (2000) HBO Max
07) 12/11/2022 It's A Wonderful Life (1946) 4K Bluray
08) 12/17/2022 Scrooge (1935) Amazon Video
 

Tony Bensley

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The last 2 are viewings from this morning and afternoon:

1. The Twilight Zone; The Night Of The Meek (1960) - This Season 2 Episode, a longtime yuletide favorite, this time around, I had the added pleasure of viewing this on the reissued 2021 Complete Series Blu-ray set my son ordered from Amazon on their Cyber Monday special. As one of the infamous 6 Twilight Zone Videotaped Episodes, the visuals are never going to be razor sharp, but Art Carney's performance (As Henry Corwin) is every bit as endearing and heartwarming as ever! Also, if Dundee (John Fiedler) and Flaherty's exchange at episode's end doesn't warm your cockles, there's simply no holly in your heart!

2.* The Goldbergs; Worst Grinch Ever (2022) - This Season 10 episode from this long running '80s period family sitcom main (Though by no means, only!) focus is on the battle between Erica, who wants to celebrate Christmas, and her mom Beverly, who wants to uphold Hanukkah traditions. As with every Goldberg's episode, in the end family togetherness triumphs over the episodic squabbles.

3. The Monkees; Christmas Episode (1967) - This Season 2 episode, which first aired on Christmas Day 1967 features Butch Patrick as a spoiled impossible to please pre-adolescent, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike fall all over themselves trying to please him to no avail until they realize the one thing they didn't give him! Heartwarming episode!!

4.* Scrooge (1923) - Russell Thorndike stars as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this 26 minute 1923 silent short version of Dickens' immortal classic.

5.* Saturday Night Live; Season 48, Episode 8 - This week's co-hosts Steve Martin Short (Get it?) made for some worthwhile viewing, despite not reprising any of their made famous on SNL characters or skits (IE. Ed Grimley; King Tut.). As I viewed every sketch (Which included several that were yuletide themed!) and even both musical performances, I'm counting this one on my holiday viewing list!

6. Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (2022) - Includes Christmas sketches from SNL Christmases past, and a little bit from the present, that one being the bloody Christmas Carol sketch from last week's SNL episode with guest hosts Steve Martin Short.

7. A Christmas Carol (1938) - This year, I decided it had been quite a long while since I've given the Reginald Owen Scrooge DVD a spin. A few takeaways; the 1951 Alastair Sim version will always remain my favorite, the Christmas past segment is way too short, the Blu-ray upgrade was definitely needed, Barry McKay is rather good as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and the ending is also quite good. Also worth noting is Terry Kilburn, who played Tiny Tim, is still with us, having recently celebrated his 96th birthday on November 25th! Gene Lockhart's (Bob Cratchit) daughter June Lockhart, who appeared uncredited as daughter Belinda Cratchit, is also still with us at 97 years young!

* means first time viewing.

CHEERS! :)
 
Last edited:

Dave Moritz

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01) 11/19/2022 Polar Express (1992) 4K Bluray
02) 11/20/2022 The Santa Clauses E1 (2022) Disney +
03) 11/20/2022 The Santa Clause (1994) Disney +
04) 12/01/2022 The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (2022) Disney +
05) 12/04/2022 Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (1992) Bluray
06) 12/09/2022 The Grinch That Stole Christmas (2000) HBO Max
07) 12/11/2022 It's A Wonderful Life (1946) 4K Bluray
08) 12/17/2022 Scrooge (1935) Amazon Video
09) 12/18/2022 White Christmas (1954) Bluray
 

AlexF

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Dec 17 - Who Killed Santa? A Murderville Mystery (2022) - Netflix
Dec 17 - Titan AE (2000) - Disney+
Dec 19 - Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020) - Netflix

I decided to try dipping my toe into the Murderville waters. I enjoyed the episodes of the original UK version of this show, but hadn't watched any of the Murderville remake at all. This one wasn't quite up to the standards of the British show, but it was still fun. Will Arnett is always enjoyable and I've always liked Jason Bateman as an actor. I figured out the mystery pretty quickly, but the denouement of the trainees was pretty amusing and clever I thought. Overall, decent, but didn't really entice me to watch the rest of the series.

Titan AE isn't a Christmas movie at all, but it's got a bit of a Christmas tradition for me going back 6-7 years. In a time before streaming I was busy wrapping presents on Christmas Eve and some channel on TV showed Titan AE back to back. Every year since, I've put it onto the TV (whether on DVD, Blu-ray or Disney+ now!) while wrapping and this year was no different. I wrapped a bunch of presents Saturday afternoon, so watched... Titan AE. :)

Jingle Jangle was a movie released a couple of years ago that I'd never heard of until Saturday evening. I ended up watching this musical with my youngest over last night (Sunday) and this afternoon after her school finished. Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, and a cast of very entertaining actors and singers to tell a story about never losing your imagination. Set in Victorian times it was fun, colourful, and had some extremely catching songs. If you have kids, well recommended. If you enjoy musicals, also recommended. If you have no imagination, you might want to consider skipping this one.
 

Tony Bensley

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My latest yuletide viewing from this afternoon (December 19th) is listed at the bottom:

1. The Twilight Zone; The Night Of The Meek (1960) - This Season 2 Episode, a longtime yuletide favorite, this time around, I had the added pleasure of viewing this on the reissued 2021 Complete Series Blu-ray set my son ordered from Amazon on their Cyber Monday special. As one of the infamous 6 Twilight Zone Videotaped Episodes, the visuals are never going to be razor sharp, but Art Carney's performance (As Henry Corwin) is every bit as endearing and heartwarming as ever! Also, if Dundee (John Fiedler) and Flaherty's exchange at episode's end doesn't warm your cockles, there's simply no holly in your heart!

2.* The Goldbergs; Worst Grinch Ever (2022) - This Season 10 episode from this long running '80s period family sitcom main (Though by no means, only!) focus is on the battle between Erica, who wants to celebrate Christmas, and her mom Beverly, who wants to uphold Hanukkah traditions. As with every Goldberg's episode, in the end family togetherness triumphs over the episodic squabbles.

3. The Monkees; Christmas Episode (1967) - This Season 2 episode, which first aired on Christmas Day 1967 features Butch Patrick as a spoiled impossible to please pre-adolescent, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike fall all over themselves trying to please him to no avail until they realize the one thing they didn't give him! Heartwarming episode!!

4.* Scrooge (1923) - Russell Thorndike stars as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this 26 minute 1923 silent short version of Dickens' immortal classic.

5.* Saturday Night Live; Season 48, Episode 8 - This week's co-hosts Steve Martin Short (Get it?) made for some worthwhile viewing, despite not reprising any of their made famous on SNL characters or skits (IE. Ed Grimley; King Tut.). As I viewed every sketch (Which included several that were yuletide themed!) and even both musical performances, I'm counting this one on my holiday viewing list!

6. Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (2022) - Includes Christmas sketches from SNL Christmases past, and a little bit from the present, that one being the bloody Christmas Carol sketch from last week's SNL episode with guest hosts Steve Martin Short.

7. A Christmas Carol (1938) - This year, I decided it had been quite a long while since I've given the Reginald Owen Scrooge DVD a spin. A few takeaways; the 1951 Alastair Sim version will always remain my favorite, the Christmas past segment is way too short, the Blu-ray upgrade was definitely needed, Barry McKay is rather good as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and the ending is also quite good. Also worth noting is Terry Kilburn, who played Tiny Tim, is still with us, having recently celebrated his 96th birthday on November 25th! Gene Lockhart's (Bob Cratchit) daughter June Lockhart, who appeared uncredited as daughter Belinda Cratchit, is also still with us at 97 years young!

8. Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean (1992) - This now 30 year old UK Christmas TV comedy chestnut never gets old for me! Somehow, my latest viewing late this afternoon left me in a lovely light hearted mood that I haven't really felt in too long a time!!

* means first time viewing.

CHEERS! :)
 

Pete York

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Was sorta doing this on my own anyway, but actually posting will make me at least complete the challenge. I mean, now I have to do it or I'll look like a bozo.

1) Tokyo Godfathers (2003) D: Satoshi Kon
Take a shot every time the 'Godfathers' miraculously, in a crowded city, run into a character needed to move the plot along. Ooops, now you're dead of alcohol poisoning! I have a minor issue with the runaway, who seems to be seriously mentally ill, but no one's really too concerned (she stabs her father because...he doesn't listen to her? her cat ran away?). The animation and direction are masterful.

2) I'll Be Seeing You (1944) D: William Dieterle
Two damaged people meet, fall in love, help each other recover, that type of thing, although Ginger's not really damaged, I guess, just a victim of incredibly bad circumstances. Cotten is superb. He has a very interesting bit where he and Ginger are coming out of a movie theater, they've just watched a war film, and he explains what being in the war is actually like, in a way I don't know I've ever heard it put before. There's also a really wild dog attack scene and a panic attack sequence that was giving me anxiety.

3) Hell's Heroes (1929) D: William Wyler
First sound version of The Three Godfathers story, done twice earlier by Harry Carey, with and without John Ford. Pre-code story with no punches pulled. The outlaws are bad dudes, when they come upon the dying woman they argue amongst themselves over who is going to rape her first. Of course, the baby changes everything. But are they almost too nasty for the audience to buy such a change of heart? Regardless, each of the men's eventual sacrifices are done so well, this is probably the best version.

4) The Silent Partner (1978) D: Daryl Duke
Elliott Gould and Christopher Plummer in a deadly game of cat and mouse! And, jeez, Plummer is a bastard in this. If true that Hitchcock liked this, it certainly makes sense--the scene where Gould has to get rid of a dead body, with all the comic absurdities played up, is like something out of The Trouble with Harry. Excellent!

5) Cash on Demand (1961) D: Quentin Lawrence
More Christmastime bank high jinks and a sort of stealth A Christmas Carol, here officious twit Peter Cushing gets taught a hard lesson by 'bank examiner' Andre Morrell. Adapted from a play and takes place in real time on a single set adding to the tension. Another winner.

6) Cover Up (1949) D: Alfred E. Green
Pretty good little mystery with insurance agent Dennis O'Keefe investigating a suicide that he's sure is a murder but can't prove as the whole town seems to be giving him the run around. William Bendix is great as the sheriff who's smarter than you think. Also very likable is the very pretty Barbara Britton, as the local girl O'Keefe is romancing.

7) Backfire (1950) D: Vincent Sherman
This one didn't really come together for me and work. Ex-GI Gordon MacRae goes searching for his old army pal Edmond O'Brien who may be in trouble or hurt. The story needed a little streamlining, it just needs to be MacRae and Virginia Mayo looking for O'Brien. There are a lot of lengthy flashbacks and digressions, and on top of that, you can see where it's going from a mile away.

8) Three Godfathers (1936) D: Richard Boleslawski
Follows pretty closely to the Hell's Heroes version, but still good in its own right. The outlaws aren't quite as threatening, I felt like I was watching Boston Blackie, Judge Hardy and Stumpy from Rio Bravo, although Morris comes closest to being a convincing dick. The fates of the three men are all more powerful in the Wyler, the last scene especially.
 

davidmatychuk

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The November arrival of several exceptional 4K remasters of Christmas favourites has kind of thrown me off any kind of schedule for watching my Christmas library this year. I keep showing people “A Christmas Story”, “Elf”, and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” so they can see how great they look and sound. It’s not helping that last year I got a projector and 100” screen so I’m still amazed by how pleasurable watching movies has become at my place. I can watch 3D on it too, and obviously 4K, but even DVD’s are fun to watch if they’re good transfers (I’d tell you how much I am also enjoying my laserdiscs and even VHS but then you’d know how far I’ve fallen into the deep end). All of which is to say that up until now this year I’ve been specializing in Christmas programs and movies that I haven’t watched in a while, like the 2 Mad Men Christmas episodes on Blu-Ray or the remarkable new Ozzie & Harriet Christmas DVD’s, when I’m not popping in those new 4K remasters. Now that the big day is almost here though, it’s time to get the serious nostalgic Christmas revelling underway. Nothing but my old favourites from now until…actually, have you seen “The Polar Express” in 4K? It’s like the storybook come to life!
 

AlexF

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Dec 19 - Die Hard (1988) - Disney+
Dec 20 - Christmas on Mistletoe Farm (2022) - Netflix
Dec 20 - Prep & Landing (2009) - Disney+
Dec 20 - Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa (2010) - Disney+
Dec 20 - Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice (2011) - Disney+

A few friends of mine have often said that it's not Xmas until Hans has fallen off Nakatomi Tower (sorry for the spoiler ;) )... so, Sunday night was introducing my youngest to Die Hard. She got bored here and there and wasn't super motivated to finish it. Ah well.

Earlier this evening was Christmas on Mistletoe Farm. A new British kids movie about a family of 5 kids and a dad (mom died... Xmas trope met!) that move from London to a farm that the dad inherited from his estranged father... Typical small village life, fairly entertaining, lots of unknowns. Overall, decent kids movie, lost interest a few times as an adult.

After that, I introduced my friend to the Disney Prep & Landing short films (~22, 8, and 22m) about (D)Wayne and Lenny. I hadn't watched these for a few years, but really quite enjoyed them again. Some of the lines in the first are pretty clever, milking Twas the Night Before Christmas for some pretty amusing quotes. Ditto for the 12 Days of Christmas song.
 

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